For the third consecutive game, the Indiana Pacers played terrific basketball in the first half, scoring a ridiculous 75 points tonight.
In the last three games, the Pacers have outscored opponents in the first half 200-166.
The second half, however, has been another story entirely.
Tonight, the Pacers managed just 37 points in the second half as they continued their disturbing trend of losing double-digit leads in the second half.
After losing a 19-point lead against the Knicks on Sunday, the Pacers lost a 14-point lead tonight.
“It’s just sustaining what you started,” said Nate McMillan. “We came out again flat. Don’t know the reason for us not coming out with a sense of urgency in the third quarter.”
At some point, the blame should probably come down to the coach himself, who was frustrated with his team’s shot selection and wondered if the team’s conditioning isn’t good enough (which was supposed to be a strength for this team).
They’ve been outscored by opponents 180-123 in the second half in the past three games.
The Pacers best players, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner, both had plenty of blame to share in the fourth quarter after combining to go 0 for 9 in the final quarter with 3 turnovers and poor boxouts in the last possessions of the game.
To his credit, Oladipo put the brunt of the blame on himself.
“It’s my fault,” Oladipo, who finished with 15 points on 17 shots, said about five times during his post-game interview. “It’s my responsibility.”
Clearly disappointed with his play down the stretch, Oladipo didn’t look to put blame on anyone else, but focused on what he could have done better.
“It won’t happen again,” said Oladipo, who missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter. “I feel like I played a big part in our loss. I have to be better as a leader of this team.”
You can’t ask for better responses from a leader on the team. Now, the Pacers just have to see if he can follow through on his claims.
Turner’s numbers looked good, 21 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, but he had 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks after the first three quarters.
Turner went 0 for 4 in the fourth quarter, got called for a moving screen that took away 3 points and a lead away from Pacers (a terrible call), and failed to box out DeMarcus Cousins twice as the Pelicans missed free throws in the final minute that could have left the door open for the Pacers if they got the rebound.
On the positive end, Lance Stephenson had his first good game of the season (thought almost all of his damage was done in the first half like most of the team). He finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Pelicans large duo of Boogie and the Brow combined for 69 points, 27 rebounds, and 10 assists. They made 26 of their 43 shot attempts.
The Pacers will look to bounce back against the Pistons tomorrow night.