Game Rewind: Pacers 91, Pelicans 86
What Went Down
Just a few miles from the French Quarter, a French center led the Pacers (21-15) to a 91-86 victory over the Pelicans (11-24) on Friday night in New Orleans.
Ian Mahinmi had his hand in a little bit of everything over the course of the night, especially down the stretch. The fashionable Frenchman recorded his third double-double of the year with 17 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) and 10 rebounds and matched a season high with four blocks.
“I just wanted to be tough,” Mahinmi told FOX Sports Indiana’s Jeremiah Johnson after the win. “I wanted to be there for my teammates. Tonight on the road, a tough win like that, I’ll take that.”
Friday’s game wasn’t pretty, but the Pacers persevered through a season-high 25 turnovers to gut out the victory, their second straight road win. Though the Pelicans lost All-NBA forward Anthony Davis to a back injury a little over three minutes into the contest (Davis exited after diving for a loose ball in the stands with 8:49 left in the first quarter), Indiana played from behind for most of the night.
The Pelicans used a 22-6 run to close out the first quarter to open up a 14-point lead. The double-digit lead didn’t last for long, but between Indiana’s struggle to maintain possession and some timely baskets from Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans, New Orleans mostly had the upper hand until the final half of the fourth quarter.
The Pacers trailed by one with five minutes to play, but Monta Ellis found Mahinmi in the post for a three-point play that put the Blue & Gold in front for good with 4:46 left in the contest.
Mahinmi added a free throw 35 seconds later, then blocked Evans on the opposite end. Ellis hit a jumper with 2:45 to play that pushed Indiana’s lead to five, but the Pelicans climbed back within three on a pair of free throws from Jrue Holiday.
New Orleans very well could have gotten the ball back with a chance to tie the game after the next possession if not for Mahinmi, who out-hustled the Pelicans’ defense to corral an offensive board on an Ellis miss. C.J. Miles’ driving layup 16 seconds later once again made it a two-possession game.
Alexis Ajinca scored on the other end to make it 89-86 and the Pelicans wound up getting two shots to tie the game in the final minute, but both Holiday and Eric Gordon missed 3-point shots down the stretch. Paul George grabbed the rebound after the latter and calmly knocked down two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
In addition to Mahinmi, three more Pacers players scored in double figures. Miles had 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench while hitting 3-of-8 shots from 3-point range. George added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Ellis finished with 10 points and a team-high eight assists.
The bulk of the Pelicans’ offensive production came from just two players. Anderson, Davis’ replacement at power forward, scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half. Evans had 19 of his game-high 27 points after halftime and also tallied seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in the loss.
After winning on Wednesday night in Orlando and again on Friday in New Orleans, the Pacers will look to close out their road trip with a third straight victory on Sunday evening in Houston. Indiana will take on James Harden and the Rockets at 7:00 PM ET at the Toyota Center.
Inside the Numbers
Mahinmi scored in double figures for the 13th time this season, while also collecting 10+ rebounds for the eighth time this year.
Ellis led Indiana in assists for the 21st time on the year and came just one assist shy of matching his season high.
Ellis did, however, have six of Indiana’s 25 turnovers. The Pacers’ previous season high for turnovers was 24, set all the way back in the third game of the season, a loss to Utah on Oct. 31.
The Pelicans shot just 37.3 percent from the field and fell to 0-18 on the year when they fail to score 100 points. In fact, New Orleans has yet to win a game in which it finished with less than 104 points.
The Pacers dominated the boards, outrebounding New Orleans 54-37 overall and 14-8 on the offensive glass. Their 54 total rebounds were the most by the team in a regulation game this season (Indiana had 55 rebounds in its overtime loss in Miami on Monday).