Wednesday, March 14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 111, Sixers 94
By Conrad Brunner
Philadelphia brought the best defense and the highest-scoring bench in the league into Bankers Life Fieldhouse for what just might be a playoff preview showdown.
The Pacers dominated both, shooting a season-high 57 percent and racking up a 47-24 edge in second-unit scoring in rolling to a 111-94 victory Wednesday before a crowd of 13,081. The point total was the highest allowed by Philadelphia, which entered the league No. 1 in scoring defense at 87.3 per game.
Danny Granger led the Pacers in scoring with 20 but George Hill was the star down the stretch, scoring 11 of his 17 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Pacers extended a 76-75 lead to 105-88 midway through the fourth.
Indiana improved to 25-16 with its second consecutive win, while Philadelphia (25-18) had a three-game win streak snapped. The Sixers retain the fourth seed in the East because they are a division leader but if they met in the playoffs, the team with the better winning percentage would hold homecourt advantage.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 8-of-13 overall and added seven rebounds to his 20 points. David West had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding four assists. Hill shot 7-of-10 and was 3-of-3 from the arc, adding seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Roy Hibbert had 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks and Tyler Hansbrough scored 14. Indiana had a 37-26 edge on the boards and had 23 assists against just eight turnovers.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Jrue Holiday scored 17 on 7-of-8 shooting. Elton Brand was 8-of-13 for 16 points, Thaddeus Young scored 12 off the bench and Andre Iguodala had 10 points and nine assists. The Sixers shot 53 percent and committed just nine turnovers.
"I’m very proud of our guys for rising to the challenge and stepping up in a big game. We limited them in transition which was the key to the game. Tonight we probably had our best offensive game of the year, shooting 56 percent with seven turnovers. Just a strong effort. " - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"(Hill) really changes what our bench looks like when he’s in the lineup. If we see Philly in the playoffs, that’s what they’ll talk about, whose bench is better." - Vogel
"I thought we shot well tonight. I came out on a little bit more of a mission. Unfortunately they shot well against us as a team, but I felt our reactions, especially down the stretch put it away for us." - Granger
"I think we’ve done a great job regrouping after our bad streak last week. We’ve been a lot more focused in practice and on the bench and it feels great to give an extra lift to the starters, as they are waiting to come back off the bench." - Hansbrough
"Indiana is a team that shoots 43 percent on the season and they were great tonight. Our bench got outscored tonight 47-24 and that doesn’t happen often. They were great. Hats off. They’re a big, strong, physical team." - Sixers Coach Doug Collins
STAT OF THE GAME
The Pacers committed eight personal fouls -- just three in the final three quarters. That tied the franchise record-low for a single game, previously set on Nov. 3, 1984 against New Jersey. Indiana averages 21.8 personal fouls per game and the previous season-low was 13.
Given the presence of two of the top defenses in the league, the first half was an unexpected shootout. Both teams shot well over 50 percent (the Pacers .564, the Sixers .538). Philadelphia was hotter in the first quarter and thus led 29-24, but the Pacers heated up in the second and took a 54-51 lead into the locker room as West (12), Granger (10) and Hansbrough (10) all scored in double figures. Holiday hit all five of his shots and scored 12 to lead the Sixers. Indiana held a 19-16 advantage in bench points against the highest-scoring second unit in the league.
The hot shooting continued into the third quarter with the Pacers holding onto a tight lead most of the way before finally getting some separation in the final minute thanks to consecutive 3-pointers by Hill and Dahntay Jones that pushed the lead to 83-75 heading into the fourth. It reached double digits for the first time on Lou Amundson's tip-in early in the fourth quarter.
Riding the second unit for the second night in a row, the Pacers pushed the lead to 95-82 before Philly countered with six unanswered, including a pair of jumpers by Turner. But Hill came back with consecutive 3-pointers, the second following a resounding block of Young by Granger, and it was 103-88 with 4:11 remaining.
Indiana snapped an eight-game losing streak against teams with winning records. … The Sixers dropped to 0-7 when they allow at least 100 points. … Replay review by the officials wiped away a layup by Hill at the end of the first quarter or he would've had an even bigger game. … Spencer Hawes returned for Philadelphia after missing the past 17 games with a strained left Achilles tendon. The medical staff wants Hawes limited to five minutes per quarter, and he will not be able to play in back-to-back games for at least 10 days. "We've got to build with Spencer," Collins said. "We don't want to be in a situation where he gets out there and it flares up again because if it (does), he'll probably be done for the year." … Tonight's ESPN game was the first time in two seasons the Pacers appeared on a national network partner in at least three seasons. "I don't think there's been any slight to us in terms of respect," Vogel said. "National TV games go to the big markets, they go to the stars and they go to winning teams and we haven't had any of those three elements. Now we're a winning team so they're starting to pay attention and I think the timing is on point. " … Jeff Foster missed his sixth consecutive game and 30th of the season with a sore lower back.
A weekend back-to-back with the ever-changing Knicks begins Friday in New York (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Indianapolis native and former Indiana University standout Mike Woodson replaced Mike D'Antoni as head coach today as the team built around superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and bolstered by free agent sensation Jeremy Lin hopes to turn things around and make a playoff push.