High-scoring clubs clash as Warriors face Pacers
Posted on: 08 Feb, 2024 at 11:50 AM
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Golden State Warriors hope to turn a good trip into a great one Thursday night when they face the rested Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
The Warriors improved to 3-1 on their five-game trek on Wednesday, spreading the scoring wealth among all 13 players in uniform in a 127-104 shellacking of the host Philadelphia 76ers.
Taking advantage of the absence of 76ers star Joel Embiid, the Warriors outscored the hosts 76-46 in the middle two periods. That set the stage for veterans Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins to rest for all or most of the fourth quarter in the opener of a back-to-back set.
No Warriors player was pressed into more than 29 minutes of duty on a bit of a turn-back-the-clock night for Wiggins, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Thompson, who buried four of his five 3-point attempts on an 18-point night.
"You see Steph Curry, you see Draymond Green, you see our playoff record when we are together," Thompson said. "I'll always believe."
When the Warriors see the Pacers for the first time this season, the game will pit two clubs on an offensive roll.
Golden State has averaged 125.3 points since Green returned to the team from his suspension nine games ago, a significant increase from their 117.4 mark previously. Indiana, meanwhile, leads the NBA in scoring for the season at 124.3 points per game.
The Pacers haven't played since a run-and-gun, 132-129 home win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Like the Warriors, their success came via a strength in numbers, with six players scoring in double figures and two others missing by one point.
One Pacer who will be no stranger to the Warriors is Tyrese Haliburton, a regular rival when he began his career with the Sacramento Kings.
The fourth-year player will be going against Golden State for a seventh time. He sat out one of Indiana's two wins over the Warriors last season, and he contributed 29 points to the other.
Haliburton has scored 21 or more points in four of his six matchups with Golden State.
Both teams went to bed Wednesday night not being totally sure who would be showing up at the pregame shootaround, with the NBA trade deadline falling four hours before Thursday's tipoff.
One 11th-hour rumor had the 76ers interested in acquiring Pacers veteran Buddy Hield. Haliburton hopes that move doesn't happen.
"The one thing that people need to understand with Buddy Hield is the gravity that he has as a basketball player," Haliburton said. "His spacing, even when he's not making shots ... you have to respect what he does."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr cautioned reporters about believing rumors. He insisted Golden State, despite constantly being mentioned in proposed deals, just might surprise everyone and stand pat.
"If we don't do anything (Thursday), I feel like we've got a good group that we can push through with," Kerr said. "The guys who are here, they are an incredibly accomplished group. We've got some exciting young players and we've got a good group. ... It is a long haul, but I feel like this team could be something special."
--Field Level Media