Game Rewind: Pacers 96, Pelicans 84

December 25, 2014 Posted by admin

Game Recap

After a three-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers returned home for the holidays. So it was rather fitting that the Blue-and-Gold got a big lift from their “Hometown Hero” in their final game before Christmas.

Indianapolis native George Hill scored 15 points in his regular season debut to lead Indiana (10-19) to a 96-84 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans (14-14) on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Coming off the bench in limited minutes, the former Broad Ripple and IUPUI standout played a total of 21:15, receiving one extended shift in each half and re-entering the game in crunch time. Hill was 5-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range. The Pacers point guard also tallied four rebounds and three assists.

“It was just making a play when you can make a play,” Hill said. “I wasn’t worried about how many points I was scoring, or how many rebounds or assists. I just tried to focus on playing each play hard and try to win the game.”

Hill’s minutes were limited out of concerns for his conditioning. Though he appeared rather winded during one timeout in the fourth quarter and said postgame he still feels “out of shape,” Hill showed no signs of fatigue during live action, displaying what teammate David West described as “world-class speed.”

“He looked great out there,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. “He made a lot of heady offensive plays. He just played a great basketball game at both ends.”

The Blue-and-Gold led by four points at halftime and the Pelicans trimmed the deficit to just one on Tyreke Evans’ fastbreak jumper with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter. But the Pacers responded by scoring on their next six straight possessions, reeling off a 13-2 run that pushed the lead to double digits for the first time.

The Pelicans hung around for most of the rest of the night, cutting Indiana’s lead to five on Jrue Holiday’s bucket with 3:15 to play, but never trimmed the deficit to a single possession. The Pacers closed the game with a 9-2 run.

Hill may have been Tuesday’s headliner, but the Pacers also boasted a deep supporting cast. Five other players scored in double figures for the Blue-and-Gold and three more combined to add an additional 20 points.

After shooting a season-high 50 percent in Sunday’s win in Minnesota, the Blue-and-Gold just as good offensively on Tuesday. They again shot 50 percent from the field and only committed nine turnovers.

“We’re trying to take care of the basketball and improve our system offense,” West said. “Move the ball, screening, getting guys involved, and putting passes on time, on target.”

Solomon Hill had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. C.J. Miles finished with 11 points, while C.J. Watson added 10. West stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. And Roy Hibbert turned in a strong performance on both ends, scoring 14 points and blocking seven shots to match his season high (all of his rejections came in the first half).

Defensively, the Pacers did an admirable job on Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, the NBA’s third-leading scorer. The 21-year-old phenom managed a game-high 21 points, but needed 18 shots to do so.

“We just played with a lot of effort,” Miles said of the team’s defensive performance. “We helped each other out on that end. Guys covered for each other. Big Dawg (Hibbert) was great protecting the rim and everybody else just tried to scrap and contest all their shots.”

Holiday added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists for New Orleans. Evans recorded his fifth double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 11 boards.

The Pacers now have two days off before heading to Detroit on Friday.

Inside the Numbers

With the win, the Pacers have now won back-to-back games for just the third time this season. They last accomplished that feat Nov. 15-19, when they won at Chicago and then at home against Charlotte.

The Pacers forced the Pelicans into 16 turnovers (one shy of their season high) and converted those 16 giveaways into 18 turnovers. New Orleans entered Tuesday’s contest averaging just 12.1 turnovers per game, the third-best average in the NBA.

Six of the nine Pacers players who saw the floor on Tuesday scored in double figures, but the other three also had solid performances. Rodney Stuckey finished with six points, five rebounds, and four assists. Lavoy Allen had eight points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds. Luis Scola contributed six points and three boards.

Indiana won despite being outrebounded, 46-38. The Blue-and-Gold had a season-low three offensive boards. The Pacers are now 2-10 on the season when losing the battle of the boards.

You Can Quote Me On That

“Roy Hibbert has really stepped up the last couple of games. He was a major, major presence at the defensive end in both games.” -Vogel

“I think our defense. I think we stopped them from scoring in the paint. They’re one of the best teams in the league in scoring in the paint, so it was a tough task to do, guarding their pick and roll. I think our defense sustained our lead.” -Hill on the key to the Pacers’ victory

“We’re getting healthy, we’re playing together and we’re just playing with a little edge. I think the chemistry is getting there. These guys know how to play together, we’ve all been playing basketball for a long time, so it’s just getting the practice time in and getting healthy.” -C.J. Watson

“I thought we responded the right way. We had a good shootaround this morning and we were really locked in. We just came out with the right fight. They’re young and they’ve got a bunch of different weapons at different positions. But I thought we kept them on their heels and off balance most of the game.” -West

“We knew coming in they were a physical team and that they were going to push us around. But we didn’t make shots. We have to learn how to be more physical, be consistent.” -Davis

“We had careless turnovers. That stuff happens, but what I didn’t like is we didn’t respond to the physicality.” -Pelicans coach Monty Williams

Stat of the Game

Vogel had said his biggest concern offensively was that the ball kept moving. The Pacers’ ball movement was excellent on Tuesday, as they dished out 24 assists on the night. Five players recorded at least three assists. The Blue-and-Gold have now recorded 20 or more assists in seven of their last nine games.

Noteworthy

  • With the win, the Pacers are now 18-11 overall against New Orleans. They have won five straight games against the Pelicans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • Hibbert left the game early in the third quarter with a bruised light knee, but returned in the fourth quarter.
  • Pacers forward Damjan Rudez was not at Tuesday’s game as he deals with an upper respiratory infection. Miles is dealing with similar symptoms, but was able to play through it.
  • Indianapolis native Eric Gordon did not dress for the Pelicans. The former North Central and IU standout is sidelined with a left shoulder subluxation.

Up Next

The Pacers have Christmas Eve and Day both off, but will head to Detroit on Dec. 26 for their first meeting this season with the Pistons.

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Tickets

Good seats still remain for Tuesday’s game against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. Plus, pay zero fees for any tickets purchased online through December 31, courtesy of FOX Sports Indiana. Find Tickets –>
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Article source: http://www.nba.com/pacers/rewind-pacers-pelicans-141223

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