Tuesday, April 17 at Philadelphia
Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Sixers 97
Not all big plays are baskets. Some make them possible.
David West came up with four huge plays down the stretch Tuesday, powering the Pacers to a 102-97 victory over the 76ers in Philadelphia as Indiana matched its longest winning streak of the season at six.
With the Pacers clinging to an 88-85 lead, West powered his way into the lane for a bucket. On the next possession, he chased down an errant pass and shoved it inside to Roy Hibbert, who turned into a three-point play. After a defensive stop, West faked his defender into the air, drove into the lane to collapse the defense and kicked out to a wide-open Paul George for a 3-pointer that put the Pacers up 96-87 with 1:37 remaining.
For good measure, West added another bucket, making a sharp cut to the hoop on an inbounds play, to make it 98-92 with 59 seconds remaining.
The Pacers improved to 40-22 overall and finished their road schedule at 19-14, winning their final five -- the longest road streak since 2003-04. They're also 10-1 in April, the best mark in the NBA, and reduced the magic number for clinching homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs to two.
Philadelphia lost its third in a row and seventh in nine games and fell to 31-30.
BY THE NUMBERS
Danny Granger scored 24 to lead the Pacers, adding six rebounds and three assists. He extended his streak fo 13 consecutive games with at least 18 points. Hibbert had his fifth consecutive double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. West scored 13 and George Hill had 12 points, seven assists and four rebounds. The Pacers shot just 42 percent but had 21 assists against 10 turnovers.
Andre Iguodala led Philadelphia with 23 points, adding seven rebounds and six assists. Thaddeus Young scored 19, including his first 3-pointer of the season and Lou Williams scored 18. Spencer Hawes scored 12 with eight rebounds off the bench and Elton Brand had 11 points and eight rebounds. The Sixers shot 45 percent.
"Very happy to come out on top in a heck of a basketball game. The 76ers played terrific. Both of us coming in on the second night of back-to-backs both teams I thought were fatigued but just flat-out battled like it was a playoff game. Give the Sixers credit, they played a terrific ballgame, Coach (Doug) Collins put in some really good stuff. Sometimes it just comes down to guys making shots. It didn't seem like we could buy a bucket in the second half but Danny Granger and Paul George hit some big threes down the stretch and sometimes that's just the difference." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"There's always criticism for a team's best player and Danny Granger gets a lot of criticism for what he's not. But what he is, he's a big shot-maker and when we needed points, the ball swung to him and he made some big shots and turned the game around for us." - Vogel
"We've got five guys that can be go-to guys. When ball movement is your best friend and you invite double-teams, whether it's out of the pick-and-roll or out of the post, you have a mindset of drawing to the ball and then moving it, knowing you have four other options on the court that can put it in the basket, it's a pretty dangerous combination." - Vogel
"We just peservered, really. That third quarter they kind of jumped on us, took the lead. We tied it up going into the fourth andwe just persevered. They're a really good team and we're lucky to get out of here with a win." - Granger
"I think the team thrives off me. When I get it going we get it going as a team so I've been trying to make a more concerted effort to get going early." - Granger
"I think it's going in every time, so I don't even care how I get it. When I shoot it, I think it's going in every time." - Granger on his 3-point shooting
STAT OF THE GAME
While this was the Pacers' final road game of the year -- they finish with four in a row at home -- it was the Sixers' final home game. Philadelphia plays its final five on the road.
Tyler Hansbrough gave the Pacers a huge lift early in the fourth quarter, propelling them back into the lead by scoring their first seven points and then spiking a Lou Williams floater to start a fast break that resulted in a pair of free throws for Dahntay Jones that put the Pacers in front 79-76. Granger then hit consecutive 3-pointers to complete the 10-0 run and extend the lead to 85-77 with 6:50 remaining.
Hibbert's putback on the first possession of the third quarter gave the Pacers their biggest lead, 49-42, but it would be short-lived. Indiana missed seven in a row and Philadelphia converted six of the misses into transitions scores in an 11-0 run that gave the home team a 53-49 lead. The Pacers trailed into the closing seconds of the period until Jones hit a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal and fed Leandro Barbosa for a layup that tied it at 70-all heading into the fourth quarter.
The first half was close throughout with seven ties and four lead changes as the Pacers took a 47-42 lead into the locker room. Almost all of the Philadelphia production came from Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand and Lou Williams, who combined for 38 points and 14-of-24 shooting. The rest of the Sixers, however managed to combine for just four points on 2-of-15 shooting.
The Pacers finished with more road wins (19) in a 66-game schedule than in any of their previous six 82-game seasons. ... This wrapped up Indiana's final back-to-back set of the season. They finished 12-9 on the first night, 11-10 on the second night. ... Hibbert's double-double streak of five is his longest of the season. He has 21 overall. ... Indiana was outscored from the free-throw line for the first time this month. ... The Pacers extended their streak to nine consecutive games holding opponents to less than 100 points, and six in a row scoring at least 100. ... Darren Collison sat out for the fifth time in six games with a sore groin. Collison missed four straight, then came back to play 19 minutes off the bench Monday against Minnesota but reported discomfort and the decision was made to give him at least one more game of rest before giving it a try again Thursday against Milwaukee.
The Pacers return home for the final four games of the regular season beginning Thursday against Milwaukee in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Pacers just beat the Bucks 105-99 Saturday in Milwaukee a contentious game that featured four technicals and one flagrant foul.