Pacers Begin 2-Game Series With 123-114 Victory Over Pelicans

Pascal Siakam, Indiana Pacers, NBA News
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pascal Siakam led the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Tyrese Haliburton contributed 17 points and 13 assists, including key plays in the final moments, as the Indiana Pacers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 123-114 during Wednesday’s NBA action. The two teams are set to face off again in New Orleans on Friday night.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle emphasized the significance of the victory, considering the Pacers’ 34-26 record with 22 games remaining in the season, highlighting the importance of each game at this stage.

“It’s a massively important win,” Carlisle said. “This time of year, each game has such great meaning.”

Brandon Ingram stood out for the Pelicans with 30 points and six rebounds despite the team’s third loss in their last four games. CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson each added 23 points to New Orleans’ effort.

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The Pelicans nearly overcame a 20-point deficit, closing the gap to three points. Still, Haliburton’s late-game performance, including a crucial stepback 3-pointer and assists to Siakam and Myles Turner, secured the win for Indiana. Siakam praised Haliburton’s team-focused play and their effective collaboration on the court.

“I knew he’s a pass-first kind of guy,” Siakam said about Haliburton, the NBA’ assists leader. “With the gravity that he has on offense, I’m just trying to make the right reads, the right cuts, and I know the ball is going to find me. We’ve got something special. I’m happy to be on the same team.”

Turner contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds, with the Pacers shooting 49% from the field and hitting 14 3-pointers. Contributions also came from Obi Toppin and Bennedict Mathurin, each scoring 16 points, and T.J. McConnell, who had eight points and nine assists.

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The Pacers took an early lead, ending the first quarter by 16 points. Their dominance continued into the second period despite the Pelicans’ efforts to close the gap, including employing a zone defense that reduced Indiana’s lead to 11 points by halftime. The Pacers managed to maintain their lead into the fourth quarter, largely due to a strong third quarter from Mathurin.

“We knew we were going to have to go small,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “It allows you to stay in front of them defensively. (Sitting Valanciunas) was the adjustment for us.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Tyrese Haliburton, Pascal Siakam, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Despite the loss, Pelicans coach Willie Green, expressed pride in his team’s resilience and considered the comeback attempt against a formidable opponent a moment of growth for the team.

“Extremely proud of our group under the circumstances,” Green said. “This was an extremely tough game. For us to get down 20 and battle back against a really good team, this was a growth moment.”

Injury absences were noted on both sides, with the Pacers missing Aaron Nesmith and Doug McDermott, and the Pelicans without Dyson Daniels and with limited play from Jonas Valanciunas due to a decision to adjust their lineup for defensive purposes.

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