Rewind: Pacers vs. Cleveland
Dec. 30, 2011 at Conseco Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 98, Cavaliers 91
By Conrad Brunner
Style points are few and far between but it's hard to argue with the results.
The Pacers are 3-0 for the first time in four years thanks to the staples that are the mark of a quality team -- defense, rebounding and timely shot-making. All were in evidence Friday as Danny Granger broke loose for nine of his game-high 22 points in overtime to lift the Pacers past Cleveland 98-91 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
After David West's floater put the Pacers ahead 88-87 with three minutes left, Granger took from there, scoring on a tough drive before hitting a rare open 3-pointer to make it 93-87 with 1:29 remaining.
The Cavs had a chance to win it in regulation but No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving's layup spun out at the buzzer.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the second time in three games, the Pacers had three frontcourt players with double-doubles. Roy Hibbert had his third in a row with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks; David West had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyler Hansbrough had 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
George Hill had an enormous presence off the bench with a season-high 15 points with five rebounds and Darren Collison scored 11. The Pacers once again shot below 40 percent (.384) and had more turnovers (18) than assists (14) but held Cleveland to 38 percent shooting, won the board 60-49 and played with their trademark relentless energy.
Irving had 20 points but shot 2-of-11 after the first half to lead the Cavs (1-2). Anderson Varejao scored 14 with 12 rebounds. Antawn Jamison scored 12, Anthony Parker 10 and Alonzo Gee 10. The Cavs shot 39 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel: "A very good win for our guys. We needed to make them uncomfortable on their offensive end. We weren’t doing that the first half and that changed in the second half. They turned it up a notch with playoff type defense in the third quarter."
Vogel: "We feel good about our ability to score late in games but we obviously need to work on execution. I thought Roy Hibbert and David West late in the game and George Hill throughout the game were our best players."
Hill: "Tonight I was not focusing on the outside jump shot. If it came to me I was going to take it. I must keep defending and working hard on both ends of the court and continue to get better with my teammates."
Hibbert: "These are the types of games that we have to win. We probably would have lost this one last year. But I think the coaching staff and everybody is teaching us how to win and to win when we get into certain situations. "
STAT OF THE GAME
After losing 31 straight games in which they shot less than 40 percent from the floor, including 0-19 in 2010-11, the Pacers have won all three such games this season.
The Pacers looked on the way to victory when Hill's three-point play gave them a 75-64 lead early in the fourth quarter but the offense went cold. After hitting their first two shots of the quarter the Pacers missed 16 of their next 18 as the Cavs rallied with a 16-5 run, tying it at 80-all on Irving's drive with 2:32 remaining.
Anthony Parker hit a long 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to put Cleveland up 84-82 with 17.5 seconds left. With no times out remaining, the Pacers hurried upcourt and got the ball to West, whose driving floater tied the game with 4.4 to go.
There was no question who would get the shot for the Cavs and Irving weaved through three defenders but his layup spun out at the buzzer, sending the teams to overtime.
After a sloppy first half, the Pacers began to impose their will behind Hibbert in the third quarter, putting together a quick 10-point run to take their first lead of the game and stretch it to 55-49 as the Cavs missed their first five shots of the period.
The intensity reached a fever pitch midway through the quarter when West picked up a flagrant foul against Anderson Varejao. Thirty seconds later, Vogel picked up a rare technical protesting a no-call on an apparent discontinued dribble by Irving. The Cavs couldn't capitalize on those opportunities, however, getting just one point each time, though they did cut the lead to 57-55.
With Hibbert protecting the rim, shutting down Cleveland's forays to the hoop, the Pacers put together another run, this time going 9-0 to push the lead to 66-55. The capping basket was fitting, as Hibbert blocked a dunk attempt by Tristan Thompson, leading to a fast break that Darren Collison converted.
Hibbert had seven points, five rebounds and three blocks in the period as the Pacers led 70-61 heading into the fourth.
The Pacers struggled defensively in the first half against the Cavs, who shot 46.3 percent and led most of the way, taking a 47-45 advantage into the locker room. Irving was particularly problematic, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 14 minutes.
The Cavs took eight-point leads early in each of the first two periods, 16-8 in the first and 38-30 in the second, but the Pacers chipped back in each time, though they couldn't get over the hump. The Pacers shot 42.9 percent in the half, had just five assists on 18 made baskets and committed nine turnovers. Hill had a season high of 10 by intermission.
The Indiana bench scored a season-high 32 points and outscored Cleveland's bench by three. … The Pacers had a season-high 10 blocked shots tonight, including three from Hibbert and two each from Granger and Collison. … Hill's season-high four steals are the most by any Indiana player this season. … Including the Cavs' 18 tonight, the Pacers have forced the opposition into an average of 17.7 turnovers. … Former Pacers center Rik Smits was in attendance. … Pacers forward Jeff Pendergraph, who had been out with a sprained right knee, returned to practice Thursday. Though Pendergraph has much work to do in terms of rebuilding conditioning, he might be in uniform as soon as Monday's game in New Jersey. Veteran center Jeff Foster remains out with a sore lower back. … The Cavs were without center Semih Erden (right thumb fracture).
The Pacers will try to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2004 when they hit the road for a New Year's Eve rematch with the Pistons in Detroit Saturday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, 1070 The Fan). It opens the longest road trip of the season, four games in seven nights. In the season-opener, the Pacers won their seventh straight home game against the Pistons, 91-79, holding Detroit to 36 percent shooting and winning the rebounding battle 53-40. Roy Hibbert (16 points, 14 rebounds), David West (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Tyler Hansbrough (15 points, 13 rebounds) all had double-doubles for the Pacers.