Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 10:30 PM ET at US Airways Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 100, Suns 124
Scott Agness | January 22, 2014
Indiana’s usual stiff defense didn’t hold up at the US Airways Center Wednesday night. The Pacers (33-8) were unable to cool the Phoenix Suns (24-17) in their first meeting of the season. The Suns, who had six players finish in double figures, took the lead with 3:41 left in the first period and led the rest of the way in a 124-100 victory.
The Pacers came in to Wednesday's contest with wins in eight of their last nine games, including five in a row, but never really got going for this one in front of a nationally televised audience. Their top two keys for the game were keeping the Suns out of transition and off the 3-point line — and they didn’t do either one. Their ever-reliable defense, which holds opponents to an average of 88 points per game, gave up 124 after not allowing more than 97 in each of their previous 16 games.
For the second straight Pacers game, both teams got off to blistering starters. By the first media timeout (5:58), both sides were shooting better than 75 percent from the floor and the Pacers were ahead 19-17. David West, who scored Indiana’s first six points, had to go back to the locker room after re-aggravating his right hand injury and the Suns went on a 8-0 spurt for a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Phoenix then scored the first seven in the second period, which extended their run to 24-8. The Pacers weren’t guarding screens like the coaches wanted, and they allowed 15 points in transition in the first half alone. Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee, who were sent to Phoenix in the offseason for Luis Scola and a first-round pick, had plenty of motivation against their former team. They combined for 25 points and 10 rebounds at the break, where the Suns led by 13.
Picking up where they left off, the Suns scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second half, which raised their lead to 21. Suns guard Goran Dragic had 11 of his 21 in the third quarter. The Pacers were able to slow the tempo of the game down for a stretch, even earning trips to the foul stripe in five of six possessions. But Indiana failed to establish an inside game, partly because of foul trouble, and then got in such a big of hole that they went away from it. The Suns shot 67 percent in the third and for just the ninth time this season, the Pacers trailed heading into the final stanza.
Back-to-back buckets from the Pacers trimmed their deficit to 13, but that was as close as they’d get in the second half. The Suns, who led by as many as 26, fired back with 13 unanswered and at that point, with six minutes remaining, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel waived the white flag and sent in his reserves. That allowed rookie Solomon Hill, who saw the court for the first time in 20 games, to play in front of his college (University of Arizona) friends.
Despite shooting 51 percent, the Pacers were unable to extinguish the Suns, who played their best game of the season and won by 24, tying the Pacers’ worst margin of defeat on the year.
The Pacers, who at the midpoint of the season still have the league’s best record and a 3.5-game lead on Miami, look to bounce back Friday night as their five-game trip out West continues in Sacramento.
Inside the Numbers
All 13 active Indiana players scored in this one. Paul George tallied a game-high 26 points on 10-of-19. He was an efficient 9-for-13 inside the arc. George Hill made all four of his field goal attempts and sank 7-of-8 free throws for 16 points. David West added 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
The Suns were led by former Pacers guard Gerald Green, who had 23 points (3-for-5 from deep) and six rebounds. Markieff Morris scored 20 points off the pine, and Miles Plumlee finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Indiana allowed 28 fast-break points to Phoenix, the top-scoring team in transition at 19 points per game. They also turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 27 points for the Suns.
The Pacers dropped to 1-3 when an opponent makes at least half its shots and 3-6 when trailing after three quarters.
Stat of the Game
Phoenix connected on 11-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc (69 percent), the best percentage by an Indiana opponent this season, and outscored Indiana by 18 points in that category.
“When a team shoots that well from the perimeter they’re going to be tough to guard. [Goran] Dragic was spectacular obviously in their pick and roll game and they got us in transition so it was a tough night for our guys but you have to give them credit. They played a great game.” – Frank Vogel
“We just ran into a hot Suns team, simple as that. … We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy and … we just did a terrible job of responding to it. They just caught fire and once one of them fell, they all had that confidence to keep shooting.” – Paul George
“That’s a good team over there. No matter where they are in the west, it’s a team you’ve got to respect. They have a lot of guys that can score in bunches and they pass the ball really well. They just played harder than us today.” – George Hill
“It is not so much that it is the Pacers, but that they are such a good team. The fact that we got this win, I think is a big game for us as a team.” – Phoenix’s Miles Plumlee on beating his former team
- The Pacers fell for the 11th time in their last 14 meetings in Phoenix.
- Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green both received technical fouls in the second quarter. Suns forward P.J. Tucker picked up one in the third.
- Orlando Johnson was inactive for the first time this season.
The Pacers travel to Sacramento, where they'll take on the Kings on Friday night at 10:00 p.m. EST. Game Preview »