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Steve Kerr: Warriors show 'pathetic effort' in loss to Pacers

MORE INDIANAPOLIS — The defending NBA champions were in town Thursday night. The Indiana Pacers were ready.

The sellout crowd frequently shook Bankers Life Fieldhouse during the fourth quarter. Like when Thaddeus Young threw down a thunderous dunk. Or when Bojan Bogdanovic hit nothing by net on another 3-pointer. Or when Victor Oladipo made his first steal of the night, extending his steals streak to 61 straight games.

It was all part of a 126-106 victory, adding to the Pacers' impressive collection with just three games left in the regular season. This was another statement game for Indiana (47-32), facing the Golden State Warriors (57-22).

By any measure, the Pacers were impressive. They built a 20-point lead in the third quarter. Then after the Warriors opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run, the Pacers didn't fold. They punched back even harder. Young's dunk, Oladipo's steal and Bogdanovic's 3 were part of an 11-1 run that built the Pacers' lead back up to 21 points with just over seven minutes left.

At that point, Warriors coach Steve Kerr conceded, pulling his starters. There was no point in risking injury. The Pacers were too focused, and too good.

"I thought it was a big test tonight," said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. "I really was looking forward to playing them with their roster tonight, just to wee where we were. That's a really good team. I thought our guys responded well to the challenge."

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DURANT: Warriors aren't invincible this postseason CELTICS: How dangerous can they be without Kyrie? CAVS: Storm back to beat Wizards in Ty Lue's return NEWSLETTER: Sign up for exclusive NBA content Bogdanovic (28 points) led the Pacers, and Oladipo (21 points, seven assists, six rebounds, three steals) had another stellar overall performance. Kevin Durant (27 points) led the Warriors.

The Pacers ended any uncertainty after the Warriors closed to 97-87 with about 10 minutes left. After an Oladipo 3-pointer rimmed out, Young rebounded and converted a layup, then Oladipo made his first steal of the night, leading to a Bogdanovic layup that put the Pacers ahead by 14. About a minute later, Cory Joseph made a 3-pointer from the left wing, and the Pacers were ahead by 17. Then came Young's dunk, Bogdanovic's 3-pointer, and the Warriors knew it was over, as an angry Kerr soon emptied his bench.

"Yeah, I'm mad," Kerr said afterward. "I'm embarrassed. I know this game doesn't mean anything in the seeding (for Golden State), but the playoffs start next week. It was an embarrassing effort. Pathetic effort."

Clifton Brown writes for The Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network.

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