OAKLAND – The Warriors are chasing the playoffs and more. The Pacers presume the playoffs and more. The difference was evident in the Warriors' 102-94 loss to Indiana on Monday night at Oracle Arena.
In a game crackling with playoff intensity, particularly in the second half, it became evident that the Warriors (26-17) are trying to learn what the Pacers (33-7) already know.
Stephen Curry finished with a game-high 24 points, adding nine assists. Three other Warriors scored in double figures, as David Lee added 20, Klay Thompson 17 and Andrew Bogut 10.
After Indiana controlled the first half and early in the second, taking a 60-40 lead, the Warriors charged back by tightening their defense and getting some good looks for Curry. They cut into the lead, getting to within two (79-77) early in the fourth quarter but never caught up.
After allowing the Pacers to shoot 64 percent in the first quarter, the Warriors did a nice job of defending the rest of the way. It was not enough to fight off Indy's balanced attack, led by 23 points from Paul George.
The Warriors lost the battle of the boards, 52-45, and were outshot 45.1 percent to 40.7 percent.
While the Warriors often use defense to get back into games, they experienced a Pacers squad that uses defense to suffocate opponents before burial.
STANDOUT PERFORMERS: Curry led the second-half comeback, scoring 17 of his points after halftime. He made 3 of 8 in the first half, 6 of 12 in the second.
Bogut and Lee both submitted double-doubles, Bogut with 10 points and 13 rebounds, Lee with 20 and 12.
TURNING POINT: The Warriors narrowed the gap to 87-84 when David Lee hit two free throws with 4:15 left. The Pacers recovered to outscore the Warriors 15-10 the rest of the way, 8-4 over the final 2:04.
INJURY UPDATE: Centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery), and guard Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring), are out. Center Ognjen Kuzmic is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Developmental League.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors get a break in the schedule, as their next game is not until Friday, when they face the Timberwolves at Oracle. The Warriors have beaten the T-Wolves seven straight times, 13 of the last 15, and have won the last five meetings in Oakland.