INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers looked playoff-ready Thursday night against a Golden State team that’s still working on it.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points on a nearly perfect shooting night, Victor Oladipo added 21 and the Pacers pulled away from the short-handed defending champions for a 126-106 blowout — and their first season sweep of the Warriors since 2011-12.
“We’re the underdog in every matchup,” Oladipo said. “We’ve just got to continue to keep getting better. We still have room to get better, especially going into the playoffs.”
It’s hard to imagine how much better the Pacers can play after dominating the three-time defending Western Conference champs, who played their seventh straight game without Stephen Curry due to a left MCL sprain.
The Pacers shot better than the high-scoring Warriors inside and outside the 3-point line. They outrebounded Golden State and held Klay Thompson scoreless in the second half. They took the lead for good on Lance Stephenson’s 3 with 9:46 left in the first half and never allowed Golden State to get closer than 10 after halftime.
After falling into a 21-point deficit with 7:14 left, Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled five players, including Kevin Durant, leaving them on the bench for the rest of the game before delivering his blunt postgame assessment.
“I think just caring, caring in general, that was the main problem,” he said. “Just in general, it’s hard to win an NBA game if you don’t put forth an effort at all. Yeah, I’m mad. I’m embarrassed. I know that this game doesn’t mean anything in the seeding, but the playoffs start next week. It was an embarrassing effort, a pathetic effort.”
Indiana took full advantage.
The Pacers became the first Eastern Conference team to sweep the Warriors since 2013-14. They earned their sixth win in seven games and their second in nine days over Golden State.
Indiana also moved a half-game closer to supplanting Philadelphia for the No. 4 seed.
Sure, the Pacers did all that against a team missing Curry, but that’s something Golden State must solve.
“It’s tough to turn it on, especially when you’re missing a guy like Steph,” Shaun Livingston said. “We’ve got to challenge ourselves. Hopefully, that’s how we can get this started.”
Durant had 27 points, five rebounds and seven assists, and Thompson finished with 16 as Golden State’s three-game winning streak ended.
The Warriors were never really close after the early moments of the second quarter.
Indiana pulled out to a 52-42 lead late in the second quarter, made it 62-51 at halftime and led by 21 during the third quarter before Golden State opened the fourth with 10 straight points to cut the deficit to 97-87.
Indiana answered with seven straight and closed it out with a 10-0 spurt.
Warriors: Have lost three series this season. Only seven teams have beaten them twice — Houston, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Denver, Utah, Portland and Indiana. ... Golden State could have tied Phoenix’s NBA record for best road mark (14-1) by a Western Conference team against Eastern Conference opponents. Golden State wound up 13-2. ... Thompson was 4 of 9 on 3s to move past Tim Hardaway (1,542) for 25th on the league’s career list. Thompson has 1,545.
Pacers: Have five wins against last year’s NBA finalists — two over Golden State and three over runner-up Cleveland. ... Oladipo extended his streak of consecutive games with a steal to 62. It’s the sixth longest streak in league history. ... Oladipo had six rebounds, seven assists and three steals, setting a franchise record with six straight games with three or more steals. ... Bogdanovic was 11 of 13 from the field and 6 of 7 on 3s. ... Thad Young had 16 points and eight rebounds.
Golden State guard Patrick McCaw will miss at least four weeks after being diagnosed with a bruised spine. Then he will be re-evaluated, the team said in a statement.
McCaw was injured on a frightful fall Saturday at Sacramento. He was released from a hospital Sunday after preliminary tests showed no structural damage or problems with his nervous system. Additional exams revealed no neurological damage, but he didn’t make the trip to Indianapolis.
He averages 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
HE SAID IT
“I was really looking forward to playing them with their roster tonight, just to see where we were,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought our guys responded to the challenge of the things we needed to do defensively.”
Warriors: Host New Orleans on Saturday, looking for their 11th straight win in the series.
Pacers: Will try to end an eight-game road losing streak at Toronto on Friday.