With 2.1 seconds on the clock and down by two, the Pacers tried to inbound the ball with the hopes of having a Hoosiers-esque ending on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. But the pass was tipped and rolled out of bounds, sending the Pacers to a 91-89 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
With under 2:00 remaining, George Hill drained a 3-pointer to bring the Pacers within one offensive possession of the Clippers, sending the Hickory-themed crowd into a frenzy.
On the other end, Chris Paul brought the ball up court and weaved his way through the defense before finding Jamal Crawford, who was able to draw a foul and push the Clippers' lead to four.
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The Pacers were unable to respond to the bucket after a frantic possession with a tipped ball that rolled past half court and drained Indiana of its shot clock on the play.
The Clippers then iced the game with a Paul jumper from the top of the elbow, sending the Pacers to their third consecutive loss.
"There was improvement on the defensive end and that's the path back to winning games," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "But we have to guard the 3-point line better."
Indiana did threaten in a big way when they had control of the ball down two with 2.1 seconds on the clock, but the tip by the Clippers defense averted the late-game threat.
Tuesday's Hickory Honoree: George Daniel Crowe, the Original Mr. Basketball »
Moments earlier, when the Clippers led by just three, L.A. turned Paul, who racked up 11 fourth-quarter points. Paul delivered a layup off the glass to push his team's advantage to five. On his next offensive possession, he a hit a step-back 3-pointer to push their lead to six. A lead the Pacers would scrape at, but never quite surpass in the game's waning moments.
With 3:00 remaining in the third quarter, Paul George sank a free throw to put the Pacers up 72-68.
From that point onward, the Pacers were held scoreless for 8:30 of game time, falling behind 81-72 as a result of Paul and the swarming Clippers defense.
"We had a lot of plays that we wish we could have taken back," lamented George after the game. "Just poor execution, poor spacing. We just did a terrible job in that stretch. It kind of put us behind. Although we did a great job of giving ourselves a chance to come back and win this game, you can't have moments like that, especially against a team that's hot."
With 6:30 remaining in the game, George hit a jumper to snap the scoreless spell, then followed up with a 3-pointer that ignited the crowd at The Fieldhouse.
PG ended up scoring seven consecutive Pacers points, bringing Indiana back to within three points of the lead. That lead would get as close as two — the game's final margin — but the Pacers were unable to burst out in front, despite taking a five-point lead into the second half.
Over the first two quarters, rookie Myles Turner was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field for 16 points, helping propel the Pacers to their halftime advantage. The teams were knotted up at 25 after one quarter of play, but Turner and George combined for 12 points in the second quarter to push Indiana into the lead at the break.
The third quarter, however, favored the Clippers, as Los Angeles outscored Indiana 28-21 coming out of the locker room after the half.
As the fourth and final quarter began, the Pacers trailed L.A. 74-72, and the Clippers — although feeling pressure from the Pacers at the end — never relinquished their lead, sending Indiana to the home loss.
"It's kind of tough, especially here," explained Ian Mahinmi at his locker. "We don't like to lose and right now it's a lot of mixed feelings. We're not in the right place. We gotta go home, try to get some sleep, and regroup tomorrow."
Inside the Numbers
Paul George has now scored 30 or more points in two consecutive games.
Myles Turner was a perfect 7-for-7 in the first half, but went 0-for-4 in the second half.
Although Lavoy Allen's box score doesn't jump off the page (1-of-4 for 2 points in 27 minutes), Allen's plus-minus was a team-high +10.
The Pacers shot a higher percentage, had more rebounds, and more assists than the Clippers.
You Can Quote Me On That
"We're going to increase (Myles Turners') work load for sure. I'd like to take a look at some point, he and Ian (Mahinmi) together. I think it could be effective for us. Their bench at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth brought great pressure. The game got away from us a bit there." -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
"We had a lot of plays that we wish we could have taken back, just poor execution, poor spacing. We just did a terrible job in that stretch. It kind of put us behind. Although we did a great job of giving ourselves a chance to come back and win this game, you can't have moments like that, especially against a team that's hot." -Paul George
"It's kind of tough, especially here. We don't like to lose and right now it's a lot of mixed feelings. We're not in the right place. We gotta go home, try to get some sleep, and regroup tomorrow." -Ian Mahinmi
Stat of the Night
The Pacers are normally one of the best teams in the league when holding teams under 100 points. So far this season, when their opponent scores fewer than 100 points, the Pacers sport a 20-3 record. But despite limiting the Clippers to 91 points — and just 17 in the fourth — the Pacers fell to Chris Paul and company on Tuesday night.
- C.J. Miles was able to hit a couple of shots inside the arc tonight, but still struggled from long range, finishing the night 0-for-2 from deep
- Myles Turner has scored in double-figures in six straight games
- Both Paul George and Ian Mahinmi finished the night with double-doubles
- The Clippers lit it up from deep, connecting on 15 of their 37 3-point attempts
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Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special
Hickory Long Sleeve Tee - $15. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The special is also available online at PacersGear.com until midnight.