3 reasons Pacers lost to Clippers 139-133 as late comeback falls short

·2 min read

The Pacers suffered their 10th loss in 11 tries Monday, as they fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 139-133.

Here are three keys from Indiana’s fourth consecutive loss:

Pacers can’t finish closing gap late

After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, Indiana managed to make it a one-possession game late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t come all the way back. The Pacers outscored Los Angeles 43-35 in the final period. Caris LeVert’s jumper with 30 seconds left made it a three-point game, but the Pacers made just one more field goal while the Clippers finished by hitting their final four free throws. LeVert had 11 points in the fourth, while Domantas Sabonis had eight of his 19.

Jan 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (12) is defended by Indiana Pacers forward Justin Holiday (8) and guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (12) is defended by Indiana Pacers forward Justin Holiday (8) and guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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Pacers defense struggles early, setting the tone

The Clippers scored 40 points and shot 60% in the first quarter, leading by 13 going into the second. Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zuba combined to single-handedly outscore Indiana in the quarter. Indiana fought back in the second quarter, trimming the deficit to as few as two, but the early hole proved too much to climb out of. The Clippers, who came in averaging 104 points per game, matched that total with more than a minute to play in the third quarter. They shot 55% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range. They also had an edge at the free-throw line (31-of-36 to Indiana’s 20-of-23).

Indiana shot 52% from the floor and 39% from 3-point range.

Chris Duarte, Goga Bitadze are bright spots for Indiana

In a game where the Pacers were without Jeremy Lamb, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon and more, Indiana got meaningful contributions from a few players who figure to play a key role in the team’s short-term future. Chris Duarte scored 24 (10-of-14 shooting) and seven rebounds, six assists and three steals in 34 minutes. Goga Bitadze finished with 17 points (7-of-9 shooting) and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers vs. Clippers: Indiana's comeback falls short, 139-133

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