Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 99, Pelicans 82
Scott Agness | January 4, 2014
The storyline has gotten repetitive. Fall behind early, as they feel the opponent out. Head into the locker room and come back out on a mission. Once again, the Pacers (26-6) followed the so-too-familiar script, outscored the New Orleans Pelicans (15-17) by 18 in the third period to take the lead, and got back in the win column with a 99-82 victory.
The Pelicans controlled the game for most of the first half. They used two runs of 7-0 and 12-0 in the opening quarter to push their lead to as many as 14. The Pacers struggled to find a rhythm offensively and it showed, as they shot 35 percent shooting and had five turnovers in the first 12 minutes. They went scoreless during a five and a half minute stretch until Paul George scored on a layup in transition with two seconds left in the quarter. At the end of the first, the Pacers’ deficit was 12.
Indiana’s bench players brought some life back into the team in the second quarter. After converting on three straight possessions, the Pelicans took a timeout and Pacers coach Frank Vogel treated his players with high fives and “Way to respond.” They scored nine points off of just four Pelicans turnovers in the period. Danny Granger and C.J. Watson each had six in the period, where the Pacers steadily cut into the Pelicans’ lead and had it down to five at the half.
To start the third quarter, Vogel switched up the defensive assignments, putting George Hill on Eric Gordon, who had 17 in the first half, and Paul George on Jrue Holiday. Gordon only scored two more times the rest of the way and Lance Stephenson muscled his way against him on the other end.
It was Stephenson that gave the Pacers their first lead since two minutes into the game, on a layup against Gordon. After a frustrating first half, the Pacers shooting guard made all five of his shots in the third quarter and scored 12 of the Pacers’ 30 points. The Pacers scored 18 unanswered and headed into the final frame ahead by 13.
Along with Stephenson raising his game and providing some needed energy, the Pacers defense was locked in, too. Carrying over into the fourth, the Pelicans went without a field goal for a stretch of 10:02. Indiana forced 10 turnovers, locked down the paint, and didn’t allow the easy layups at the rim that they did in the first half.
The Pacers now head to Cleveland and will look to solve their problems with games on the end of a back-to-back Sunday night.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George recorded his third double-double of the season with a game-high 24 points (although he was just 8-of-24 from the field) and 10 rebounds. Lance Stephenson had 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists. George Hill added 10 points.
In 21 minutes off the bench, Danny Granger tallied a season-high 13 points, his highest output since May 24, 2012 — Game 6 of the conference semifinals against Miami. It was also his third consecutive game in double figures.
Roy Hibbert scored only six points, but he pulled down eight rebounds and blocked five shots. He’s now rejected at least five shots in nine games this season, and the Pacers have won every one.
Back in his hometown, Eric Gordon paced the Pelicans with 21 points, 17 of them coming in the first half. Fourth-year center Alexis Ajinca scored a career-high 17 points and Tyreke Evans, who had scored at least 16 points in seven straight games off the bench, was limited to 12.
Down 49-44 after two quarters, the Pacers have come back to win a remarkable 12 of the 15 times this season that they’ve trailed at halftime.
The Pacers outscored the Pelicans 42-36 and improved to 12-1 when scoring at least 40 points in the paint.
“We just wanted to mix up the matchups a little bit on [Eric] Gordon, and give him a different look so we put George [Hill] on him some. … Just try to calm him down a little bit, pick up our intensity and … we adjusted our offensive package a little bit to get a little more efficiency on the offensive end.” – Frank Vogel on the halftime changes
“We watched film and figured out that we wasn’t aggressive enough and we wasn’t good on defense so we told ourselves to stop all of that and we’ll get this ‘W’. We did a good job on defense, running on the break and playing together.” – Lance Stephenson
“Just a little familiarity with him from playing him all through high school and then in the summer. Coach wanted somebody who was lower to the ground on him and could get up in him.” – George Hill on defending Gordon in the second half
“When we’re playing defense, that’s when our offense comes around. George [Hill] battled (Gordon) to start the half off and just the energy and being involved in plays on the defensive end gets you in a groove offensively and that was the case.” – Paul George on mixing defensive assignments
“That’s one heckuva a comeback. To be down so big early, and exhibit the heart and the guts to comeback like that and pull out a victory. Congrats to the Colts. That’s a big-time win. Really happy for them. Really happy for Indy sports fans for having a great day, a clean sweep. Colts win. Pacers win. Good day.” – Frank Vogel on the Colts' playoff victory
Stat of the Game
The Pelicans went cold from the field and went 10:02 without a field goal. During that dry spell, which spanned the third and fourth quarter, they missed 12 straight shots.
- Winners of the last six meetings, the Pacers have swept their season series with New Orleans for the third year in a row.
- Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and a Pelicans assistant coach were all assessed technical fouls in the third period.
- Pelicans leading scorer Ryan Anderson missed the game with a cervical stinger, an injury he suffered the night before in Boston. He continued to undergo tests in a Boston hospital on Saturday.
- The Pacers recorded their 11th sellout (18,165) of the season, the most since the 2005-06 season — with 24 more home games still to be played.
The Pacers travel to Cleveland, where they'll take on the Cavaliers for the second time this week. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. EST. Game Preview »