Notebook: Pacers 99, Cavaliers 94



Posted Apr 9, 2013 11:12 PM

Conrad Brunner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Ordinarily, a home victory over Cleveland would not produce a championship-style celebration at center court, with players jumping on top of each other, hugging and high-fiving. But this was no ordinary victory. Trailing by 20 points with less than nine minutes remaining, George Hill and Paul George sparked a furious rally, combining for 20 points in a 31-6 closing run that lifted Indian to a stunning 99-94 victory over Cleveland Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The comeback started shortly after head coach Frank Vogel picked up two technical fouls and was ejected late in the third quarter, an incident that seemed to bring a much-needed spark to what had been a moribund Indiana performance. Trailing 88-68 with 9:04 remaining, Indiana held Cleveland to 2-for-15 shooting and forced seven turnovers the rest of the way. Hill finished with 27 for Indiana (49-29), while Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 29 for Cleveland (24-53).

QUOTABLE: "It's good to learn lessons and get a wake-up call and still get the W."
-- Vogel

THE STAT: This was Indiana's second-biggest comeback of the season. The Pacers trailed New Orleans by 22 in the first half on Dec. 22 but came back to win 81-75.

TURNING POINT: With Vogel in the locker room, associate head coach Brian Shaw used Jeff Pendergraph at center instead of Roy Hibbert to give the team more quickness, particularly in pick-and-roll defense against Irving. The change stymied the Cavs and sparked the Pacers, who scored 17 unanswered points to close to 88-85 with 4:24 remaining. A steal by Lance Stephenson led to a three-point play in transition for Hill to put Indiana in front 93-92 with 46.5 seconds left. Irving made a pair of free throws to put Cleveland back in the lead, but George answered with a corner 3-pointer and Indiana had a 96-94 edge with 29 seconds left. Irving then drove for an apparent three-point play opportunity but Pendergraph stepped in to take the charge, a huge call that was confirmed after the officials reviewed the replay. The Pacers then broke Cleveland's trap and quickly pushed the ball ahead to Pendergraph, who was fouled with 13.1 seconds left. He made one of two, leaving the door open but Wayne Ellington's 3-pointer rimmed in and out with eight seconds left and the verdict was sealed.

QUOTABLE II: "Kyrie'd been kicking butt all night, we knew he was going to try to make something happen. I was just glad he didn't drop it off for a dunk and he just ran over me." -- Pendergraph on taking the late charge from Irving

HOT: Hill shot 9-for-15, 4-for-5 in the fourth quarter, to spark Indiana. George was 1-for-7 through three quarters but went 3-for-5 in the fourth. Irving shot 1-for-20 for Cleveland, adding seven assists, while Tyler Zeller shot 9-for-17 and scored 18 for the Cavs.

NOT: Indiana's reserves combined to shoot 8-for-28.

QUOTABLE III: "We all have to take responsibility as a team, we all took our foot off the gas." -- Irving

NOTABLE: Indiana outscored Cleveland 31-13 from the free-throw line and 33-7 on fast-break points. ... A number of notables were in attendance, including former Pacers President Larry Bird, who made his first appearance at a game since stepping down after last season. ... Tracy McGrady had a baseline seat, and Indiana University star Cody Zeller was with family members in a suite to see his older brother play. ... Vogel's two technical give him nine for the season, most among NBA coaches. ... Cleveland's Marreese Speights picked up a Type 1 Flagrant Foul for hitting Stephenson in the face on a drive in the second quarter. ... Indiana shot 4-for-16 from the 3-point line, bringing its three-game total 8-for-57. ... The Pacers had been outscored 121-81 in the fourth quarters of their previous four games, but outscored the Cavs 35-10. ... George has shot 7-for-31 overall, 2-for-13 from the 3-point line in the last three. ... Cleveland played without Daniel Gibson (sore right elbow), C.J. Miles (concussion), Dion Waiters (left knee), Luke Walton (right ankle) and Anderson Varejao (blood clot).

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Friday vs. Brooklyn, Sunday at New York, Tuesday at Boston. For the Cavaliers, Wednesday vs. Detroit, Friday vs. New York, Sunday at Philadelphia.