INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Pacers are a superb defensive squad, but the Kings did what they could to aid Indiana’s defense during Tuesday night’s 116-92 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
There was too much dribbling into traffic, too many turnovers (15 for 22 Indiana points) and the offense never had a rhythm most of the game. The Kings shot 42.4 percent and had only 13 assists.
“Not to take anything away from them, they’re a great defensive team,” said forward Rudy Gay. “But the ball stuck a little bit and we went back to our old ways. We have another game tomorrow (at Minnesota), we have another chance to prove we’re a changed team.”
Jimmer Fredette had four assists, or one fewer than the entire starting lineup. Isaiah Thomas only hand one assist.
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“Defense and playing together – those are the two main things we backtracked on,” Thomas said. “We turned the ball over which got them easy buckets in transition and we couldn’t’ get our defense set.”
It was a tough night for Thomas, how had only seven points and three turnovers. Gay had 12 points and was the only other King besides DeMarcus Cousins to score in double figures.
“We’ve had three guys scoring at a really high level for us,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “Tonight Rudy didn’t get off, Isaiah didn’t get off and that makes it very hard on us … I give a lot of credit to their defense.”
Malone often begs his team to make the opposition “feel” you when playing defense by being aggressive. Indiana does that as well as any team in the NBA and the Kings felt them all night.
Whether it was the starting lineup or players finishing out the blowout win, the Pacers were aggressive defensively.
“We just couldn’t match their physicality and that’s something where they really beat us,” Cousins said. “I would say they manhandled us tonight and it showed.”
*One area the Kings beat the Pacers in was points in the paint. Sacramento outscored 56-50 in the paint, the most the Pacers have allowed in the paint this season.
*Paul George had been struggling with his shot but broke out against the Kings for 31 points, his first 30-point effort since Dec. 8, 2013 at Oklahoma City.