Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at the Toyota Center
Game Rewind: IND 100, HOU 91
by Scott Agness | March 27, 2013, 11:39 PM
Roy Hibbert was unhappy with the way the Pacers finished their last game. They led by 28 but allowed Atlanta’s bench to get within four, though they held on for the win. In postgame interviews, he fought back words and kept repeating that how they finished was “unacceptable.”
He wasn’t going to let it happen again. Hibbert, who hadn’t scored during the fourth quarter in the last two games, made sure they fed him the ball. He scored seven of his season-high 28 points in the fourth as the Pacers got it done in Houston, 100-91.
The Pacers (45-27) led the entire game, by as many as 19 at one point in the second quarter. Hibbert ensured that they closed out the Rockets (39-32) Wednesday night. Midway through the fourth, he hit two foul shots, knocked down a hook shoot, then connected on two more foul shots. On the next sequence at the other end, Hibbert stuffed not one, but two layups at the rim by Greg Smith, which led to an easy layup for Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson scored a season-high 21 points, just two shy of a career-high. Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough each added 16.
George, who missed his first six shots and was just 4-of-17 in the game, hit the dagger – a 3-pointer to extend their lead to 11 with just over two minutes to play.
Back-to-back steals and layups by the Rockets were part of an 11-4 third quarter run that cut Indiana’s lead to four. The Pacers responded by scoring 12 of the next 15 points – 11 in the quarter by George – and they had an 11-point lead entering the fourth.
Knowing the importance of this trip out West, the Pacers got off to a furious start in Houston. First, they scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points. Then, they went on a 16-5 run – mostly due to their defense and scrappy play – to go ahead by 17. The Pacers dominated the inside play, scoring 22 points in the paint, led by Hibbert’s 15 and Hansbrough’s 10 first quarter points.
As the buzzer sounded, Hibbert squatted down and appeared to catch his breath. He was wiped, but his strong performance helped the Pacers defeat the Rockets by nine, giving them a sweep of the season series.
This win, with George Hill and Stephenson back in the lineup, sets the tone for the four-game swing. However, unlike last time in late January, they can’t – and shouldn’t – lose the final three. The Pacers may get a boost to their lineup tomorrow night in Dallas as David West and Danny Granger are likely to return.
Inside the Numbers
Four Indiana starters scored in double-figures. With 28 points tonight, Hibbert has scored at least 20 points in five games this season. He’s been in double figures in 12 of 14 games played in March.
James Harden led the Rockets with 22 points but Paul George made it tough on him all night. Harden was 6-of-24 from the field, including 3-of-10 from deep. Greg Smith, who once was teammates with George at Fresno State, scored 18 and collected a career-high 19 rebounds.
Houston’s bench outscored Indiana’s 42-17.
George Hill, who is dealing with a strained groin, was just 1-for-11 with two points, and a team-high five assists.
Stat of the Game
The Pacers held the highest-scoring team in the NBA to 91 points (and 38.6 percent shooting), 15 points under their average.
“No. 1 defensive team against the No. 1 offensive team and we got the better of them tonight. Our defense was sensational led by Paul George’s matchup on James Harden. I thought he really did a strong job and our team did a strong job on him.” – Frank Vogel
“Roy Hibbert’s rim protection was off the charts. He was only listed for three blocks but he changed about 20 other plays that came to the rim. They weren’t even shooting it once they got there and was just thinking pass. This was Roy Hibbert’s best overall game and with David West out, we needed him to score more and be more of a post presence and he was terrific on the offensive end as well.” – Frank Vogel
“I’m going to be very excited when we get everybody back healthy. We go out there and we play D, communicate and we try to help each other out as much as possible. I tell the guys if they get beat, don’t foul them, let me try and take care of them at the rim and more than likely I may get a block or alter the shot. From day one, I wanted to be on a defensive team and go out there and clog the paint and get deflections and make sure the other team shoots a low percentage.” – Roy Hibbert
“James (Harden) is a great player in this league and I knew what he was capable of if he gets hot, so by him being an LA cat and me being a LA cat, I know his game. So I really didn’t want him to get good looks and I tried to make it as tough as I could on him.” – Paul George
“We never really got our offense going at all. We never really got any breaks going. We didn't have any rhythm to our offense whatsoever and the big thing was, when we did kind of get in the paint, they challenged our shots and we bobbled some passes.” – Rockets coach Kevin McHale
- The Pacers have won the last three meetings.
- George Hill and Lance Stephenson returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Monday against Atlanta.
- Tyler Hansbrough started his sixth consecutive game at power forward for David West (back)
Thursday, the Pacers play in Dallas for the only time this season. Tip-off is at 8:30 PM EST. Pacers-Mavs Game Preview »
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Good seats are still available for the Pacers' next home game, Friday, April 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8:00 PM. Find Tickets »