Pacers respond to coach’s challenge in blowout of Pelicans
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.
The one change to the starting lineup was shooting guard Justin Holiday, who scored 17 points with four 3-pointers. Point guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 16.
Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans. Naji Marshall scored 14 points and Brandon Ingram had 12.
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.
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 Brogdon for a 3-pointer. Myles 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 before they weren’t needed anymore. .
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.
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.
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