Pacers leave Kings gasping
Mumbai: It had none of the excitement of Game 1in the NBA India Games. Indiana Pacers slowly and surely squeezed the life out of the Sacramento Kings like a boa constrictor to run out easy 130-106 victors here on Saturday. Pacers won the pre-season series 2-0 and must have definitely won for themselves a ton of fans after putting in a superior show in the second game. With the addition of Victor Oladipo in the regular season, Pacers surely should fancy their playoff chances in the East.
After the high-voltage action in Game 1, Pacers, who came back from the death to equalize in regulation and win the game1in overtime, 132-131, knew exactly what to do to stop the transitional offence of the Kings. Pacers did that and only in the first quarter did they lose the lead a couple of times. Once their offence found the rhythm, there was no stopping them. Only Kings’ superior three-point shooting at that stage kept them going. They were shooting at 70 per cent to Pacers’ 30. Despite this, Pacers outscored Kings 46-29 in the second quarter.
But Edmond Sumner brought about the decisive shift in momentum in the second quarter. Sumner scored 10 points, dished out four assists. Pacers never lost the lead thereafter. Kings knew their goose was cooked. Pacers’ three point shooting significantly improved from the low 30s to the high forties. Though Sumner didn’t have a hectic second half, Pacers never lost their momentum as they dominated the board, pulling down 41 defensive to not allow Kings second chance points.
But what was the most significant stat was the points Pacers scored in the paint. The winners had 60 as compared to Kings’ measly 28. It showed how hard the Pacers worked to score their points, breaking the perimeter defence of the Kings at will. In the final quarter, Pacers put on a show too, comfortably increasing their lead to more than 20 points. The crowd for the first game was made mostly of students. Probably their enthusiastic cheering was what the Kings missed, because the Game 2 crowd came to life only for a brief moment at half time when the camera man trained his lens on Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
Eight Pacers players contributed more than 10 points in the game with Alize Johnson getting 17 and 8 rebounds. Aaron Holiday had 16 and 3 while JaKarr Sampson had 15 and 4, and Justin contributed 14 and 5. For the Kings, only five players scored more than 10 points and the best among them was Buddy Hield who had 17 with 5 rebounds and five assists. Marvin Bagley had 15 and 6.