The Indiana Pacers ended a weeklong layoff after the NBA had postponed two of their previously scheduled games. They returned to action with a matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
Neither team managed to create much separation at any point. In fact, the largest lead was seven points and each team had their own time in that position. Additionally, there were 15 lead changes and there were 16 times it was tied.
The outcome of this game came down to the Warriors' superior execution in clutch time. Golden State achieved a 107-101 lead with 1:14 remaining in regulation and held on to win with 111-107 being the final score.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Wednesday's loss:
LIKE: Impressive Second Quarter
The second quarter was the only frame in this game that featured the Pacers reaching at least 30 points in the scoring department. In fact, Indiana managed to put up a game-high 36 within this frame.
Indiana managed to reach such a high scoring total despite attempting only four attempts from the perimeter and converting once. This was largely due to Indiana going 12-of-18 (66.7%) on two-point field goals. Domantas Sabonis played a pivotal role with his 15 points.
The strong production from Sabonis in the scoring department prompted the Warriors to adjust their defensive strategy. The Pacers failed to adjust in the second half, but that's a different issue.
DISLIKE: Terrible Perimeter Shooting
Whenever a team ends up shooting a poor 7-of-29 (24.1%) from beyond the arc as the Pacers did in this game, it's difficult to envision their opponent executing even worse. Regardless, Indiana shooting at such a poor clip was a key factor in their loss.
Only Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday managed to convert on multiple shot attempts from the perimeter. Despite that fact, they combined to shoot just 4-of-13 (30.8%) on their three-point attempts.
It was a tough outing from some of the Pacers' top perimeter shooting options like Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon failed to convert on any of his four attempts while Turner went 1-of-5 (20.0%). Having all four of their top shooting threats not clicking was rough.
LIKE: Brogdon's Production
It has largely been an underwhelming month for Malcolm Brogdon after having such a strong January. He was building a potential All-Star campaign but had that come to an end to due declined production.
Brogdon certainly did not have one of the top performances in his NBA career but posted a respectable 24 points, three rebounds, and three assists. While his three-point jumper wasn't clicking, he was getting to the rim consistently and his floater was falling.
Prior to Brogdon's recent run of three consecutive 20-point scoring outings, he went six straight games failing to exceed even 18 points. It became challenging for the Pacers' offense to overcome. Now, he's trending in the right direction.
DISLIKE: Ball Control Issues
Failing to keep turnovers under control has been a legitimate reoccurring problem for the Pacers throughout the season. Indiana finished this game with just 19 turnovers, which resulted in 23 opponent points off turnovers.
The main sources of playmaking for the Pacers each failed to take care of the basketball. Domantas Sabonis had a game-high six turnovers with the Warriors frequently packing the paint with multiple defenders. Indiana should have anticipated from Golden State's strategies in their previous meeting.
Malcolm Brogdon and TJ McConnell each had four turnovers of their own. Both players got caught trying to do too much at times with nowhere to go with the basketball. While in other situations, carless execution and some blatantly terrible reads were made.
LIKE: Late-Game Rallies
The Pacers had to overcome some key deficits in the second half and managed to do so almost each time. The one time Indiana failed to do so was in the most important moment of all, but the other runs were intriguing to see.
Indiana faced a 81-75 deficit late in the third quarter and ultimately managed to tie the score early in the fourth. The Warriors scored four straight to lead 95-91 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but the Pacers narrowed the gap to 99-98 with 4:36 remaining.
Failing to execute within the final two minutes of a game can be the difference between winning and losing. For the Pacers, they cannot afford to allow these chances to slip away. At least being in a position to win against a Western Conference playoff contender is a start.
DISLIKE: Execution in Clutch Time
Despite having some quarters with genuinely underwhelming offensive production, the Pacers had a chance to pull off the win late in the game.
When TJ McConnell found Myles Turner for a made finish with 4:36 left in the regulation, the Pacers trailed by just one-point. The Warriors ultimately answered back by scoring six consecutive points and taking a 105-98 lead with 2:21 left to play.
The Pacers brought themselves back with a Doug McDermott made three-pointer. However, facing a 107-101 deficit with 1:14 left, Indiana needed to get a stop but failed on the following possession.
Indiana's defense was too focused on Steph Curry dribbling off an extra high ball-screen and left Eric Paschall on the short-roll. Paschall was able to get all the way to the rim for a dunk. The Pacers offered no resistance in help defense to cut off the drive. This made the margin for error too thin to rally back from.