Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 97, Nets 96
Wheat Hotchkiss | February 1, 2014
A whirlwind week for the Indiana Pacers ended with a familiar result: another Pacers win.
Paul George and Roy Hibbert each scored 20 points and David West came through in the clutch to lead Indiana (36-10) to a 97-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets (20-25) in front of a sellout crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers entered the fourth quarter with a narrow two-point advantage. They stretched the lead to as many as seven points, but Brooklyn hung tough, making enough plays to remain within striking distance right up until the final buzzer.
But each time Brooklyn seemed poised to take the lead in the final minutes, West had an answer. The veteran power forward scored seven of Indiana’s final eight points. His one-handed bank shot over Paul Pierce with 57.4 seconds remaining extended Indiana’s lead to 93-88. After Joe Johnson hit a 3-pointer to cut Indiana’s lead to 94-93 with 8.5 seconds remaining, West hit two free throws on the other end. Paul Pierce missed a contested 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, and West hit one more free throw to seal the victory.
West finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out seven assists.
"David always comes through when we need him most," George said. "He’s really our greatest leader here. He shines in those moments and he really picks us up."
The Pacers won despite turning the ball over a season-high 24 times, leading to 36 points. After dropping all three games against Brooklyn last year, the Pacers have swept the four-game season series against the Nets this season.
"It’s tough to beat any team four times in one season," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said.
"I’m proud of our guys grinding it out and, despite playing not a great game, finding a way to win."
For the Pacers, it was a nice bookend to a week that hasn’t been short on storylines. It all began Monday with Paul George’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Over the next five days, the Pacers picked up a road win over the Lakers, then flew back across the country and suffered a rare home loss against the Suns. Roy Hibbert was selected as an All-Star reserve on Thursday, but Lance Stephenson’s omission had the Pacers locker room fuming. To top it all off, the Pacers signed free agent center and former All-Star Andrew Bynum on Saturday morning.
In Saturday's game, Brooklyn jumped out to an early lead, opening the game on a 9-2 run. The Pacers scored 14 of their first 16 points in the paint, but it was Paul George’s 3-pointer with 2:46 left in the first quarter that gave Indiana its first lead of night, 19-18. After a Roy Hibbert free throw with 31 seconds remaining, the Pacers took a 25-24 advantage into the second quarter.
The Pacers made just one of their first seven field goal attempts in the second, but they hit 7-of-8 subsequent shots to close the quarter. Paul George’s contested layup with 6.6 seconds remaining gave the Pacers a 46-45 lead heading into the locker room. The blue and gold outrebounded the Nets 19-11 in the half and got to the line 13 times (converting 11).
Still, it was far from a flawless 24 minutes for Indiana, who had 13 first-half turnovers (eight of them coming in the second quarter) leading to 21 points on the other end. Shaun Livingston and Joe Johnson attacked the heart of the Pacers defense with dribble penetration and post-ups, combining for 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
Indiana opened the second half on a 12-2 run and looked poised to seize control of the game with a dominant third quarter, as has been the case so many times this season. Paul George scored nine points and George Hill added seven, but turnovers continued to plague the Pacers, who had six more giveaways in the period, leading to nine points for the Nets. Brooklyn scored on seven straight possessions from 6:16 to 3:35 to climb within three, and the Pacers entered the final 12 minutes nursing just a two-point lead, setting the stage for an exciting finish.
Inside the Numbers
All 10 starters scored in double figures in Saturday’s contest.
George and Hibbert led the Pacers with 20 points each. The Pacers improved to 9-2 when all five starters score in double figures and 12-1 when two players top the 20-point plateau.
West added 17, while George Hill added 10. Lance Stephenson contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Stephenson, a Brooklyn native, has averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in four games against the Nets this season.
Livingston led all scorers with 24 points on 10-for-18 shooting. Johnson added 16, Pierce finished with 15, and Deron Williams had 13 points and six assists. Kevin Garnett recorded his third double-double of the season, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana outscored Brooklyn 46-36 in the paint. The Pacers have now scored 40+ in that area in each of the last 10 games.
With four made free throws on the night, Paul George now has set a new career-high with 223 shots from the charity stripe in 46 games so far this season, eclipsing the 221 free throws he made last season (in 79 games).
The Pacers outrebounded the Nets 46-27, including a 12-6 advantage on the offensive glass. That result comes one night after the Nets collected just 17 rebounds in a loss to the Thunder, the lowest team rebound total in NBA history.
After winning 10 of 11 games, Brooklyn has now dropped three straight.
"He’s one of our go-to guys. When we’re struggling we try to get the ball in his hands." -Frank Vogel on David West
"We thought that we guarded them well at times but we still had some breakdowns. I thought we responded well. We were able to get some big stops late. Obviously they have some great guys over there who can make plays. I just thought we survived the test." -David West
"It was good for us to learn how to win this kind of game, getting a win and not getting a losing streak started." -Paul George
"I think we were swinging for the fences a little too much in terms of trying to make some tight interior passes as opposed to making the easy, simple play. And that's stuff that has hurt us throughout the year. In the games that we've lost, we've turned the ball over too much. Thankfully tonight we were able to get a win." -West on the Pacers' turnovers
"The guys were active tonight and we got our hands on some balls and we turned them over. We didn’t capitalize as well as we wanted but definitely an improvement from what we did the night before." - Nets head coach Jason Kidd on forcing the Pacers into a season-high 24 turnovers
"We made a tough stand in the third quarter. We knew they are the best team in the league in third quarter scoring difference. So we took their punch and we continued to fight in front of a hostile crowd, a great crowd like they have here in Indiana." -Kevin Garnett
"I could care less if it’s personal. He needs to talk it over with the coaches. I’ve got nothing to do with it." -Joe Johnson on playing against Stephenson, who he beat out for a spot on the All-Star roster
"It’s a grind mode right now. We just have to grind it out to the end. This season is all about the long haul. We understand what the prize is at the end." -George
Stat of the Game
The Pacers made a season-high 32 free throws on 37 attempts (one attempt short of their season high, set Nov. 23 against Philadelphia).
- Andrew Bynum, signed Saturday morning, was not in attendance. He returned to Cleveland and is not expected to join the Pacers until sometime next week.
- Saturday's game was a sellout (official attendance: 18,165), the Pacers' 15th in 24 games this season.
- Colts punter Pat McAfee sat courtside. Video Interview »
The Pacers conclude a three-game homestand by hosting the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST. It is the first meeting between the two teams since the Pacers opened the season with a 97-87 win over the Magic on Oct. 29. Game Preview » Tickets »