The LA Clippers (21-17) had their chances but came up short in a shootout against the Indiana Pacers (20-17) Saturday afternoon, 131-130. Paul George was spectacular with 45 points (15-25 FG, 7-13 3PT, 8-8 FT), nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Kawhi Leonard put up another promising line with 24 points (8-17 FG, 1-5 3PT, 7-7 FT), five rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 35 minutes. Avenging his previous subpar performance against LAC, Myles Turner feasted with 34 points (11-17 FG, 2-5 3PT, 10-10 FT). Tyrese Haliburton took over for Indiana in the fourth, finishing with 24 points (8-13 FG, 2-6 3PT, 6-7 FT), seven rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and zero turnovers. Read on for our full recap of the Clippers loss to the Pacers.


The Clippers were entering Gainbridge Fieldhouse at the end of a tiring road trip and certainly opened up the game that way, digging themselves an early hole fueled by pedestrian shooting, countless turnovers and sloppy pick-and-roll coverages. Paul George accounted for three of LA’s six turnovers in the period, helping Indiana to score nine off of fast breaks and play at their preferred pace. Robert Covington got the first nod from the pine but wasn’t able to do much on either end, understandably looking a bit stiff. Kawhi played the entire first, but couldn’t find the range. After one, the Clippers trailed 32-22.

It was two steps forward, one step back for the Clippers throughout the second quarter, with Indiana’s three-happy offense unloading shots every other second. Paul George tomahawk dunk? TJ McConnell three right after. Norman Powell converts a pair of free throws? Bennedict Mathurin and-1 layup right after. All the while, Luke Kennard still seemed to be in a funk, going 0-3 from deep in the half. At this point, it also appeared that Terance Mann would be the odd man out of the rotation for the afternoon, but more on that later. Ultimately, some hot shooting from George and just one turnover as a team made for a productive frame for LA. Through two, the Pacers took a 62-55 lead back to the locker room.

“You reach, I teach” was the motto for LA in the third as the Clippers made the Pacers pay with numerous energizing and-1 finishes. This was the quarter to tune into for Clippers fans, as you had Kawhi feasting at the line and PG nailing 3s in guys’ faces after what was a quick 7-0 Indy run to open things up. With the Clippers back to being all square with the house, however, Indiana continued to make timely plays, doing a good job of refusing to concede a lead. Kawhi Leonard had his fingerprints stamped all over the third to close, however, hitting a cold-blooded three right over Jalen Smith to tie the game once more heading into the final frame, 93-93.

Perhaps to be expected, the Clippers opened up the fourth with another four-guard lineup, this time consisting of John Wall, Norm, Luke, Mann and PG. For the first three minutes, the experiment wasn’t disastrous, albeit allowing Indiana to get in the bonus at the 8:46 mark. Reggie Jackson then subbed in for Wall, and meshed seamlessly with the George-led unit, helping to give the Clips their largest lead of the game: up six with 5:27 left. Unfortunately, it appeared the gamble quickly began to backfire with Turner and Haliburton relentlessly targeting Luke and Reggie to get to the line or finish right through them. With it being a one-possession game with 3:47 left, Ty Lue revealed he was going to close with the starters. George and Haliburton dueled each other for the game’s next four buckets before the pattern was disrupted by two big plays — a Haliburton and-1 layup over Reggie and a wide-open Marcus Morris Sr. miss from three. Haliburton went on to force the issue again, drawing a foul on PG to put Indiana up three with 29 seconds left. George and Turner went on to match each other at the line with pairs of clutch free throws before Kawhi’s go-ahead, 30-foot 3-pointer to tie the game proved to be a bit too strong.

Clippers vs. Pacers Game Notes

  • Turner, Haliburton Understood the Assignment: With the game in the balance, Turner and Haliburton did exactly what you want to see from your franchise’s best players. They routinely hit guys that were wide open, but also were otherwise unafraid to take the big shot themselves. Indiana truly played a great game offensively overall.
  • 213Hoop’d: Before the game, Lue said that during the road trip, Kawhi has been playing the number of minutes that’s allowed him to unleash his ideal staggering pattern for him and PG. Well, the 213-duo showcased what that formula is capable of in this one, with George notching 12 in the second quarter and Kawhi dropping 17 in the third to pace the Clippers’ offense.
  • Zu-boxed: The Pacers certainly made it a point of emphasis to not let Ivica Zubac drop 31 points and 29 rebounds again, going as far as doubling the big man in the post in the game’s opening possessions. With six points, seven rebounds and zero blocks in 27 minutes, it was a tough game for Zu, but it was good to see Lue still close with him down the stretch.
  • Cool Hand Stays Cold: With two made 3s, three assists and extended time in the fourth, Luke Kennard was able to show some sense of life, but was kept in check overall. Norman Powell also had a bit of a quiet game, getting up just three field goal attempts despite getting to the line six times.
  • Odd Mann Out?: With Nicolas Batum out with an ankle sprain, it appears Lue decided to split his freed-up minutes right down the middle and give them to Robert Covington and Terance Mann. RoCo played nine minutes in the first half before we realized it was all a façade and Terance played nine in the second. In a game in which a difference in energy could be seen for the better part of the affair, RoCo and Mann certainly seemed to be deserving of more burn and it remains questionable as to why these two’s minutes appear to be limited, as well as come at the cost of one another.

Up Next: The Clippers head home to host the Miami Heat at Arena on Monday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 p.m. PT.

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Ralston Dacanay

Ralston Dacanay

Ralston joined 213Hoops as a game coverage writer in March 2021. A class of 2020 alum of California State University, Long Beach, he graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Finance.

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