INDIANAPOLIS-- In a game that appeared to be neck and neck all the way through, former Pacer Paul George became too much to handle down the stretch. The Pacers (25-28) led after the first quarter and were only down by three points heading into the fourth. However, they fell 126-115 to the Clippers (38-18) at the final buzzer, getting outscored 26-18 in the last period.
The loss ends the Pacer's three-game win streak and extends the Clipper's win streak to six. Over the three-game win streak, the Pacers averaged an outstanding 128 points per game, but two of the three teams they played will not make the playoffs.
Going up against the Clippers appears to have brought them back to reality as they failed to contain George, who went off for 36 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. The Pacers also allowed a total of six different Clippers players to score in double-digits.
George himself has scored 30+ points in each of his last four games while dealing with a lingering bone edema injury in his right toe.
"We've been doing an incredible job of managing the toe," George said. "Getting everything that I need for it and just taking care of it, we've been ahead of it. Sitting out these back-to-backs and just being smart, day-offs, getting work in that I need to, but not putting too much stress through it, so just being smart and it's been paying off."
Back on the Pacer's side, Caris LeVert picked up right where he left off last game, scoring 26 points, and Malcolm Brogdon scored a team-high 29 points on 67% shooting. Still, Myles Turner's defensive presence being absent was evident as they let up 126 points and allowed the Clippers to shoot a scorching hot 54% from the field and 46% from the three-point range.
Tonight the Pacers will fly to Houston as they will play the Rockets at Toyota Center tomorrow night.
"It would have been great to win this one," Domantas Sabonis said post-game. "It doesn't matter if it's a back-to-back. We're professionals. This is what we do; we're going to come out with energy regardless. It would have been great to get this one, but tomorrow our focus is to go and get that one on the road."
Coach Nate Bjorkgren added that there is a possibility that Turner (right ankle sprain) will return to action tomorrow night in Houston.