Friday, December 28th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 97, PHX 91
by Scott Agness | December 28, 2012, 10:46 PM
Indiana returned to action Friday night against a Phoenix Suns team that had dropped three in a row. The Pacers’ poor shooting in the second half allowed the Suns to erase what was at one time a 16-point deficit and take a fourth quarter lead. But David West held the team up with a couple big buckets late as the Pacers earned a 97-91 home win.
The Pacers came out flat, which you might expect with six days between games. Down 8-1 early, they overcame their slow start by outscoring Phoenix 21-6 over the next seven minutes. During that period, the Suns missed eight of nine shots after making six of their first seven. Tyler Hansbrough scored eight points in five first quarter minutes as the Pacers led after one, 27-20.
An 8-0 run brought Phoenix within three points in the second quarter. Following a timeout taken by Coach Vogel, the Pacers ran off 10 points in a row, capped off by a Paul George 3-pointer, to push ahead 47-45. Indiana shot 56 percent in the opening half, including 7-of-10 from downtown, and they had a 58-44 advantage at the break.
Instead of running away with the game – the Pacers were up as many as 16 – they went 6-for-21 (29 percent) from the field in the third period and were outscored by the Suns 27-17. However, the Pacers were still ahead by four going in to the fourth quarter, 75-71.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Suns scored eight straight points to take their first lead since the first quarter at 83-81. But minutes later with the game tied at 85, the Pacers tallied six points in a row – four coming from the free throw line – and did not relinquish the lead.
Jared Dudley connected on a 3-pointer with under a minute to go, but like in previous games, veteran David West took care of things. He hit the go-ahead basket, a fadeaway jumper, and a couple of free throws in the final three minutes. Eight of the Pacers' final 10 points came at the charity stripe. They came out victorious over the Suns, 97-91.
With the win, the Pacers ended a four-game losing streak to the Suns and they have now taken four in a row for the first time this season.
Inside the Numbers
George Hill connected on his first seven field goals and led the Pacers with 22 points on the night while playing with a bruised groin that he suffered early in the game. Paul George had 15 points and Tyler Hansbrough scored 12 (in just over 14 minutes).
Lance Stephenson nearly registered his first double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points, a career-high nine rebounds and a team-high five assists in 37 minutes.
David West shot 5-of-15 from the field but scored eight of his 14 points during the final five minutes when the Pacers took the lead for good. He has now scored at least 10 points in all but one game this season.
Sebastian Telfair started for the injured Goran Dragic at point guard and recorded a season-high 19 points (on 8-of-20 shooting) and six assists. Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and both Luis Scola and Shannon Brown finished with 12 points.
The Pacers had a 48-37 rebounding edge and they scored 14 points off 16 offensive rebounds.
The Pacers attempted 16 free throws in the fourth quarter and were 21-of-29 for the game.
"We did just enough (to get the win). You want them all to be blowouts when you win. The bottom-line is you get the 'W' and figure out a way to win. That's what these guys have done over the last few weeks... we're 9-3 at home and I'm pretty pleased with how we’re playing at home." – Frank Vogel
"You got to have a guy that can make shots at crunch time and he certainly helps us do that... It doesn’t matter if he’s 2-for-20. He’s going to be in down the stretch and he’s going to get the ball." – Frank Vogel on David West
"I just try to do little things. I'm trying to get everybody involved and just be a factor on the floor." – Lance Stephenson on his game tonight
"Just experience. Earlier in the season, we didn't have experience of closing out them close games with this unit being out there on the court without Danny (Granger). We're just taking out lumps and bruises, just like every other team does. We took them early and now we’re starting to learn how to close them out in the end." – George Hill on the difference late in games
Stat of the Game
The difference from beyond the arc – Indiana: 8-for-16, Phoenix: 2-for-14.
- The Pacers have now won seven of their last eight and are five games above .500.
- George Hill sustained a right thigh bruise in the first quarter and later returned.
- Sebastian Telfair was given a technical foul with 16 seconds left in the first half.
- Sam Young missed the game with the flu.
- Suns starting point guard Goran Dragic was inactive with a left hip bruise.
- Colts Pro Bowl linebacker Robert Mathis was seated courtside.
The Pacers travel to Atlanta for a Saturday night showdown at 7:00 PM EST.