Andrew Nembhard's dazzling performance carries Pacers past Warriors: Running Thoughts
The Pacers' second-round pick comes up huge on back-to-back Mondays. He had 31 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists in the 112-104 win, all career highs.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 112-104 stunning win over the Golden State Warriors Monday night at the Chase Center.
The Pacers are coming off their three largest losses of the season and will be shorthanded. In addition to Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte and Daniel Theis being out with injuries, Myles Turner (sore right hamstring) — their leading scorer the past two games — T.J. McConnell (non-Covid illness) and James Johnson (right elbow strain) won’t play.
So not only are they shorthanded, down three starters, but they also played last night in Portland and didn’t arrive in San Francisco until midnight PST.
The Warriors are without guard Andrew Wiggins for the third game this season.
Will one team be playing on fumes? The Pacers are on their sixth game in nine days; it’s the Warriors’ third game in four days.
Fans have been calling for it so here you go, though it’s because of circumstance: Rookie Bennedict Mathurin in the starting lineup for the first time.
I don’t even see McConnell around the court for warmups or behind the bench for the second straight game.. He might still be at the hotel. Don’t want that illness to spread.
Second night in a row the Pacers started well, up 12-4. Andrew Nembhard, who will need to play a lot of minutes tonight, has a jumper, two assists and a steal. And it’s going to be by committee — as all five players scored in the first three minutes.
I’m not surprised to see the Warriors easing into into it. First, they look across the floor and see which Pacers are suiting up and which are unavailable. Then, there’s the natural tendency to let up. And thirdly, they aren’t exactly familiar with the games of Nembhard, Mathurin and Jalen Smith.
That’s why head coaches are always concerned when key opponents are out.
8:08: Rookie Kendall Brown is the first sub in after Aaron Nesmith picked up two quick fouls. They cannot afford that considering their roster availability.
During the timeout, they asked fans at the game to vote on their favorite basketball movie. “Hoosiers” received 42% of votes, the most of the four options.
Instead of subbing Nembhard out, Rick Carlisle rolling with both him and Mathurin for the first 12 minutes. They’re playing well and he surely doesn’t want to halt the momentum.
Up 34-21, it’s the Pacers’ first time leading after 1 since Nov. 12 v Toronto and their first time scoring 30+ since Nov. 7 v New Orleans.
They had been outscored in the first quarter in TEN straight games and in 18 of their first 23 games. (Three leads, two ties).
9:22: Pacers’ lead balloons to 16 after a no-look pass in transition from two-way guard Trevelin Queen to Jalen Smith for a layup. They’re playing well, have scored 30 of their 40 points in the paint — it’s still very early — and the Warriors are growing frustrated with the officiating.
Queen replaced Nembhard to start the second quarter and is running the point. That was veteran James Johnson last night. It wasn’t successful and JJ is out.
This is another value to having two-way players. All teams may have up to two. When lacking depth, teams can call a player or two up. And Queen and Brown are both needed tonight (and likely on Wednesday too).
6:33: Mathurin is harassed as he attacks the lane, but no foul is called. It seems the officials aren’t giving him the same whistle as they did to start the season. He did not get to the line in three of the first five games of this trip. He had attempted free throws in every other game this season.
4:51: Annnd the Warriors are back in it. They wiped away a 16-point deficit in 3:08 of game time and tied the game at 42 via an 18-2 run. Klay Thompson made back-to-back 3s.
Pacers maintaining the lead. But the crazy thing is Steph Curry hasn't detonated. Yet. Just 1 for 6 with 2pts in 16mins. As we all know, he can erupt for 20+ points in a hurry.
A dazzling display from Nembhard. He’s in control and not flustered by the bigger opportunity. He has 13 points, three rebounds and seven assists as the half with the Pacers leading — yes, leading — 59-50 thanks to a 17-6 run over the final 3:15.
Just a reminder of my recent piece with Gonzaga coach Mark Few on Nembhard:” He’s a heck of a player. I’m telling you — just when you watch him, you feel so comfortable that it’s in good hands. You know the right basketball decision is going to be made.”
5:13: Curry finally makes a deep shot after missing his first five tries.
:15.1: Warriors coach Steve Kerr unsuccessfully challenges a foul on Kuminga against Brown, who then made 1 of 2 foul shots.
Official Bill Kennedy’s thorough and enthusiastic updates on the mic continue to be the best in the NBA.
Pacers stay in front, up 89-81 after 3. Nembhard already has his second double-double in three games and it’s going to be a 40-minute night for him. He played the entire first and third quarters. He’ll be fine, he’s only 22 years old.I wonder how many Warriors fans at the game have heard of Andrew Nembhard? 200 of 18,000? He's been the best player at both ends. Keeping Steph to 12pts, too, btw.
89-85: Pacers yield consecutive layups in the first 36 seconds of the fourth so Carlisle calls timeout. Notably, Nembhard was on the bench.
9:25: Thompson sinks back-to-back 3s for the Warriors to retake the lead, 93-92, thanks to a 16-4 run. It’s Indiana’s sixth game in nine days, but Nembhard needs to be in there and finish the game. That’s precisely what Carlisle is doing.
It is staggering how much Draymond Green yells at officials throughout games, especially tonight at newcomer Suyash Mehta, who tolerated a lot. Green hasn’t played well, just two points on 1 of 8 shooting.
6:30: Nembhard doing a little bit of everything tonight. Including drawing two charges in 49 seconds. A remarkable showing.
2:36: Warriors use *another* timeout because they cannot contain Nembhard, who has been the best player on the floor. He’s responsible for the Pacers’ last 12 points — two 3s, a jumper and two assists — and the lead is seven.
The Pacers do it again. Undermanned in San Francisco for the second straight year and they walk out with a victory. This performance, in particularly by Nembhard, will be celebrated on the end-of-year highlight video.
Very cool to see Haliburton wait on the court for Nembhard following his postgame TV interview so that they can celebrate. Behind him were player development coaches Mo Baker, Jannero Pargo and Calbert Cheaney, all of whom work closely with Nembhard daily.
Nembhard was unfazed and showed very little emotion. He went about his business and was calm, cool and collected. (Nate McMillan would be proud.)
One Monday after he returned from a knee injury to hit a buzzer-beating shot to top the Lakers, Nembhard guides the Pacers to a second big road win.
Carlisle postgame: “An amazing performance by Andrew Nembhard and a lot of guys that starred in their roles in this game. A really great win and a really great feeling to have a win in a difficult place like this.”
Nembhard’s final numbers: 31 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists — all career highs — going 13 of 21 from the field and 5 of 7 from range.
All while drawing two charges and helping keep Steph Curry, who averages 31 points per game, to a season-low 12 points. 3 for 17, 2 for 10 from 3.
More Carlisle: “This guy’s got amazing poise. … He was masterful tonight.”
“Kid is special,” McConnell wrote on Instagram.
Nembhard becomes the first Pacer *rookie* to have 30+ points and 10+ assists in a game since Jamaal Tinsley — who wrote last week in a post: “(Haliburton) will break all my assist records.”
Curry postgame: “He controlled the flow (of the game) to the point where they were getting their bigs involved in rolls, a couple lobs, they were kicking out to shooters int he corners. … He made enough plays down the stretch.”
Asked about his viral video of making full-court shots, Curry joked: “I did make two of them, just in case anybody was wondering. I used them all then. I didn’t make any tonight.”
Now 10-1 when six Pacers reach double figures: Nembhard, plus Hield (17), Smith (15), Mathurin (14), Brissett (14) and Jackson (13).
Not very often will the Pacers outshoot the Warriors from 3, but they did in this one. They made 15 as the Warriors went 13 for 44 (29.5%).
The Warriors (12-12) entered the game 2-10 in road games and 11-1 at home, including 10 in a row. The Pacers remain undefeated (4-0) at the Chase Center.
Classic line from Carlisle, in response to whether this win can propel them during a tough stretch: “It’s the NBA. This shit happens all the time. (laughter) … That’s the beauty of the NBA game, anything can happen.”
Indiana, now 13-11, improves to 5-0 on the second night of a back-to-back.
Looked like Myles Turner’s former agent, Bill Duffy, was sitting in row two in the tunnel by the Pacers’ bench. He represents Kendall Brown.
Official attendance: 18,064 — a 443rd consecutive sellout. Wow.
Up next: The seven-game road trip ends Wednesday in Minnesota. And it’s back to semi-normal times with a 8:00 p.m. ET tip.