Running thoughts: Thunder 114, Pacers 96

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 114-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

  • Classy move by the Thunder to recognize Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis on the video board before the game.
  • It took George 2:22 seconds to complain to the officials. He was called for a foul, and then another one two minutes later. (As you’ll read on, foul trouble for him was an issue all night.)
  • George scored the Thunder’s second field goal, a jumper at the 8:54 mark.
  • Sabonis has to get a handle on his foul trouble. Sure, he’s playing extended minutes with Myles Turner (concussion) out, but it’s been an issue in the last three games. He was called for two four minutes into this one, and had four early in the third period. His first basket came with just over two minutes left in the third.
  • Myles Turner, who missed his fourth straight game, watched the game from his hotel room in Oklahoma City.
  • Not surprisingly, the Pacers came out slow. They missed 10 of their first 14 shots. Later, playing last night caught up them and they were clearly tired.
  • I’d say Oladipo was locked in early, but that’s the intensity you can expect from him. He accounted for 14 off their first 22 points.
  • Man, PG can’t catch a break. What a frustrating and lousy revenge game due to foul trouble. He fouled out with 6:15 remaining. 10 points, one rebound. He’s been disqualified just six times over eight seasons.
  • (Before the game, I spoke with ESPN.com Thunder reporter Royce Young)
  • Lance Stephenson getting tied up with Carmelo Anthony was funny. Thankfully nothing escalated.
  • Nate McMillan earned a technical foul for the second straight game as he was upset with Sabonis being whistled for his fifth foul – fighting for a rebound. It was a foul.
  • Sabonis wasn’t his usual casual and confident self. He was 1 of 7 for with four points and 11 rebounds.
  • The Pacers sorely missed having an inside presence protecting the rim. Turner was out, Sabonis was in foul trouble, and Al Jefferson did what he could. Steven Adams had 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Thunder outscored the Pacers inside the paint, 54-28.
  • McMillan on Sabonis’ foul trouble: “[Steven] Adams is a big guy and he’s physical in there. Trying to box him out and keep him off the boards, one guy can’t do it. We need one, two, three guys down there.”
  • Russell Westbrook recorded another impressive triple-double, his second in four games: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 16 assists.
  • The Pacers need more from Lance. Just five points in this one. And that is his highest output since the season opener (16).
  • Trailing by 16 with 2:22, McMillan cleared the bench, inserting Joe Young, Damien Wilkins, Alex Poythress, and Ike Anigbogu.
  • Poythress, on a two-way contract, used three of 45 days allowed throughout the season. If the Pacers want him to be with the team for more than the allotted 45 days, they would have to sign him to a new contract.
  • Victor Oladipo has led the Pacers in scoring in all five games. 35 points tonight on 11-of-18 shooting.
  • McMillan: “I like his pace. He’s doing a good job of not forcing the issue. His shot selection has been better and he’s in a pretty good rhythm.”
  • The Pacers fall to 2-3, the Thunder are now 2-2.
  • McMillan postgame: “We could of had some heavy legs. We used a lot of energy in last night’s game.”
  • They managed to shoot to 33.7 percent, half of what they shot the night before (66.7).
  • Up next: They have three days between games. The Pacers host the undefeated San Antonio Spurs Sunday at 4:30 pm. They are 4-0 and Kawhi Leonard has yet to play due to a quad injury.
  • The franchise will be celebrating George McGinnis, who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, at Sunday’s game.
  • Paul George returns to Indy Dec. 13, and it’s the Pacers’ only nationally televised game (ESPN) this season.
  • 37 percent of Pacers Twitter expected the team to be flat after last night’s 23-point win in Minnesota where they shot a franchise-best 66.7 percent from the floor. And they were right.

[Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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