The NBA India Games kicked off in style at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai as the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers stitched together an entertaining night on October 4, in what was the country's first-ever NBA game. The historic match had nearly all the ingredients of a thrilling NBA encounter – a barrage of slam dunks, quick breaks, pacy layovers, half-time shows and more – to enthral the Indian audience. The spectators were in for a treat as the parade of basketball royalty, Bollywood celebrities, music and professional performers kept the crowd engaged if not the close scoreline of 132-131 in favour of the Pacers. YouTube sensation Bhuvan Bam sang the national anthem at the start of the game before Nita Ambani presented the match ball.
Kings forward Harrison Barnes scored the first-ever NBA bucket in India with a superb three-pointer. Soon after, Trevor Ariza followed up with an alley-oop dunk. Marvin Bagley III, the Kings’ forward, then elbowed Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis behind the ear drew some blood as both teams played a physical game early on. The Kings were off to a roaring start, taking a 17-6 lead at the first stoppage in play. However, a small break helped Pacers regroup as they reduced the gap to 16-22 with five minutes left for the first-quarter to end. The first quarter ended with the Kings enjoying a 10-point lead at 39-29.
The crowd inside the packed arena enjoyed the three-pointers as Kings extended their lead to 51-38 with eight minutes for the second quarter to end. Kings ended the second quarter with another three-pointer to lead 72-59. The Pacers turned the jets on in the third quarter as they nearly equalised with the scoreline reading 76-77. The complexion of the game had changed by now as the Pacers kept breathing down Kings’ neck. Sacramento heaved a sigh of relief when Corey Joseph knocked down a late three-pointer to give Kings a 97-92 lead.
The game went down the wire as the fans witnessed the first real NBA splash in India when Pacers' TJ Warren knocked down a game-tying three with less than 10 seconds on the clock to take the match into overtime. The sides were locked 118-all in regulation time. In overtime, the Pacers managed to pip Kings by the narrowest of margins with Buddy Hield missing a potential game-tying three-pointer. Bagley could only grab an offensive rebound as the Pacers edged out Kings 132-131 in overtime.
Warren scored 30 points for Indiana, Sabonis scored 21 and Malcolm Brogdon had 14 assists. Jeremy Lamb added 20 for Indiana, which won despite never holding a lead in the final three-quarters of regulation.
Buddy Hield scored 28 points and Harrison Barnes added 21 for Sacramento.