Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Jazz 91
Scott Agness | March 2, 2014
Facing a team with a losing record for the seventh straight game, the Pacers knew they’d have some elements to overcome with the Utah Jazz in town. First, the Pacers didn’t land in Indy after a game in Boston until nearly 3 a.m. this morning. On top of that, they’ve become a team others are motivated to play against in hopes of stealing a win.
With 3.2 seconds remaining, after two made free throws from Lance Stephenson to put the Pacers ahead by three, the Jazz got the ball to Gordon Hayward. He took a couple dribbles, then got off a great look from 26-feet on the right side but it didn’t drop.
Indiana (46-13) survived, 94-91, capturing their fifth straight win Sunday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jazz (21-38) center Derrick Favors got in a groove early, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the opening period. With Roy Hibbert in foul trouble much of the game — he was on the floor for 19 minutes — Ian Mahinmi admirably stepped up. Mahinmi, who’s play has been elevated over the last month, was 3-for-4 with nine points, along seven rebounds and three blocks.
Trailing by one at the break, two triples from guard C.J. Watson — who started for the second straight night in place of the injured George Hill — helped the Pacers go in front by five, part of an 18-5 run as the Jazz misfired on their first seven shots in the third quarter. It wasn’t until the 4:33 mark of the third quarter that the Pacers went ahead for good, when Mahinmi rebounded a missed shot, laid it in and was fouled. David West, the backbone of the team, pushed the team went they needed it. He had 10 in the quarter and the Pacers headed to the fourth with a five-point cushion.
Indiana’s lead grew to eight, but no more, which was enough to give the Jazz hope late. Hayward buried a jumper with 7.3 seconds to play, making it a two-point game. Then, after Evan Turner sank two fouls shots, Hayward answered with a long 3-pointer. Once Stephenson added two points at the free throw line, the Jazz got the ball back into Hayward’s hand but once again, he couldn’t get a long-ball to fall in Indy at the buzzer.
Though they won’t hold a formal practice on Monday, most of the players will be in and a handful will be observed for injuries. Paul George (tailbone) and Mahinmi (left hip pointer) both sustained injuries in Sunday’s win, and they didn’t have Hill, their starting point guard, for the second night in a row.
Inside the Numbers
David West was 11-of-17 and scored a game-high 25 points, his 10th game this season with at least 20 points. Paul George tallied 22 points, nine of which were scored at the free throw line.
C.J. Watson contributed 13 points, his 11th game this season in double figures, along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals while playing a season-high 33 minutes. The Pacers are 5-0 with him in the starting lineup.
The Jazz had five players with 11 points or more. Gordon Hayward was limited to 12 points in their earlier meeting but closed with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Rookie Trey Burke had 16 and Alec Burks added 11.
With no days rest between games, the Pacers limited their turnover count to 10, while forcing the Jazz to cough it over the same number of times.
The Pacers now have five winning streaks of at least five games this season, the most since the 2003-04 season.
The Pacers move to 2-2 this season in games decided by three points or less.
“I’m really, really proud of my guys for pulling out a win in a difficult circumstance. … Our guys showed a lot of mental toughness and then overcame a lot of in-game adversity.” – Frank Vogel
“He’s a great security blanket for me. When we’re struggling to get a bucket, I know typically I can just get the ball in his hands and he’s either going to make a big shot or find somebody. It’s a heck of a luxury to have as a coach.” – Frank Vogel on David West
“He’s our backbone. Every time we struggle, he’s there to lift us. We got to continue to be there for him, the same way he’s there for us.” – Paul George on David West
“It’s just a part of the NBA. These younger teams are coming in full of energy … and we’re getting challenged, but it’s good for us. And as long as we continue to just practice our habits, trying to get better defensively, trying to improve offensively, and tie the new guys in with all of that and we’re getting wins, we’re in good shape.” – David West on weaker teams playing tough
“We had a slow starts in almost all the back-to-back games we’ve had so far this year so the challenge was on us to be mentally tough and prepared. Coach (Vogel) before the game said it was going to be a grind and it was going to be a tough game tonight so from the start, we really played hard and we stuck together.” – Ian Mahinmi
Stat of the Game
The Pacers stepped to the foul line 28 times and converted on 21 of them, including 7-of-9 in the final 12 minutes.
- The Pacers improve to 9-3 against the Jazz in Indy dating back to the 2002-03 season.
- For the second straight night, George Hill was held out due to a bruised left shoulder. He tested it about 90 minutes before the game but didn’t feel quite right, particularly with his passing. Shooting was previously a struggle but no longer.
- Lance Stephenson was called for his 11th technical foul of the season.
- Professional skier and Lawrenceburg, Indiana native Nick Goepper was in attendance. Nick most recently won a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
- During a timeout of the Pacers-Jazz game, G2 Zone member Aaron Rector and his brother, Brandon, took part in the Simon Mall Shootout. When the game was over, their brother, Justin, a military veteran who had just arrived home from being stationed in Afghanistan, surprised them by joining them on the court. (Mobile users: Click here to watch video)
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