INDIANAPOLIS. Two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis entered the NBA health and safety protocols, making the already depleted Pacers even weaker against the Clippers on Monday night at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. But in his absence, a trio of recruits from Indiana showed up.
Isaiah Jackson replaced Sabonis as a starter and shone in his first career start, Terry Taylor provided good minutes as a backup center, and Dwayne Washington Jr. fired up in the fourth quarter to lead the Pacers to a 122–2 win over the Clippers. 116. who did not have co-stars Kawhi Leonard (right knee) and Paul George (right elbow).
Here’s what stood out when the Indiana youth led the team to victory:
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Isaiah Jackson records first career double-double
Jackson scored nine of his career-high 26 points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer, but it was his play over the rim that made fans jump out of their seats. Jackson threw four dunks, punctuated by a vicious one-handed pass from Carys LeVert, which gave Indiana a 116–109 lead with 2:03 left in the game.
Jackson also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, hit his first career double-double, and hit two blocks.
“It was a little nerve-wracking in the beginning, but once you start playing it all comes out,” Jackson said of his first NBA start. “I knew my guys needed me. I knew I would be there to take a step forward and I did a lot (on Monday) so I just keep growing.”
Terry Taylor provides momentum
Taylor was praised by Pacers coach Rick Carlyle ahead of Monday’s game for his strong performance of late, a trend that continued against the Clippers. He filled in for Jackson whenever he needed a breather, and his presence was felt all around. Five of Taylor’s best eight career rebounds came on the offensive glass, and he also scored a career-high 15 points in 21 minutes.
Taylor is on a two-way contract and has split time this season between the Pacers and their G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He made his first three-pointer in the NBA in the third quarter, tying at 82, and had two assists.
“I should want it more,” Taylor said of his mindset. “I always had a chip on my shoulder because everyone was always telling me, ‘Oh, he’s 6-5. He can’t bounce in the trees” or “He can’t do it” is because I want to prove everyone wrong. It doesn’t matter how tall I am. I can go out there and do what I do best, which is offensive rebounding, making a fuss and cleaning up for my team.”
Dwayne Washington Jr. takes over
A week after the Pacers set a rookie record by hitting seven 3-pointers in a road loss to the Pelicans, Washington went wild again on Monday against the Clippers. The undrafted rookie, who also has a two-way contract, scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including four triples.
After Washington exhausted his fourth three to give Indiana a 106–94 lead with 7:32 left in the game, forcing Clippers coach Tai Liu to call a timeout, Washington turned to teammate Lance Stephenson and did a shoulder shimmy Stevenson style. actually a nod to Washington’s father.
“This morning I saw on Twitter a video of my father playing overseas in Murcia, Spain, and the video is on YouTube, and one of his celebrations after he got the i-1 was this little shimmy,” said Washington. “…That was the first thing that came to mind, so I just deduced it.
“I think Lance got the (shimmy) crown right now. I need to get a couple more. It was my first, so after a couple more, we can probably argue about it again.”
Carlisle said all of his team’s rookies had moments, including Keifer Sykes and Chris Duarte. Sykes substituted and played only 12 seconds at the end of the first half, but fouled on the catch, so the Clippers had to attack the ball again and failed to land a good shot. Duarte, who was limited to eight points, made a crucial layup late in the fourth quarter, extending Indiana’s lead to five points and preventing the Clippers from returning.
“Our coaching staff and player development specialists continued to have a positive attitude towards these guys, even when they didn’t play a hell of a lot,” Carlisle said. “Indeed, nothing can replace a minute. Chicken or egg is always more important: minutes or a good game? .”
Indiana 122, Los Angeles Clippers 116
LA CLIPPERS (116): Mann 3:7 0:0 6, Morris Senior 4:14 1:1 9, Ibaka 6:7 2:2 14, Coffey 9:14 4:4 27, R. Jackson 8:18 1 :1 21, Hartenstein 3:5 0:0 6, Batum 4:7 1:2 13, Winslow 1:2 0:0 2, Bledsoe 5:13 2:3 13, Boston Jr. 1:2 0:0 3, Kennard 1-7 0-0 2. Totals 45-96 11-13 116.
Indiana (122): Craig 3-9 0-0 8, Holiday 5-9 0-0 13, I. Jackson 12-19 1-2 26, Duarte 3-11 2-2 8, LeVert 6-12 4-6 17, Stephenson 5:6 0:0 10, Lamb 3:5 1:2 9, Sykes 0:0 0:0 0, Taylor 7:11 0:0 15, Washington Jr. 6:13 0:0 16. Totals 50-95 8-12 122.
Los Angeles Clippers 27 28 30 31 – 116
Indiana 30 30 24 38 – 122
3-Point Goals – Los Angeles Clippers 15-44 (Coffey 5-9, Batum 4-7, R. Jackson 4-11, Bledsoe 1-6, Morris Sr. 0-3, Kennard 0-5), Indiana 14 -29 (Washington Jr. 4-7, Holiday 3-5, Lamb 2-4, Craig 2-5, LeVert 1-2, I. Jackson 1-3). Foul_No detected. Rebounds_L.A. Clippers 41 (Ibaka 11), Indiana 50 (I.Jackson 10). Assists_L.A. Clippers 25 (R. Jackson 5), Indiana 31 (LeVert 9). Total fouls_L.A. Clippers 15, Indiana 12. A_14 629 (20,000)