The Pacers owned the offensive glass en route to their second victory in as many days, a 100-98 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana (2-3) collected 21 offensive rebounds in the victory, their highest total in that department since Feb. 25, 2014 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both Paul George (26 points and 10 rebounds) and Jordan Hill (16 points and 10 boards) recorded double-doubles in the victory. Monta Ellis added 13 points, five boards, and eight assists and knocked down the winning free throws in the final minute.
"Obviously we struggled, coming out of the gates 0-3," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said after the game. "You get into situations where you just need to find a way to win. You need to have a sense of urgency and a heightened focus and I thought the guys had that the last two games."
The Pacers led for the majority of Wednesday's contest, but Boston (1-3) surged in front with 8:57 remaining on Isaiah Thomas' 3-pointer. Evan Turner buried a triple 1:05 later that stretched the Celtics' margin to four.
But the Blue & Gold clawed back, moving back in front on Rodney Stuckey's trey with 7:09 to play. Hill, George, and Ellis took turns knocking down jumper after jumper to keep Boston at bay, but the visitors eventually tied the game at 98 with 1:05 to play after Avery Bradley rattled off five consecutive points.
Out of a timeout, the Pacers ran a high pick-and-roll with Ellis and George. Ellis kept the ball going to his right and drew a foul on Bradley, then calmly knocked down both free throws to give the Pacers a two-point lead with 13.7 seconds to play.
"We drew a play up that (Paul George) was going to fake the screen and slip out," Ellis said of the play. "He (Avery Bradley) was just coming full steam and got in a bad position."
George harrassed Bradley on the other end, causing his 3-pointer to come up short and Lavoy Allen secured the rebound to seal the victory.
"I just knew it was either going to go to (Isaiah Thomas) or Bradley," George said. "I was able to get a back tip. George (Hill) did a great job of contesting as well, and we made it a tough shot for him."
Allen finished the night with seven points and 11 rebounds, six of them coming on the offensive glass. George Hill had 10 points and four assists while Glenn Robinson III had 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting in his first regular season action as a member of the Pacers.
Both teams were without at least one starter on Wednesday night. The Pacers did not dress starting center Ian Mahinmi, sidelined by a sore lower back, or starting small forward C.J. Miles, who was in street clothes due to a sore right ankle. Boston, meanwhile, did not have starting point guard Marcus Smart, out with a sprained toe.
The Celtics' backcourt excelled despite Smart's absence, as Thomas and Bradley combined for 48 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. Thomas finished with 27 while Bradley added 21 and the duo knocked down 7-of-15 attempts from 3-point range, though that last miss was the difference between victory and defeat.
The Pacers return to the floor on Friday, when they will host the Miami Heat at The Fieldhouse for a special 8:00 PM tip. That game will mark the first time this year that Indiana will wear its special "Hickory" jerseys inspired by the movie Hoosiers.
Inside the Numbers
George finally got his outside shot going in Wednesday's win. After making just 4-of-20 attempts from long range over the first four games, PG went 5-for-11 from deep against the Celtics.
The Pacers finished the night 22-for-29 from the free throw line, but were considerably better down the stretch, making 9-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and 11-of-12 after halftime.
Indiana forced Boston into 19 turnovers on the night, leading to 22 points on the other end.
Jae Crowder had 12 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, while former Pacers guard Evan Turner added 11 points, four boards, and four assists off the bench.
Celtics rookie R.J. Hunter, a former Pike High school star, made his NBA debut in front of his hometown fans. The 28th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft finished with two points in 12:41.
You Can Quote Me On That
"What I love about both (Jordan and Lavoy Allen) is they have the versatility to play the four and five. They can both shoot the mid-range jump shot, both great rebounders, both good defenders." -Vogel
"We found a way to get stops when it really mattered. All the guys out there deserve credit for fighting hard when things weren't going well, weren't making shots, weren’t defending well. Like I told the guys before, we've got to get back to winning those ugly games." -George Hill
"We’ve just got to keep building. It's just playing for one another, that's the biggest thing. Some nights we're going to have different lineups. We're going to play big, we're going to play small. I think it's just having 15 guys that are locked in and being ready when their name is called." -Ellis
"It's good to get back. I've been out with my shoulder a little bit. Getting in practice the last couple days, guys have helped me get back in the flow. It felt good to go out there and get a win. I was just trying to make an impact, especially defensively." -Robinson
"Paul George is a star. Monta Ellis is a late game scorer. It's what you know. You know that going in. They're well coached...I thought that they gave us fits, regardless. Big or small they killed us on the glass." -Celtics head coach Brad Stevens
"It's definitely special coming home, there’s nothing like being home, but it’s still tough to lose." -Hunter
Stat of the Game
Wednesday's win was the first time this season that the Pacers outrebounded their opponents. Indiana's 21 offensive boards led to a 24-11 advantage in second chance points.
- Stuckey's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter was his first make from long range this season in five attempts. The veteran scorer shot a career-best 39 percent from 3-point range last season.
- Jordan Hill's double-double was his first in a Pacers uniform, while Paul George accomplished the feat for the second time in five games this season.
- Robinson's 10 points matched his career high. He also scored 10 last season with the 76ers on both April 11 at Chicago and April 15 vs Miami.
The Pacers host Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in a nationally televised contest on Friday, Nov. 6 at 8:00 PM. Find Tickets »