Pacers respond to coach's challenge in blowout of Pelicans
By PHILLIP B. WILSON
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers' starters bounced back from being benched a night earlier to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 111-94 on Saturday night.
Yanked by coach Rick Carlisle midway through the third quarter of loss at Charlotte, Indiana's starters opened with 23 points in the first quarter for a 32-19 lead against the Pelicans.
"I think it was a wake-up call," Pacers center Myles Turner said. "This league is all about how you respond. You need to play the game right way."
The one change to the starting lineup was shooting guard Justin Holiday, who scored 17 points with four 3-pointers.
"Obviously a much-needed win for us," Carlisle said. "I liked our disposition all night. There was a real spirit of sharing the ball."
Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans. Naji Marshall scored 14 points and Brandon Ingram had 12.
"We just didn't come out with the energy and execution that we needed," Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
Carlisle was critical of his starters' selfishness Friday. That's why the coach stuck with reserves down the stretch at Charlotte, where a 25-point deficit was trimmed to three at the final buzzer. This night, the Pacers shared the ball with 20 assists to the Pelicans' nine to build a 58-46 halftime lead.
"When the ball moves with that kind of pace and tempo, a lot of good things happen," Carlisle said.
Indiana then broke it open with an 18-4 run in the third quarter. Sabonis was surrounded by three defenders inside, but kicked a pass out to a wide-open Malcolm Brogdon for a 3-pointer. Turner threw down a rebound dunk over two defenders to boost the margin to 86-60 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.
The margin reached as high as 32 points as the Pacers starters sat the fourth quarter this time because they weren't needed anymore.
"We just played together and for each other," said Brogdon, who scored 16.
The Pacers are just 7-11, but improved to 5-2 at home.
The Pelicans, still missing power forward Zion Williamson, have dropped 15 of their 18 games and are 1-9 on the road. They were coming off a 13-point home win over the L.A. Clippers.
"We didn't have the same energy level as the last game," Marshall said.
Pelicans: Valanciunas had 15 points and eight rebounds at halftime. ... Williamson is ramping up workouts in preparing to make his season debut after foot surgery, but that date has yet to be announced.
Pacers: Rookie shooting guard Chris Duarte came off the bench for the third time in four games. The 13.7-point scorer has started 15 games. His replacement, Holiday, scored 14 points in the first half.
Pelicans: Host Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
Pacers: Visit Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Updated November 20, 2021