Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 PM at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 106, SAC 98
by Scott Agness
With gold glowing throughout Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the home opener, unlike their first two games, the Pacers got off to a strong start. They connected on six of their first eight shots and led 12-5 just 4:35 into the game. Then, the Pacers hit a dry-spell, missing their final nine shots of the quarter.
DeMarcus Cousins imposed his will early on the Pacers, scoring Sacramento’s first seven points and, after 12 minutes of play, he tallied nine.
The Pacers responded to a stagnant end to the first period with a new mentality. They came out aggressive and stopped settling for the outside shots the Kings were giving them. First, Tyler Hansbrough cleaned up a missed shot and laid it in. Next, it was D.J. Augustin getting around his defender for a layup. And later, Gerald Green threw it down the way you expect him to.
Montieth: Stephenson Stepping Up Game »
A couple of free throws from George Hill, who had 13 points at the break, gave the Pacers the lead once again, 40-38. From there, they would outscore the Kings 18 to 4 over the final 4:25 to have a 56-42 advantage at half.
Paul George closed the third with a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer, and put the Pacers ahead, 74-66. All five starters entered the fourth quarter in double-figures.
Three quick turnovers allowed the Kings to get back into the game when the Pacers should have closed the door. Marcus Thornton and Thomas Robinson scored the Kings' first 10 points of the quarter and narrowed the Pacers edge to two, 78-76.
The game remained tight and, for the third straight game, the Pacers were playing down to the final buzzer. With under a minute to play in regulation, David West finished with his right hand to make it a three point lead again. On the next possession, Marcus Thornton drilled an outside shot from the top of the key to tie it up at 91.
After a Pacers timeout, Paul George missed a corner three and West batted it out to retain possession. Hill drove to the basket and had his attempt swatted by DeMarcus Cousins. Tyreke Evans missed at the other end, giving the Pacers the ball with 3.6 seconds left. The Pacers failed to execute their final play and West, who received the inbound pass, had to throw something up, missing badly.
The chances were there for the Pacers to close late, but they didn’t, and the Kings just hung around.
In the first overtime, the teams traded buckets and with 26.4 seconds left, still tied, the Pacers had the ball. Hill received the ball, let the clock tick, and then used a West screen to get free in the right corner. His shot didn't go down and Hibbert wasn't able to tip it in during the final seconds.
In the second overtime, Hill buried a six-footer to give the Pacers the lead. Then, David West came up with a clutch block and Hill finished at the other end with a layup. One minute later, with the Pacers still ahead four, Paul George hit a fadeaway on the left side, and Hansbrough and West both hit a pair of free throws to seal the Pacers victory, 106-98.
Inside the Numbers
David West (18 points, 18 rebounds), Paul George (16 points, a career-high 17 rebounds), and Roy Hibbert (12 points, 10 rebounds) all had double-doubles. Six players scored in double-figures.
Lance Stephenson scored 10 points off the bench in 32 minutes of work.
Marcus Thornton was cold-blooded late, hitting a couple big threes to keep the Kings alive. He finished with a game-high 26 points. DeMarcus Cousins contributed 21 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.
The Pacers have held each of their first three opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
There were nine ties and four lead changes. The Pacers' biggest lead was 14.
The Pacers made their first 14 free-throws before Hibbert missed two in a row. They finished the night 24-of-27 (89 percent), a big improvement from the first two games where they were 27-of-43 (63 percent) from the line.
Twenty-four turnovers by the Pacers was a season-high. Through three games, they’re averaging almost 21 turnovers a game, nine more than Coach Vogel would like.
"Not the prettiest game in the world but we got a W. Like early last season our defense is carrying us. For the most part, we got stops on the defensive end and that’s the more important thing. With the exception of the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime, we lost Marcus Thornton and gave up a couple threes." – Frank Vogel
"We’re trying to stagger our wings, to make sure that we have a three point shooter on the floor at all times. At the end of the game, we're looking at who's having the better game as to who's going to finish the game. None of the guys have finished games with us as that opposite wing in Danny’s spot." – Frank Vogel on playing Stephenson late
"I tried to take the opportunity to show everybody that I’ve been working for three years and trying to produce... I feel very confident thanks to my teammates for guiding me through it and trying to show me how to execute at the end of a game." – Lance Stephenson
"This was a very tough, gut-out game. I wasn’t making shots. My teammates were not making shots, but we were able to keep pushing and get the win in a very nasty game. These are the type of games that you have to win in the NBA if you want to be successful." – David West
"I think it’s a learning lesson for us. I think it’s good to see where we're at as a team. I feel like we're not where we need to be but it's November... as this group starts to gel and starts to know what it takes to win games, we'll be alright." – George Hill
"It's going to be a couple days for them to gather all the information and make a decision on a course of action." – Frank Vogel before the game, on Granger's status
Stat of the Game
After getting beat on the boards 17-10 in the first quarter, the Pacers controlled the paint and finished with 20 more rebounds than the Kings (67 to Sacramento's 47). They also had 14 blocks, four of which came in the second overtime period.
- The Pacers have now won three straight home-openers.
- Sacramento’s Jason Thompson was issued a technical foul in the final minute of the first half for obscene language.
- The last double-OT game for the Pacers was a 117-109 loss to the Clippers on Dec. 19, 2008.
- Former Pacers Mel Daniels and Bob Netolicky were in attendance.
- Sam Young exited Friday’s game with a right shoulder injury. He is okay and played almost 12 minutes.
- Kings Coach Keith Smart, an IU alum, said he always enjoys coming back and still has in-laws that live in Bloomington. He also said he talked with Coach Knight just last week.
- Indiana-native Jon McLaughlin sang the National Anthem.
After returning home for tonight's season-opener, the Pacers are back on the road for three in a row: Monday in San Antonio, Wednesday in Atlanta and Friday at Minnesota. Monday’s game against the Spurs will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. EST.
The Pacers next home game is Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM EST vs. the Wizards. Buy Tickets »