Thursday, February 28th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 91, LAC 99
Scott Agness | February 28, 2013 | Updated: March 1, 2013, 1:19 AMTweet
The old cliché goes, "You don't know what you've got til it’s gone.” With Pacers center Roy Hibbert suspended one game by the league for an altercation in Tuesday’s game with Golden State, that statement held true Thursday as the Los Angeles Clippers (42-18) scored 50 points in the paint, including two late buckets around the rim from Chris Paul, to hold off a Pacers charge in their 99-91 victory. The loss put an end to Indiana’s (36-22) five-game win streak.
In the absence of Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi made his first start of the season. He battled inside, and even forced two quick fouls on Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. The Pacers trailed the entire first quarter, primarily because of turnovers. But even with nine turnovers, the Pacers kept the score tight by shooting 61 percent and were only down one at the end of the first.
Danny Granger had his best showing in three games since returning from a knee injury. He made four of his first five shots, including his first 3-pointer of the season in the second quarter to tie the game at 32. The Clippers then used an 11-2 run to go ahead by nine. Three big outside shots, highlighted by a 27-footer from David West as time expired, brought the Pacers within one, despite turning the ball over 15 times and allowing 32 points in the paint in the half.
Midway through the third, the big dunks finally came and in a hurry, with highlight-reel slams from Paul George, Blake Griffin, Ian Mahinmi and finally Lance Stephenson. The Pacers only trailed by one but then went over four and a half minutes without a field goal, giving the Clippers a seven-point lead going into the fourth.
To open the fourth, the Clippers outscored the Pacers 13-3, building their lead to a high mark of 17 with six minutes remaining. But the Pacers responded with 13 unanswered points. With less than three minutes to play, the sold-out crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse sprang to their feet.
All three times the Pacers cut their deficit to four, Chris Paul answered at the other end. First he hit a 16-foot jumper, next he sank a layup, and finally he topped things off with a finger-roll. Paul, who finished with a game-high 29 points, scored the Clippers’ final eight points of the game. The Pacers cooled off and missed their final five shots plus a pair of free throws from George Hill. Hibbert’s absence stuck out like a sore thumb, as the Pacers greatly missed their enforcer around the rim in the eight-point loss.
Inside the Numbers
David West led the Pacers in scoring for the third time in four games, finishing with 22 points, half of which came at the charity stripe. Paul George scored 20 and Lance Stephenson made all but one of his eight shots for 16 points.
Danny Granger contributed 12 points (on 5-of-10 shooting), two rebounds and an assist in 19 minutes of work.
Chris Paul led all scorers with 29 points, one shy of his season-high, along with six rebounds and eight assists. Jamal Crawford, a favorite for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, chipped in 23 off the bench. Blake Griffin finished with 18 points (all seven field goals coming in the lane) and 14 rebounds.
The Clippers scored 21 points off 20 giveaways by the Pacers.
After shooting 53 percent in the first half, the Pacers made only 34 percent of their shots in the final two quarters.
The Clippers missed 19-of-23 shots from behind the arc.
Tonight’s Pacers loss is just their third in the last 23 home games.
“The Clippers played an excellent basketball game. They took us out of a lot of our stuff with their pressure. We got to play good basketball to beat a team like that and we didn’t.” – Frank Vogel
“This team is number one in the league in forcing turnovers and we showed them tape on it…and tried to simulate what (the Clippers) do, but it’s not something you can simulate really. You have to experience it…we got out there in the first half and it impacted us. It affected us and hurt our ability to score.” – Frank Vogel on their turnover struggles
“Roy Hibbert makes a big difference on our team. Everybody wants to talk about he’s having a terrible year. I think he’s having a great year. He’s leading the number one defense in the NBA and we missed him tonight.” – Frank Vogel on Hibbert’s absence
“Not having Roy was a huge factor…He buys us time to catch up, try to make plays, try to rebound and box-out so he was definitely missed.” – Paul George
“He’s one of the best in the league and he’s one of the best for a reason. He’s great at closing games, getting everyone involved and is a natural point guard.” – George Hill on Chris Paul
“I watch the Pacers play a lot. D West is like my brother. And they have been beating teams real bad lately, especially here at home so I think this is a good win for us.” – Chris Paul
Stat of the Game
The Clippers scored 50 points in the paint to the Pacers’ 32.
- Clippers forward Matt Barnes was given a flagrant foul near the end of the third quarter for a blow to David West’s head.
- Roy Hibbert missed his third game in three seasons.
- Danny Granger went to the hospital Wednesday to have the middle-finger on his shooting hand (right) drained because of an infection.
- Tonight’s game was a sellout (18,165).
The Pacers wrap up their season series with the Raptors Friday night in Toronto at 7 PM EST.