Pacers at Hornets

Pacers vs. Hornets

C.J. Watson scores 22 points, George Hill adds 11 points and the game-winner as the Pacers defeat the Hornets.

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Pacers vs. Hornets

C.J. Watson scores 22 points, George Hill adds 11 points and the game-winner as the Pacers defeat the Hornets.
Feb 8, 2015  |  00:00

Hill's Game-Winner

George Hill drives and sinks the short baseline jumper for the game-winner against the Hornets.
Feb 8, 2015  |  00:00

HIll's And-one

Solomon Hill muscles his way to the lane, draws the foul and gets the bucket to fall.
Feb 8, 2015  |  00:00

Game Rewind: Pacers 103, Hornets 102

Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 6:00 PM ET at Time Warner Cable Arena
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss






Game Recap

With the game on the line, the Pacers put the ball in the hands of their playmaking point guard, George Hill. The Hometown Hero came through in the clutch, knocking down a turnaround jumper from the right baseline with 5.1 seconds remaining to lift the Pacers (20-32) to a 103-102 road victory over the Charlotte Hornets (22-29).

With the win, Indiana has now won three consecutive games for the first time all season. With the win, they are now just two games back of Miami and two-and-a-half games back of Charlotte for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

"We're just trying to put some good basketball together," Pacers forward David West told FOX Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson after the game. "We still have a belief that we can make this happen. We're a couple spots out, just going to keep fighting every game."

The Pacers won on Sunday in memorable fashion, rallying from a significant second-half deficit.

The Hornets led by as many as 21 points after Brian Roberts' layup capped an 11-0 spurt with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter.

But the Pacers immediately responded, scoring the next 10 points. The Blue & Gold cut the home team's lead to single digits by the end of the period and tied the game at 86 on Luis Scola's layup with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter.

"I think our guys just recognized the moment, the urgency of this game," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "This is a big game against a team that we're chasing and a game that we felt like we had to get."

From there, Gary Neal knocked down a couple of big 3-pointers to put the Hornets back in front. Charlotte led by as many as five points in the final minutes, but the Pacers put together one last run.

C.J. Watson knocked down his fifth triple of the night from the right corner with 57.6 seconds remaining to make it a 99-98 game. Marvin Williams threw away a pass on the ensuing possession, and David West drew a foul and knocked down both free throws to give the Pacers the lead with 32.6 seconds left on the clock.

Gerald Henderson then threw up a wild shot that careened hard off the glass and into the arms of Luis Scola, but the Argentinian only managed to make one of two foul shots.

On the next possession, Williams atoned for his earlier mistake, knocking down a contested 3-pointer with 14.4 seconds left that put the Hornets back in front.

With the game on the line, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel opted to run a pick-and-roll with Hill and West. When Hill's defender left him, he kept the ball and made a savvy move to turn back toward the basket when no one followed him along the baseline.

"There was nobody, so when I peeked over my shoulder to see where D. West was I saw both their guys running back to D. West," Hill said of the play. "I knew when I saw that I could turn around and get to my go-to shot and that’s the floater."

Hill may have played the part of the hero, but the Blue & Gold got huge contributions from a couple of bench players down the stretch on Sunday.

Watson scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 22, knocking down 5-of-8 shots from 3-point range. Scola scored all of his 15 points after halftime and also pulled down 14 rebounds to collect his fifth double-double of the season.

West and Rodney Stuckey each also added 15 points for Indiana.

Hornets center Al Jefferson led all scorers with 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting and also collected 13 rebounds. Roberts added 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Though they're pleased with the result, the Pacers won't have much time to rest on their laurels. They return to Indiana on Sunday night and host the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at 7:00 PM.

Inside the Numbers

Charlotte shot 54 percent in the first half, while the Pacers knocked down just 34 percent of their shots in the first two quarters, allowing the home team to take a 17-point lead at the break. But both team's fortunes changed in the second half, as Indiana shot 53.5 percent and held the Hornets to just 39.5 percent after halftime.

The Pacers finished with 53 bench points and outscored Charlotte's reserves by 21 points. The bulk of the bench scoring came from Watson and Scola, but Solomon Hill added nine points, while Damjan Rudez and Shayne Whittington combined for seven.

Watson's five 3-pointers were a new season high and one shy of his career-best mark, set in Charlotte on Nov. 27, 2013. It is the second time the former Tennessee Volunteer has led the Pacers in scoring this season.

Pacers fans have to be pleased with Stuckey's offensive performance. The combo guard scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and went 3-for-3 from the free throw line. In his three games prior to Sunday, Stuckey had managed a total of just 12 points on 6-of-17 shooting and had failed to get to the charity stripe.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We are trying to turn our season around. We had a lot of struggles early on in the year, and we talked all along that is going to turn for us, and we have to stay with it and keep grinding, and a couple good wins this week will hopefully put us in that direction." -Frank Vogel

"It’s a big confidence booster for us. It’s been a struggle for us all year long to put three together. It’s great, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t come out and take care of business on our home floor tomorrow. We got to enjoy tonight, get our rest and prepare for a great San Antonio team." -George Hill

"That one play didn’t lose the game. We had a bad third quarter and we gave up a lot of points and we got away from what we were doing to get the lead and they made runs. It was the simple things like not getting back on defense and that was the reason they even had a chance at the end of the game." -Al Jefferson

Stat of the Game

The Pacers finally have a true winning streak. Indiana has now won three straight games in the regular season for the first time all season and the first time since they won four consecutive games from March 11-17, 2014.

Noteworthy

  • With the win, Indiana now leads the overall series with the Hornets 59-36 and is now 21-26 in Charlotte.
  • Charlotte still has not won two home games over the Pacers in the same season since the 2007-08 campaign.
  • Indiana improves to 3-10 on the season when playing the first night of a back-to-back.

Up Next

The Pacers host Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, Feb. 9 at 7:00 PM. Find Tickets »

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