Saturday, March 3 at New Orleans
Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Hornets 84
Technically, this was a road game but the Pacers felt right at home.
New Orleans native Danny Granger scored 20 points while former Hornets David West and Darren Collison combined for 25 as the Pacers routed New Orleans 102-84 Saturday for their sixth consecutive win.
In matching their longest win streak since 2005, the Pacers (23-12) have enjoyed an average victory margin of 17.5 points.
The Pacers blew it open with a 21-4 second-quarter run to take a 17-point halftime lead, then stretched it to 25 in the third quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 7-of-14 overall, 4-of-7 from the 3-point line for his 20 points. In his first game back since leaving the Hornets to sign with the Pacers, West had 14 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 6 of 11 shots. Collison also shot 6 of 11 and had 13 points, four assists and four rebounds. Paul George scored 11 with five steals and three assists, and Roy Hibbert had 10 rebounds. None of the starters played as many as 30 minutes. George Hill scored 10 points with four rebounds and three assists off the bench while Lou Amundson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Former Pacers point guard Jarrett Jack led the Hornets (9-28) with 18 points. Marco Belinelli scored 15 while another former Indiana player, Solomon Jones, may have cemented a place on the roster with 12 points and nine rebounds. Jones is on his second 10-day contract with the Hornets. Chris Kaman and Gustavo Ayon scored 10 apiece for New Orleans.
"Tough situation for New Orleans, obviously, with all the injuries they have, playing their fourth game in five nights they were obviously fatigued and we just took care of our business. Proud of our guys and very happy about the win." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"We've got to understand that you're never as good as you look when you win, you're never as bad as you look when you lose. That's why we didn't really overreact when we were losing five in a row and we're keeping it in perspective having won six in a row." - Vogel
"I think we have exhibited killer instinct over these last few games. When you have a team down, we're not letting up, we're not playing complacent at all, we're looking to step on their throats and it's resulting in big wins." - Vogel
"Our starters recognized that this was a good basketball team, a dangerous basketball team as evidenced by some of the quality wins they've had lately, playing Chicago well up there. We knew it was going to be a challenge. They came out and played a good quarter-and-a-half and our starters took control of the game at that point." - Vogel
"I have my family screaming my name in the stands, so it's always fun to play here. I had to get 50 tickets but I couldn't get tickets for everybody so I don't know how many were here." - Granger
"I think it was great what they did for David in the first quarter (a video tribute). He had a lot of good years here and Darren started his career here so we're all very proud of those two guys." - Granger
"We went through that five-game stretch a couple of weeks ago where we lost a lot and a lot of it had to do with our defense. In practice that was our main focus and I think this is the fourth time in five games where the starters didn't play in the fourth quarter." - Granger
STAT OF THE GAME
Continuing the trend that has marked their win streak, the Pacers outscored the Hornets 54-31 in the second and third periods to take command of the game. In the six-game streak, the Pacers have outscored opponents 333-221 in the second and third periods, an average margin of 18.7 per game.
West made his presence felt right away, scoring eight of the Pacers' first 13 points and nearly posting a double-double in the first half alone (10 points, nine rebounds). The shorthanded Hornets hung tough for 17 minutes as the scored was tied 33-all with 6:50 left in the half but the Pacers kept putting pressure with aggressive defense and up-tempo offense and took control. Indiana closed the half with a 21-4 run to take a 54-37 lead into the locker room. The defense held the Hornets to 2-of-10 shooting while forcing four turnovers in that stretch.
Two late plays were particularly critical. After a Granger jumper, Collison stole the inbounds pass and hit a jumper to make it 51-37. And on the final possession of the half, Collison scooped up the long rebound after a missed free throw by Granger and with time about to expire flipped in a hook shot from the top of the key, sprinting to the locker room after the bonus bucket gave the visitors a 17-point lead.
New Orleans put together one mild threat in the third period, scoring eight in a row to cut the Indiana lead to 70-53 but Vogel took a timeout to re-focus his team and the Pacers closed the period with a 9-1 run to push the advantage to 79-54 entering the fourth quarter.
The Pacers are the fifth team in the East to have a win streak of at least six games, joining Miami (nine), New York (seven) and Chicago and Philadelphia (six each). … The Pacers topped 100 points for the fifth consecutive game. … Indiana improved to 12-1 with at least 20 assists, 21-3 when scoring at least 90 points and 17-1 when leading after three quarters. … Jeff Foster (back) missed his 23rd game of the season. … The Hornets had just nine players in uniform as Trevor Ariza (ill), Carl Landry (knee), Eric Gordon (knee), Emeka Okafor (knee) and Jason Smith (concussion) were out. … This was the fourth time New Orleans has had just nine healthy players, and the Hornets are 2-2 in those games.
The road trip wraps up with a rivalry rematch Monday in Chicago (8 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana). After the Pacers beat the Bulls in United Center 95-90 on Jan. 25, Chicago's Derrick Rose expressed anger at Indiana's postgame celebration. "I'll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game," Rose said. "I can't wait to play them again." Danny Granger scored 22 and Roy Hibbert 20 as the Pacers had all five starters score in double figures.