Game Rewind: Pacers 112, 76ers 85
Paul George and the Pacers made it look easy on Wednesday night. George scored 21 of his 34 points in the third quarter as Indiana (7-5) rolled to a 112-85 road win over the hapless Philadelphia 76ers (0-12).
The Sixers, the NBA’s lone remaining winless team, remained competitive in the early going, as the game featured two ties and seven lead changes over the first quarter and a half. Philadelphia trailed just 33-31 with 5:40 to play in the second quarter, but Indiana reeled off a 12-2 run to open up a double-digit lead.
The Blue & Gold put the game away shortly after halftime. George knocked down a 3-pointer on the first possession of the third quarter, a play that was a harbinger of things to come.
Indiana opened the second half with a 15-2 run, with George scoring 11 points and knocking down three 3-pointers over the first 4:31.
“I thought we did a great job taking it to them to start the half,” George said after the win. “We kind of got it going early and the momentum took it from there.”
The two-time All-Star scored 10 more points before the quarter was through, allowing head coach Frank Vogel to rest his starters for most of the fourth quarter.
Even still, the Pacers’ reserves kept adding to the lead, stretching the margin to as many as 33 points at one point.
Indiana did all of this even without starting point guard George Hill, sitting out his second straight game with an upper respiratory infection, and sixth man Rodney Stuckey, missing his fourth consecutive game with a sprained ankle.
In their absence, George more than picked up the slack, finishing with 34 points (two shy of his season high) in just under 32 minutes to go along with eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Those steals were indicative of a dominant team defensive performance, as the Pacers forced Philadelphia into an astounding 31 turnovers. The Sixers came into Wednesday’s contest leading the NBA in giveaways and they had dug themselves an even deeper hole in that statistical category by the time this contest was over.
C.J. Miles played the Robin to George’s Batman, recording 20 points while knocking down 4-of-7 attempts from 3-point range. Chase Budinger added a season-high 15 points and six rebounds off the bench for Indiana, while fellow reserve Jordan Hill chipped in 10 points and seven boards.
Rookie point guard T.J. McConnell led Philadelphia with 16 points and six rebounds. Fellow rookie Jahlil Okafor added 14 points and six boards in the loss.
The Pacers now return home to Indianapolis, where they will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 PM ET.
Inside the Numbers
George has now scored 26 or more points in eight straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Billy Knight accomplished the feat in 10 consecutive contests from Jan. 5 – Jan. 26, 1977.
The Pacers shot a season-best 44.4 percent from 3-point range and matched their season high for 3-pointers made, going 12-for-27 from beyond the arc.
Indiana outrebounded Philadelphia 48-43, improving to 5-1 on the year when winning the battle of the boards.
Monta Ellis, moving over to point guard with George Hill sidelined, had a season-high nine assists in the victory.
The Pacers finished the night with 42 bench points, one shy of their season high, set on Nov. 3 at Detroit.
Stat of the Game
Philadelphia’s 31-turnover “performance” was just the second time since the turn of the century that a team committed that many turnovers. Golden State was the last team to earn that ignominy, coughing up the ball 31 times in a loss in Sacramento on Nov. 8, 2000.
Moreover, the last time the Pacers forced an opponent into that many turnovers was all the way back on Dec. 10, 1985, when they got the Knicks to cough up the ball 32 times. The Pacers had 25 turnovers of their own, however, and lost that contest, 82-64.
- The Pacers have now won seven of their last games against the 76ers and three of their last four in Philadelphia.
- Indiana is now 5-0 on the year when Jordan Hill scores in double figures.
- With four steals on Wednesday night, Paul George now has 488 for his career, tying him with Travis Best for 10th-most in franchise history.
by Wheat Hotchkiss