Friday, March 23 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Suns 113, Pacers 111
By Conrad Brunner
You know how they say youth is wasted on the young? Nothing is wasted on Steve Nash and Grant Hill. The two oldest players on the court proved too much for the Pacers.
Nash, 38, had 12 points and 17 assists while Hill, 39, scored 22 as Phoenix beat Indiana 113-111 Friday before 14,786 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Danny Granger scored 28 for the Pacers, including a 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds left that cut the deficit to 111-108 in the closing seconds. After Channing Frye missed two free throws, the Pacers had a chance to send the game to overtime with a 3-pointer but didn't get the chance. Jared Dudley fouled Granger on the floor and the two free throws left the Pacers behind by one with 11.8 seconds remaining.
After Nash made it a three-point game with a pair of free throws, the Suns again fouled quickly, leaving George with two shots. He made the first and intentionally missed the second, then chased down the offensive rebound but his quick flip to the hoop was short and time expired.
Indiana fell to 27-19, 14-7 at home and had a two-game win streak snapped. Phoenix (24-24) snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 10-4 since the All-Star break, the second-best mark in the league.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger hit 9-of-13 shots, including all four of his 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers. Roy Hibbert had 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, hitting 7 of 12 shots. George scored 15 while Tyler Hansbrough had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. The Pacers lost despite shooting .519 from the field.
Marcin Gortat scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Phoenix, adding eight rebounds. Hill shot 9-of-16. Nash scored all of his points in the second half. Frye scored 11 and Dudley and Hakim Warrick 10 each for Phoenix, which shot 49 percent.
The Pacers appeared to take momentum into the locker room, scoring the final nine points of the half to build the biggest lead by either team, 61-54. But Nash was brilliant in the third quarter as Phoenix surged into the lead. Nash had a hand in 10 of the Suns' 15 buckets in the period, scoring three and assisting on seven others as the Suns closed the period on an 18-7 run to take an 86-79 lead into the fourth quarter.
With Leandro Barbosa and Tyler Hansbrough combining for the team's first 11 points of the quarter, the Pacers began chipping into the lead, which was cut to 101-99 on a Granger 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining and 104-103 on a pair of free throws by Hibbert at 1:10. But Nash then stepped in, threading a bounce-pass through the lane to a cutting Gortat for a layup and, after a missed 3-pointer by George, hitting Channing Frye for a 3-pointer that made it 109-103 with 28 seconds left.
Indiana Coach Frank Vogel picked up two technical fouls, the second leading to his ejection with 1:56 left in the game. … Dahntay Jones picked up his fourth technical foul of the season protesting a call in the second quarter. Phoenix guard Steve Nash also picked up a second-quarter tech. … Kyrylo Fesenko, the 7-1, 280-pound center from Ukraine signed just prior to the game, was not in uniform. He is not expected to play Saturday in Milwaukee. Coach Frank Vogel said before the game he did not expect Fesenko to supplant anyone currently in the rotation but that he would provide depth and a matchup option against bigger, stronger centers. … Fesenko fill the roster void created by Jeff Foster's retirement earlier this week. … The "G2 Zone," a fan section sponsored by George Hill and Paul George in section 120 of the club level of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, was unveiled. … The Oak Ridge Boys of country music fame sang the national anthem.
Two teams wrapping up back-to-back-to-back sets will meet Saturday in Milwaukee as the Pacers face the revamped Bucks (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Bucks recently acquired high-scoring guard Monta Ellis from Golden State, sending Andrew Bogut to the Warriors. Prior to facing Charlotte Friday night, the Bucks had won six of seven to climb into the race for the eighth playoff spot in the East.