With Warriors shorthanded, Pacers use strong fourth quarter to get key win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson and the rest of Golden State’s injured All-Stars are eagerly awaiting their chance to get back on the court. For now, they appreciate how hard the backups are playing to try to keep things going — even on nights when overmatched.
The banged-up Warriors again lacked the firepower to finish off an opponent, and Victor Oladipo scored 24 points in the Indiana Pacers’ 92-81 victory over the defending champions Tuesday night.
Nick Young scored 12 points as Golden State, playing without its four All-Stars for a second straight game, lost back-to-back contests for only the ninth time during coach Steve Kerr’s four seasons.
“It’s a 48-minute game and we just stayed with it and found a way to get this game,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan, whose team held the Warriors to 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Draymond Green had been set to return for Golden State but was still feeling ill, while NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant had hoped to play Tuesday but is likely to be back from a rib injury Thursday against Milwaukee.
Stephen Curry could be out through the first round of the playoffs with a left knee injury, while Splash Brother Thompson is recovering from a fractured right thumb.
“I’ll be back soon. One or two more games,” Thompson said. “Their defense was great tonight, just their effort. They play with great effort, and that’s all we ask for.”
Rookie Jordan Bell sprained his right ankle in the third, had it re-taped and returned.
Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 points apiece for playoff-bound Indiana, which won its third straight and fourth in five.
“We finally got our legs under us, finally started making shots, getting stops,” Oladipo said. “That was effective for us. I thought we picked it up defensively, that was huge for us. Just got to build on it.”
Pacers reserve forward Trevor Booker headed to the locker room with 33.5 seconds remaining in the opening quarter with a sprained right ankle and didn’t return.
Kevon Looney grabbed a career-best 11 boards off the bench as the Warriors outrebounded Indiana 51-38, but Golden State only managed to shoot nine free throws.
The teams played for the first time, marking the latest the Warriors ever faced an opponent for the first time in a season — their 74th game.
Pacers: Indiana overcame a slow start in which it began 6 for 20, missing five of its first six 3s, and got outrebounded 17-8 in the first quarter to fall behind 27-18. … This was the Pacers’ first win in four games on Golden State’s home floor since a 102-94 victory on Jan. 20, 2014.
Warriors: Andre Iguodala reached 500 career regular-season blocks and 2,000 steals. … The Warriors used their 24th different starting lineup — most under Kerr — after just 14 last season. During the record-setting 73-win season of 2015-16, Golden State used 12 starting lineups and only eight the previous season on the way to capturing its first championship in 40 years. … Golden State dropped to 16-3 following a loss this season. … When Golden State last played Indiana, Thompson scored 60 points in 29 minutes on Dec. 5, 2016.
MISSING IN ACTION
Before the past two games, the only time Golden State played without its four All-Stars was a 107-85 loss on March 11, 2017, at San Antonio. Durant was the only injured player in the group with a left knee injury, while the other three rested.
Kerr said Green still wasn’t feeling well after sweating through shootaround.
Durant, who has fractured rib cartilage, had hoped to play Tuesday.
“He’s doing great, he wanted to play tonight, but we didn’t let him. We’ll probably let him play Thursday,” Kerr said. “Draymond was scheduled to play tonight, but still wasn’t feeling well. He came to shootaround this morning and got a good sweat in, but still was reporting a lot of discomfort. He hasn’t been healthy in terms of keeping food down, so the illness is still lingering. It made no sense for him to play. He wanted to play, but we didn’t let him either. We’re not very nice.”
The Warriors need one victory to reach 55 wins for a fourth straight season — marking the 15th time in NBA history a team has done so. The Spurs were the last, for five seasons from 2012-17.
Pacers: At Sacramento on Thursday.
Warriors: Host the Bucks on Thursday trying for a fifth straight victory in the series.