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Myles Turner leads Indiana Pacers to strong start and impressive road win over Oklahoma City Thunder

The Pacers were in Oklahoma City Tuesday night
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The Indiana Pacers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night as they wrapped up a road trip. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the league, so it was going to be a tough one for Indiana.

Oklahoma City entered the night with 19 losses, the second fewest in the NBA. Their unique play style has given many teams fits, and they have been rock solid at home. The Pacers needed to be on their A-game, especially defensively. The blue and gold had a solid defensive night on Sunday in Orlando.

Indiana has struggled to open games recently, so they needed to get off to a good start on Tuesday. And they did. After less than three minutes, the Pacers had already raced ahead to an 11-2 lead. Myles Turner had seven points for the blue and gold, and the Thunder needed an early timeout to talk things over.

The hosts looked better defensively coming out of the stoppage, but neither team was scoring well over the next few minutes. With five minutes to go in the first quarter, it was 15-10 in favor of the visitors. Indiana looked effective defensively, but their quick offensive start had faded away.

Their paint pressure continued for the next few minutes, though, and a layup from Jalen Smith gave the Pacers a 10-point lead with just over three minutes to go in the first quarter at 20-10. They looked great to start the game, a rarity of late.

Oklahoma City handled the final minutes of the opening frame well, but they still trailed 22-17 after one period. The Pacers had to be happy with their start defensively, though half of their points came in the first three minutes of the quarter. Indiana's early defense was strong, and Turner already had nine points.

The second period started with great play from Pacers star forward Pascal Siakam. He hit a few shots early in the quarter to extend his team's lead back up to 10, including a tough shot over his head while getting fouled. The blue and gold kept finding ways to keep their lead.

Indiana was still ahead by nine with 7:13 to go in the first half. They were defending well, but their offense wasn't able to expand their edge. The Thunder deserved credit for defending well and deploying an effective zone.

The game continued to be a back-and-forth battle for the next few minutes, with each team going on a mini-run. Indiana's lead went down to six, then up to 12, then back down again. But they maintained an advantage for the final minutes of the first half.

Over the final 2:39 of the half, the game was played to a roughly even draw. Indiana's lead got as high as 15, but their lead was just 58-46 at halftime. Turner led the way with 15 points while Siakam had 10.

The second half started with sloppy play from the blue and gold, who took a timeout just 82 seconds into the half. Head coach Rick Carlisle didn't like that his team gave up a quick 8-2 run and wanted to talk it over. The Pacers looked sloppy.

They surged out of the stoppage and got their lead back up to nine on multiple occasions — they needed the momentum. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was getting going for the Thunder, so the Pacers needed answers.

The middle of the quarter was dominated by Oklahoma City, who cut the lead down to three before another Indiana timeout. Their offense looked incredible.

With a boost from that potent scoring, the Thunder tied the game at 82 a few moments later. It was the first knotted up score since 0-0 — and OKC took a lead at 85-84 not long after. They were on fire.

The Pacers answered and got the lead back, but they couldn't get a stop at all. Their lead was flimsy with Gilgeous-Alexander rolling. Indiana needed to find a way to slow him down or score consistently.

They did both of those things to close the third quarter strong. They got three stops in a row and scored on each possession, ending the frame on an 8-0 run. It was a huge stretch for the Pacers, who were ahead 94-87 through three periods. Turner's 22 points led the way.

The final quarter started with the two squads trading buckets again, a theme for much of the second half. Both squads were trying to steal a few minutes without many starters on the floor. After just under three minutes of the fourth frame, it was 99-95 in favor of Indiana.

That four-point edge remained for several minutes with back and forth play, oscillating between two and six. Halfway through the final quarter, Indiana was ahead by six at 105-99. The starting lineups were in for both teams and ready to close the action.

The Pacers rocketed ahead over the next few minutes. The Thunder battled to keep the lead near a half dozen for a few possessions, but Turner took over on both ends late. He made multiple shots and had a few key blocks, and the blue and gold went up by double digits once again at 115-105.

With one minute to go, Indiana was up by six. They needed one more bucket or stop to have a great chance to win. It would be a huge result for their season given how close the standings are in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana got it done. Andrew Nembhard drew a key foul, and the blue and gold hit their free throws to hold on for the win. They took down the Thunder 121-111. They improved to 37-29.

Turner finished with 24 points and four blocks. Tyrese Haliburton and Siakam each had 18 points and a double-double.

It was perhaps the best win of the season for the Pacers, who wrap up a back-to-back tomorrow night with the Chicago Bulls coming to Indianapolis.

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