The longest Indiana Pacers away stretch in 36 years will begin on Sunday in the City of Angels.
Indiana (11-7) will kick off a seven-game road trip at Crypto.com Arena tomorrow against the Los Angeles Clippers (11-9).
The last time the Blue & Gold played so many straight road games was from Feb. 27 to March 9, 1986. None of the current players on the Pacers’ roster had been born yet and head coach Rick Carlisle was in his second NBA season playing for the Boston Celtics in 1986.
After trailing for almost the entirety of the first 24 minutes, the Pacers outscored the Nets 40-23 in the fourth quarter to push its November record to 8-2.
In the fourth quarter, Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin – who leads all rookies as well as all bench players in scoring – collected 16 of his 20 total points for the game. Mathurin dueled with former NBA and Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who scored 20 of his game-high 36 points in the last quarter, in the final frame.
Six different Pacers players scored in double digits in the win, led by 26 from Buddy Hield, who hit five 3-pointers. Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who continues to lead the league in assists, also had another strong performance scoring 21 points to go along with 15 dimes and zero turnovers.
While the Pacers finished with a win on Friday, the Clippers fell to the Denver Nuggets 114-104.
Los Angeles has lost back-to-back games and is 6-4 over its last 10 games.
The Nuggets were able to establish a 64-52 by halftime which proved too much for the Clippers.
John Wall scored a season-high 23 points for the Clippers in the loss. The Clippers were without their two All-Stars, as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard sat due to injuries, as well as Luke Kennard.
The Clippers have struggled to score this year, with a league-worst 106.2 per game. Despite the low scoring numbers, however, the Clippers are eighth-best in the NBA in team shooting percentage at 47.8.
Los Angeles thus far has hung its hat on defense, ranking second in the NBA in defensive rating (107.6), third in opponent points per game (106.8) and fourth in opponent field-goal percentage (44.6).
Last year, the Pacers and Clippers split games.
After the Clippers game, the Pacers will play the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday before traveling to Sacramento on Wednesday and playing at the Utah Jazz on Friday. The final stretch of road games will then include stops in Portland, Golden State and Minnesota.
Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Buddy Hield, F – Aaron Nesmith, F – Jalen Smith, C – Myles Turner
Clippers G – Reggie Jackson, G – Terrance Mann, F – Marcus Morris Sr., F – Amir Coffey, C – Ivica Zubac
Pacers: Andrew Nembhard – questionable (left knee bruise), Chris Duarte – out (left ankle sprain), Daniel Theis – out (right knee surgery)
Clippers: Paul George – out (right hamstring strain), Luke Kennard – out (right calf strain), Kawhi Leonard – out (right ankle sprain)
Jan. 31, 2022: Despite missing seven players due to injury, the Pacers’ rookie trio of Isaiah Jackson, Duane Washington Jr., and Terry Taylor combined for 57 points in a 122–116 Blue & Gold win at Gainbridge Arena.
Isaiah Jackson led the way by recording his first career double-double, finishing with 26 points on 12 of 19 shooting while pulling down 10 rebounds. The Clippers were also undermanned, missing both George and Leonard in the game due to injury.
The Pacers led 60-55 at halftime before a 14-5 Clippers run in the third quarter put the visitors back ahead.
In the final frame, the Pacers used a 12-0 run to go up by double digits. From there, the Clippers never retook the lead.
Coffey topped the Clippers with 27 points and Reggie Jackson added 21, as L.A.’s five-game winning streak came to a close.
Following Friday night’s games, the Pacers had the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, trailing Boston (15-4), Milwaukee (13-5) and Cleveland (12-7). Indiana hasn’t played any of those teams yet, but is 9-4 against teams in the East.
During the upcoming road trip, the Pacers will play just one team they have already faced this season: Minnesota. The Timberwolves beat the Pacers 115-103 on Nov. 23 in Indianapolis.
Pacers second-year guard Chris Duarte continues to be sidelined due to a left ankle sprain. He hasn’t played since Nov. 4.
The Pacers are averaging the second-most fastbreak points in the NBA with 17.2 per game, the second-most blocks per game at 6.7 per contest, and third-most assists per game at 28.3.