Even over their pre-All-Star win streak, the Indiana Pacers have had a bit of trouble opening games. They've tended to fall behind early, only to storm back into the lead later on. In their return to the floor on Tuesday night against the Warriors, they had no such trouble. None at all. Indiana sped out to an early lead, sputtered only momentarily, then accelerated again en route to an easy 102-78 win.
Indiana avoided another game-opening dip by working for easy baskets. The team as a whole pushed the ball out in transition for clean looks. Even when they missed, Roy Hibbert (and, later, Tyler Hansbrough) were around to gobble up offensive rebounds and produce second attempts.
Golden State, missing Stephen Curry because of a strained tendon in his right foot, enabled Indiana's run by missing their first nine shots. They got back into it, though, by tossing a zone defense at the Pacers and volleying a 13-0 run of their own behind the scoring of Monta Ellis and Brandon Rush.
The Warriors cut the Pacer lead to just three heading into the second quarter, but Indiana took over in earnest from that point forward. The second unit fired off another 8-0 run by forcing turnovers and, once again, getting out in transition. The lead grew to 14 by halftime, then exploded into 20-point territory in the second half. By the third quarter, Golden State looked totally helpless and pretty much out of contention, which allowed stuff like this to take place:
While the Warriors shot an unspeakably terrible 34 percent from the field and 3-22 from downtown, Indiana shot 44 percent from the field and scored 26 fast break points. Danny Granger led six Pacers in double-figures with 25 points before taking a seat for exteeeeended garbage time. Lots of Jeff Pendergraph action.
The blowout win was Indiana's fifth straight, continuing a streak that began before the All-Star break. Golden State was working on a little streak of their own before the break, but missed out on what would have been a third straight victory by totally collapsing in Indianapolis.