By Conrad Brunner
As well as things went Wednesday night, when they took a three-game lead over both Charlotte and Milwaukee in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they went that badly Friday night.
Not only did the Pacers come up flat in losing 110-93 to a Sacramento team playing its fourth straight road game, both the Bucks (in New York) and Bobcats (in Boston) picked up unexpected road wins. And just like that, the gap is back to two games with nine to go.
DeMarcus Cousins (18 points, 14 reobunds) and Samuel Dalembert (16 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles as the Kings dominated the Pacers inside, took a 17-point lead in the second quarter and remained comfortably ahead the rest of the night.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 20 points.
The Pacers fell to 32-41 overall, 15-14 under interim coach Frank Vogel and 19-16 at home. Sacramento won its second in a row and third in four games on this trip to improve to 19-52 overall, 10-25 on the road.
- "We defended decently in the first quarter. We just couldn’t throw it in the ocean. A lot of those poor offensive possessions led to a lot of run-outs. When we got open looks we just had a horrible shooting night. We got great shots in the second half, they just didn’t go in." – Vogel
- "This was a bad loss, very bad loss. We must suck it up, get off to much better starts and get into our game early. We are putting ourselves in bad positions and just can’t get out of it. If we knew what it was or had it figured out, we would do it." – Granger
- "I didn’t have a real good night shooting the ball. None of us did. It was just one of those nights that we want to get behind us and have a short memory about." – Pacers guard A.J. Price
- "We must get ourselves in a better position starting the games and keep a better understanding for the rest of the game. What we’ve got to do is to pick up, get ready to move on and do a better job." – Pacers guard Paul George
- "We’ve been doing a good job of guarding and really got great energy I thought from the start all the way through." – Kings coach Paul Westphal
STAT OF THE GAME
The Pacers trailed by double digits in the second quarter for the third consecutive game.
The Pacers missed 16 of their first 19 shots but the Kings weren't much better in the first quarter as the teams combined to hit 14-of-51 (.274) in the opening 12 minutes.
But while the Pacers continued to struggle in the second quarter, the Kings found the range, fueling their transition game with runouts after Indiana misses. Cousins had three dunks in a 15-5 run that pushed the visitors' lead to 47-30 and it was 55-37 at the break.
Granger warmed up in the third period, scoring 14 points and the Pacers put together an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 71-62 but the Kings answered with a 16-6 burst and there would be no further challenges from the home team.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 4-of-13 but made 11-of-12 from the line, adding five rebounds but four turnovers to his 20 points. Paul George scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and pulled eight rebounds. Roy Hibbert had 11 points and five boards and Dahntay Jones scored 11 off the bench. The Pacers shot 35.2 percent, and were outscored 64-40 in the paint.
Cousins led six Kings in double figures, hitting 9-of-17 shots. He also had five assists and three blocks along with his 14 boards and 18 points. Dalembert shot 6-of-13 on the way to his double-double, blocking two shots. Francisco Garcia had 16 points, four steals and three blocks. Marcus Thornton scored 15 with nine rebounds and three steals. Donte Greene had 15 points off the bench and Beno Udrih had 12 points and six assists. The Kings shot 48 percent and had 27 assists.
- Making his first appearance in the last 20 games for the Kings, Tyreke Evans led his team with eight assists in just 17 minutes. He also had six points and three rebounds tonight.
- Despite having seven players with at least five rebounds each, the Pacers were outrebounded by the Kings, 55-52.
- The Kings outscored Indiana, 64-40, in the paint tonight and that is the second most points in the paint by a Pacers' opponent this season.
- Including 11-12 from Danny Granger, the Pacers shot 25-30 FT while Sacramento shot just 7-10 FT. That is the fewest free throw made and attempted by a Pacers' opponent in 2010-11.
- Hansbrough was 3-13 from the floor and scored eight points, his third of less than 10 points in the last 19 games.
- The Pacers shot just 4-25 from 3-pt range (.160), their lowest percentage since going 3-19 from beyond the arc (.158) at Chicago, 12/13.
- Brandon Rush's eight rebounds off the bench tied his most this season.
The Pacers travel to Detroit to face the Pistons Saturday (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).