Even without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Luke Kennard, the Clippers’ game Sunday against the Indiana Pacers was theirs to lose. By the third quarter, the Clippers had already run away with the win.
The Clippers improved to 12-9 in the early season after beating the Pacers 114-100 at Crypto.com Arena.
Indiana (11-8) proved to be a tricky opponent for the Clippers to start the game. Ivica Zubac scored the game’s first points and 14 total in the first, a career high for him in points scored in a quarter, but it was the Pacers who held the lead for much of the quarter, leading by as many as eight points.
It was not until point guard John Wall was subbed in toward the end of that quarter that the momentum started to fully shift in the Clippers’ favor.
When Wall was fouled while driving to the basket for a layup with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first, the arena and the Clippers’ bench rightfully screamed in excitement when his shot dropped for two points.
Wall made his free throw to complete the three-point play, adding some distance for a 35-29 lead.
The Pacers would take one small lead again in the second, but it wouldn’t last.
Zubac had himself quite the game, finishing with 31 points while shooting 14 for 17 from the field. The center bodied his way to 29 rebounds, including 12 offensive (both career highs), and had three blocked shots.
He became the first Clipper to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since DeAndre Jordan did so on March 21, 2018, in Milwaukee.
Zubac fouled out with less than four minutes remaining in the game. For the effort he put in, the home crowd gave him a standing ovation as he sat back on the bench, replaced by Moses Brown.
Norman Powell contributed 19 points off the bench. Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr. and Wall combined for 37 points.
The Clippers head to Portland for the first of a two-game trip on Tuesday.
George (hamstring strain) and Kennard (calf strain), who missed their fourth and sixth consecutive games, respectively, will not travel with the team.