INDIANAPOLIS (July 28, 2023) – Pacers Gaming knew it had to win two games Friday night in Washington, D.C. at the NBA 2K League 5v5 THE TICKET Tournament or its season would be over. Indiana survived the first outing, defeating Kings Guard Gaming 76-71 but the Blue & Gold’s dream to keep the ’23 campaign alive came to a heart-breaking end in the night cap as the Pacers lost 89-86 in overtime to DUX Infinitos of Mexico. Indiana ends the year with an overall mark of 25-25, going 14-12 in 3v3 play earlier in the season and finishing 11-13 in 5v5 play.
In the must-win first game of the night the Pacers featured excellent shooting from the field and stellar team defense in the second half to edge Kings Guard Gaming 76-71. The Pacers outrebounded Sacramento 16-13 and outshot the Kings from the field – 71% to 58%. Indiana held Kings Guard to just 17 points in the third quarter and only 16 in the fourth. Kings’ standout REGG, who scored 20 points in the first half to pace Sacramento on a one-point lead at intermission, was held to nine tallies in the second half!
CHESS (Kory Taylor) led the Indiana attack with 29 points which included a season-high tying 12 field goals made, and season highs in assists (nine) and steals (four). CHESS scored 11 in the all-important fourth quarter. Center BIG REIGN (Blaine Wilson), a legitimate All-Star candidate, grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and scored 16 points on eight-of-nine shooting. He also had four assists, a steal and two blocks. GREENLIGHT (Dylan Sanderson) chipped in with 14 points and four assists while JAYSNAGS (Julio Laboy) contributed 11 points on four-of-four shooting; and had two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots. RANGE (Gil Santiago, Jr.) added six points and a season-high five rebounds to the winning effort. REGG led Sacramento with 29 points.
The first quarter was very competitive and after trailing by four a few times early in the game the Pacers led 20-18 after one period behind six points from BIG REIGN and five each from GREENLIGHT and CHESS. REGG exploded for 14 points in the second quarter and the Kings outscored Indiana 20-17 in the period to take a 38-37 lead at intermission. GREENLIGHT had 11 and BIG REIGN 10 at the half for the Pacers. CHESS scored 10 in the third quarter and JAYSNAGS had five as Indiana built a seven-point lead late in the period before leading 59-55 after three. REGG had only five points in the quarter for the visitors. After trailing 62-61 with four minutes left in the game, the Blue & Gold went on an 11-3 run to take a 72-65 lead with just 1:30 to play. Free throws and steady defense carried the Pacers to the finish line as CHESS scored 11 in the period and REGG was held to four tallies.
The nightcap was a flat-out thriller with both teams knowing what was at stake – a chance to play for the Western Conference final playoff spot Saturday night. The Pacers led 21-19 after the first quarter as GREENLIGHT scored seven and RANGE added five. DUX came back with a 22-18 second quarter to take a 41-39 halftime edge. The hot-shooting teams combined for 16 three-pointers in the first half as DUX shot 73% from the field and 64% from three and Indiana shot 68% from the field and 70% from the arc. GREENLIGHT had 17 and CHESS nine points at intermission for the Pacers. The Pacers trailed by as many as five in the third quarter before rallying to trail 61-59 after three periods. Things did not look good for Indiana in the fourth as the Pacers fell behind by six with just over four minutes to play but the Blue & Gold rallied to take the lead 75-70 with 1:20 remaining. DUX got some clutch shots down the stretch and CHESS missed a potential game-winner with 1.7 left and the game went to overtime, 77-77.
In the extra period, the Pacers shot off to an early five-point lead (82-77) only to see DUX out score Indiana 12-4 the rest of the way to get the win. The Pacers missed a desperation three-point attempt from the corner at the buzzer that would have forced a second overtime.
GREENLIGHT led the Pacers with 25 points and eight assists while CHESS contributed 23 points and eight assists. BIG REIGN garnered a double/double with 18 points/15 rebounds on nine-of-10 shooting from the field. JAYSNAGS scored 15 on five-of-six shooting from the arc. KILLEYY led DUX with 37 points followed by former Pacer VANDI with 25 points. Indiana outrebounded Mexico 19-15 but had six turnovers to five by DUX. Both teams shot the ball very well – DUX shot 68% from the field and 62% from three while Indiana shot 63% from the field and 54% from the three-point line.