Notebook: Pacers 97, Suns 91

Posted Dec 28, 2012 10:26 PM

By Conrad Brunner, for

THE FACTS: The Indiana Pacers continue to insist theirs is a share-the-wealth offense, with any of the five on the court capable of serving as the go-to guy with the game on the line. The facts are beginning to speak otherwise, as David West has emerged as the main man down the stretch. West scored eight of his 14 points in the final 5:02 as the Pacers held on to beat Phoenix 97-91 for their fourth consecutive win and seventh in eight games Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This comes on the heels of West scoring 20 of his 25 in the second half as the Pacers wiped out a 22-point deficit to win in New Orleans in their last outing. While the Pacers (17-12) have surged into first place in the Central Division, the Suns (11-19) lost their fourth straight overall and seventh in a row on the road despite 19 points and six assists from Sebastian Telfair, who filled in for injured point guard Goran Dragic.

QUOTABLE: "It doesn't matter if he's 2-for-20. He's going to be in there down the stretch and he's going to get the ball."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel on West.

THE STAT: After building a 14-point halftime lead, the Pacers shot just .306 (11 of 36) in the second half.

TURNING POINT: Telfair and Jermaine O'Neal combined for all of the points in an 8-0 run that put Phoenix ahead 83-81 with 5:19 remaining, but West then took over, making four free throws and hitting a pair of tough step-back jumpers, the latter of which put the Pacers up 93-88 with 57.9 seconds remaining.

QUOTABLE II: "I just try to make plays. It's not the same guy every single night. We just scrapped this one out, made some plays when we had to make plays."
-- West.

HOT: Despite taking a shot to the groin in the first quarter, George Hill wound up playing more than 32 minutes and hit 9 of 13 shots for a game-high 22 points to lead Indiana. Tyler Hansbrough hit five of his six shots, all in the first half, to score 12 off the bench for the Pacers. Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, hitting 6 of 9 shots.

NOT: Indiana's front line of West, Paul George and Roy Hibbert combined to shoot 12 of 36 (.333). Phoenix was 2-of-14 from the 3-point line, with Telfair going 1 of 6 and Jared Dudley 1 of 5.

BAD MOVE: Though O'Neal had been giving Indiana's frontcourt fits in his 15 minutes off the bench and played a key role in the run that put the Suns in front, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry pulled the veteran big man with 5:02 remaining and the score tied. The Pacers promptly put together the run that put the game away.

WORSE MOVE: After Shannon Brown's gimme dunk made it 95-91 with 5.2 seconds left, Gentry called for a foul, and Luis Scola obliged against George, whose two free throws with 3.1 seconds left made it a six-point game. Gentry then called a timeout for no apparent reason other than prolonging his team's misery.

NOTABLE: The Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak against the Suns. ... Indiana's four-game win streak is the team's longest of the season. ... the Pacers have gone 13-5 since a 4-7 start. ... Lance Stephenson has averaged 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals in the last four games. ... Phoenix had seven turnovers in the first 42:17 but committed four in the final 5:43. ... Dragic missed the game with multiple injuries (hip, wrist and tailbone) sustained in a nasty fall resulting from a flagrant foul on New York's J.R. Smith in the first half of Wednesday's game. ... Indiana was without backup wing Sam Young (flu). Hill will travel and is probable for Saturday's game in Atlanta. Young's status will be determined Saturday morning. ...In his first game back as the backup point guard, D.J. Augustin struggled, going scoreless with one assist and one turnover in 15½ minutes. He replaced Ben Hansbrough, who had gone scoreless with one assist and five turnovers in his previous three appearances.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Saturday @ Atlanta, Monday vs. Memphis, Wednesday vs. Washington. For the Suns, Saturday @ Minnesota, Monday @ Oklahoma City, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia.