This was another statement game for IN (47-32), facing the Golden State Warriors (57-22).
The Warriors who visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday needed no sarcastic quote marks around their name. The first time, the Warriors were without their four All-Stars due to multiple injuries. Golden State briefly took a small lead early in the second.
So what did the Pacers do? They punched back even harder. They were the ones to set the tone and dictate the pace, something preached by Coach of the Year candidate Nate McMillan beforehand.
"I thought it was a big test tonight".
"I think we're doing a great job and we're ready for the playoffs".
Paul scored 27 points to help Houston get its second straight victory since a loss to San Antonio.
Indiana's offense was impressive throughout.
The Pacers shot 53.8 percent while limiting Golden State to 44.6 percent shooting. In addition to combining for 64 points, the duo shot 75 percent from the field and Bogdanovic connected on six of seven 3-point attempts. Victor Oladipo took over late before sitting out the final seven minutes of the game.More news: Champions League: That goal, I didn't expect to score that goal - Ronaldo
Durant, who scored a team-high 27 points, disagreed with Kerr's viewpoint of the Warriors' effort.
Granted, the Warriors (57-22) did not just lose to the Pacers (46-32) because of Durant. Indiana's lead was 61-52 at halftime.
Neither game was all that close in the end. Allen Crabbe scored 25 points and led a 19-of-39 3-point shooting with two 3s in the closing minutes of a tight game.
"They played better basketball than us", Durant added.
The second quarter was just a teaser for a dominant third quarter.
Golden State cut the deficit in half by scoring the first 10 points of the fourth quarter before in answered with 17-1 run to regain control. "I really was looking forward to playing them with their roster tonight, just to wee where we were".
IN also moved a half-game closer to supplanting Philadelphia for the No. 4 seed. It started with an Oladipo steal and Bogdanovic finger roll.
With the win, the Pacers became the first team to sweep a season series vs.
"I think just caring, caring in general, that was the main problem", he said.