Rewind: Pacers vs. Nets 120131

106 99


Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 106, Nets 99

By Conrad Brunner

END RESULT

Paul George provided the highlights with his career-high 24 points, but he changed -- and ultimately saved -- the game with his defense.

Making life difficult for Nets star Deron Williams in the third quarter, George's defense sparked a game-turning run as the Pacers seized control and held off a late rally for a 106-99 victory over visiting New Jersey Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

George also stripped Williams on a drive with 20 seconds left, effectively eliminating the Nets' last chance.

The victory came with a cost, as sixth man George Hill sustained a chip fracture in his left ankle in the third quarter and will be out "indefinitely," said Coach Frank Vogel.

The Pacers led 97-79 with 8:36 left but missed six in a row as the Nets put together a 16-1 run fueled by a trio of 3-pointers from Anthony Morrow to cut the lead to 98-95.

But New Jersey (7-15) would get no closer as the Pacers improved to 14-6 overall, 6-1 at home by winning their ninth in a row over the Nets.

BY THE NUMBERS

George made 8 of 11 shots, including 4-of-6 from the 3-point line, for his 24 points. Danny Granger topped 20 for the fourth straight game with 21, adding seven rebounds and five assists. Roy Hibbert had his ninth double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, adding four blocked shots. Tyler Hansbrough scored 10 off the bench. The Pacers shot 52.1 percent and outrebounded the Nets 43-34.

Williams scored 34 with seven assists but six turnovers for the Nets. Morrow finished with a season-high 28, hitting 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. Kris Humphries had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Farmar 10 off the bench.

QUOTEWORTHY

"Paul George really carried us through some offensive stretches. He’s a heck of a weapon at both ends. You can also throw him on the best one, two or three." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel

"We have a deep bench. A.J. (Price) will play some. Lance (Stephenson) will play some." - Vogel on adjusting to Hill's injury

"We wanted to limit their offensive and defensive boards because they outrebounded us the last time. It was a total team effort with everybody helping out everybody. And we are becoming more consistent in doing this night in and night out. " - Hibbert

"I was just trying to get people going. I just want to be effective on both sides of the ball and help this team win." - George on his dunk

STAT OF THE GAME

George's only 20-point games of the season have come against the Nets. In two meetings, he has totaled45 points, shot 16 of 21 overall and made 9 of 11 from the 3-point line.

GAME DETAIL

With Darren Collison on the bench with four fouls, George got the defensive assignment on Williams and took the Nets out of their offensive rhythm in the third quarter. The defense fueled a 17-3 run that turned a 63-61 deficit into a 78-66 advantage, with George, Granger and Hibbert combining for all of the points. The Nets scored six in a row to cut the lead in half but the Pacers closed the period with a flourish as Lou Amundson scored twice before Lance Stephenson fired a perfect lead pass to George, who threw down a soaring reverse jam that brought the crowd to its feet and sent the Pacers into the fourth quarter with an 84-72 lead.

The lead grew to 18 early in the fourth quarter when the Nets rallied behind Morrow and Williams. Hibbert ended the Pacers' drought with a post bucket that made it 100-95 with 2:52 left, but one of the key plays of the game came from Granter. With the Pacers up 102-99 in the final minute, Darren Collison missed a forced floater as the shot-clock expired but Granger chased down the ball as it was headed out of bounds and saved it to Hibbert, who was fouled and made one free throw to make it a two-possession game.

George stripped Williams on the ensuing possession and the Pacers closed it out at the line.

After their hot-shooting first half, the Nets were held to 6-of-15 shooting and committed nine turnovers in the third period the Pacers converted into 14 of their 29 points.

The Pacers shot 61 percent in the first half but could not pull away from the Nets, who shot 50 percent, made six 3-pointers and rode a 17-point half from Williams. Indiana's lead was just 55-53 at the break despite 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from George, who made all three of his 3-point attempts.

NOTEWORTHY

Hill limped out of the game with 1:35 left in the third quarter, the result of an awkward landing on Johan Petro's foot after a jump shot. … The Pacers unveiled their Hardwood Classics uniforms, sporting the road blue replicas from the 1971-74 ABA seasons for the first of eight games this season. They'll wear them again tomorrow night in Minnesota. … The Pacers' record is their best after 20 games since the 2003-04 season. … The Pacers have topped 100 points and shot better than 50 percent two games in a row for the first time this season. … The Pacers' 26 assists tonight tied their season high set in New Jersey earlier this month and Lance Stephenson's five assists are his most this season.

With Marshon Brooks (broken toe) out at least the next two games, joining Mehmet Okur (back spasms), Damion James (right foot surgery), DeShawn Stevenson (sore right knee) and Brook Lopez (broken right foot) on the sidelines, the Nets had just 10 players in uniform. Shawne Williams got his first start of the season at small forward against the team that drafted him No. 17 overall in 2006. … Indiana was without Jeff Foster (lower back) for the eighth consecutive game and he is expected to miss the rest of this week. …

This being Super Bowl week in Indianapolis, there was no shortage of famous faces in the crowd, including Giants running back Brandon Jacobs This being Super Bowl week in Indianapolis, there was no shortage of famous faces in the crowd, including Giants running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and receivers Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks, Patriots receiver Deion Branch, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, former major league pitching legend Tommy John, actor/comedian Mike Epps, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, ESPN announcers Ron Jaworski and Merrill Hoge, former Dallas Cowboys boss Gil Brandt, Big Head Todd (no word on the Monsters), Colts scout and former Indy Car driver A.J. Foyt IV, New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller and members of the rock band Fuel.

UP NEXT

The Pacers get their first look at Ricky Rubio when they travel to Minnesota to take on Kevin Love and the Timberwolves Wednesday (8 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Pacers have lost their last two visits to the Twin Cities, including a 101-75 drubbing last season.