Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Suns 102
Scott Agness | January 30, 2014
The Pacers knew what the Phoenix Suns wanted to do entering Thursday night’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They had just played them eight days prior in the desert, and gave up a season-high 124 points in that one.
Back in the comforts of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they entered the game a league-best 21-1, the Pacers (35-10) were unable to stop the Suns (28-18) from doing what they do best: running and shooting 3's. Indiana trailed by 17 points at the half, got as close as one three times, but didn’t have enough, falling 102-94.
The Pacers had returned from a road trip, but fatigue was no excuse against the Suns, who were playing their fourth game in five days. With the win, the Suns become the first team to have multiple wins over the Pacers this season and finished an impressive 4-0 on a four-game road trip.
Just 65 seconds into the game, the Pacers were already battling foul trouble, a typical occurrence in their losses this season. David West had to take a seat with two quick ones just 1:05 into the ballgame, and then Lance Stephenson went back to the locker room after being poked in his right eye, which disrupted Indiana's rhythm. Picking up where they left off in their last meeting eight days ago, the Suns hit 63 percent of their shots, including 4-of-5 from deep, and led, 36-19, via a 15-2 run to close the first quarter. Roy Hibbert accounted for 11 points by himself in the period to lead Indiana.
Stephenson returned to the court to open the second quarter and ripped off the team’s first nine points, drawing them to within 14 points. The Pacers, however, had no answer for the Suns in transition. They were outscored 14-0 on the run in the first half, and gave up 66 total points — the most of any half this season — and trailed by 17. So many of those transition buckets came, or were created by Goran Dragic, who had 21 points and five assists at the break.
At halftime, Paul George, who is in a rut offensively, asked to guard Dragic. He did a nice job, too, limiting him to just seven points in the final two quarters. The Pacers had a dominant third period, holding the Suns to 11 points and outscoring them by 14. Hibbert had eight of his 26 points in the quarter and led the team to an 18-3 run. With one quarter to play, the Suns’ lead had shrunk to three.
Once the Pacers had it to within two, the Suns bolted off a 10-1 spurt to go back ahead by double digits. Indiana then responded with a run of their own, 12-2, with free throws from George Hill making it a one-point game. On the other end, ex-Pacers guard Gerald Green hit a pair of his own, then sank a jumper. With three minutes remaining, Markieff Morris buried a 3-pointer which pushed the Suns' lead back to six and killed the energy level in the building.
West had a layup blocked, and then Paul George missed a 26-footer. The Pacers missed five of their final six field goals and didn’t have enough to overcome a 19-point hole.
Inside the Numbers
Lance Stephenson recorded his fourth triple-double of the season: 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He is tied with Detlef Schrempf (1992-93) for the most triple-doubles by a Pacers player in a single season.
Roy Hibbert led the Pacers in scoring with 26 points — his sixth game this season with 20 or more. David West had 18 points and George Hill had 17 on 7-of-8 shooting. With 12 & 12, Paul George recorded his sixth double-double.
All five starters scored in double figures for the 10th time this season (the Pacers are 8-2 when that occurs), and fourth time in the last six games. Conversely, the bench contributed a season-low seven points and was outscored 40-7.
The Pacers shot a season-low 6.7 percent from 3-point range (1-of-15) while the Suns were 8-of-17....a 21-point difference.
Suns guard Goran Dragic finished with a game-high 28 points and seven assists. It was his eighth time in 10 road games with at least 20. Ex-Pacers player Gerald Green had 16, as did Marcus Morris.
Phoenix became the Pacers opponent in the last 10 home games to score more than 92 points (the Pacers had won each of the previous nine contests). It was the first time the Pacers surrendered more than 100 points at home this season.
“We knew it was going to be a mental toughness game. Just didn’t have the pop in the first half, but to our guys’ credit, we grinded it out and climbed almost all the way back. Obviously, [it was] too much of a deficit to overcome with the hole we created for ourselves in the first half.” – Frank Vogel
“We looked fatigued. We tried to run, tried to get early strikes but we weren’t able to do that … and they were. They’re a great running team, we’re a great transition defense team but we weren’t good enough tonight.” – Frank Vogel on get beat in transition
“We didn't wake up ‘til late and by that point it was too late. We can't make no excuses. Every team goes through long stretches on the road. For us, we should have been happy to be back home. There's no excuse. We let one slip.” – Paul George
“They killed us from everywhere in the first half and we had to respond. We came back, but we just didn’t have enough in the tank to push through.” – Roy Hibbert
“We just didn’t compete hard enough against this team. … (The deficit) was too much. We used a lot of energy to get back in it. Our bench group wasn't … we ask too much of them to sit the third quarter and then come in against a group that had been rolling. They were put in an unfortunate situation.” – David West
Stat of the Game
The Pacers yielded 21 fast-break points to the Suns, the top-scoring transition team in the league, and didn’t score one point in transition themselves.
- Having won both games this season against the Pacers, the Suns have now swept the season series for the second time in three years. Phoenix has also won seven of their last nine times in Indy.
- Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker and Goran Dragic both were given technical fouls in the third quarter.
- Roy Hibbert found out before the game that he was voted by the coaches to the All-Star reserve. It is Hibbert's second All-Star selection, making him just the fourth player in franchise history to make multiple All-Star Games.
- IndyCar drivers J.R. Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, and Josef Newgarden sat courtside.