June 13, 2024

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Indiana Pacers survive Devin Bookers’ 62-point night, to edge Suns, 133-131

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GAME HERO. Obi Toppin’s putback in the closing seconds caps an exhilarating turnaround as the Indiana Pacers overcome the Phoenix Suns, 133-131, on Friday (Saturday, January 27, in the Philippines). INDIANA PACERS PHOTO

The Indiana Pacers orchestrated a stunning comeback to overcome Devin Booker’s phenomenal 62-point night, sealing a dramatic 133-131 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday (Saturday, January 27, in the Philippines).
Obi Toppin played the hero’s role, breaking the tie with a putback in the closing seconds, capping an exhilarating turnaround, and handing the Suns their first loss after a seven-game winning streak.
Toppin, who finished with an impressive 23 points and 11 rebounds, spoke highly of Booker’s prowess but emphasized the Pacers’ fourth-quarter defensive adjustment as the turning point.
The Pacers decided to apply more pressure on Booker, deploying an additional defender to force the ball out of his hands. This strategic shift disrupted the Suns’ offensive rhythm, resulting in their lowest-scoring quarter of the game.
Booker had set the tone early in the game, breaking his own Phoenix record with a remarkable 29-point first quarter.
However, the Pacers’ resilience and defensive adjustments proved pivotal in containing him during the decisive moments. Despite another remarkable 50-point performance by Booker, it was evident that the Suns have defensive challenges to address, especially in crunch-time situations.
The Suns entered the game riding high on a franchise-record streak of consecutive games with 40-point scorers, extending it to five. Kevin Durant, with 20 points, contributed to the offensive effort, but it wasn’t sufficient to withstand the Pacers’ comeback.
For the Pacers, the victory marked a monumental 24-hour stretch, securing wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and the high-flying Suns, all while missing their injured All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.
Pascal Siakam played a pivotal role, scoring 31 points and leading the Pacers to their second consecutive victory.
Facing a 17-point deficit in the second quarter, the Pacers demonstrated resilience, closing the gap to 80-70 by halftime.
The second half saw a methodical comeback, with Andrew Nembhard’s contributions instrumental in tying the game at crucial junctures. Nembhard finished with 22 points and six assists.
As the game reached its climax, the Pacers, despite missing key shots, capitalized on Toppin’s crucial rebound and putback.
Toppin’s awareness and quick action secured the victory, showcasing the importance of hustle and determination in tight situations.
Suns guard Bradley Beal’s departure in the third quarter due to a shot to the nose added another layer of adversity for Phoenix.
However, Beal’s return in the fourth quarter, with cotton stuffed up his nostrils, symbolized the Suns’ resilience despite the eventual loss.
The Pacers’ ability to rally against top-tier opponents back-to-back underscores their competitive spirit and adaptability.
As they continue to navigate the challenges of the season, these victories against elite teams serve as a testament to their potential in the highly competitive NBA landscape.

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