Game Rewind: Pacers 106, Kings 108
Trailing by two with 4.4 seconds remaining, the Pacers — sporting their Hickory jerseys — called timeout to draw up the game’s final play.
The Pacers got the look they wanted with Paul George open at the elbow, but the shot went in-and-out as time expired, sending the Pacers to their third consecutive loss, this time a 108-106 roller coaster of a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana fell behind the Kings early in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, and didn’t regain the lead until a 3-pointer from Monta Ellis put Indiana up 106-104 with less than 2:00 remaining in the game.
But the Kings quickly countered with an 18-foot jumper from scorer Rudy Gay, to knot things up at 106.
With the game tied and just 1:00 left, DeMarcus Cousins was fouled by Ian Mahinmi, sending the former Kentucky big man to the line with the game at stake. Cousins sank both, to put the Kings up 108-106. It was a place on the floor where Cousins did a ton of damage on the night, hitting 9-of-10 free throws, including converting on four and-one opportunities. The final two free throws to put the Kings in front turned out to be the game’s final points, closing the door on the Pacers’ comeback bid.
“It’s tough when you feel there is a bunch of things controllable that made the hole. Not executing well, not defending well, allowing them to get out in transition,” said C.J. Miles, who scored 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
With 3:44 remaining in the game and trailing by four, George (12 points, 10 rebounds) reached into the lane of a Kings pass and caused a deflection. The ball was headed towards the scorer’s table as Kings forward Rudy Gay and George raced for the loose ball. PG, able to reach around the sprinting Gay, poked the ball off of Gay’s leg, and the referees signaled Indiana ball, sending the Hickory-clad crowd into a frenzy.
From there, C.J. Miles sank a 3-pointer to bring Indiana within one point of the lead in a game that the Pacers had trailed in for the entire second half. Despite the team falling behind in the first half, the Pacers came back with force, and brought the crowd with them throughout the final minutes for the exciting finish at the Fieldhouse.
In the first half, the Pacers struggled to contain the painted area as the Kings outscored Indiana 44-20 in the post over the first two quarters. Led by a huge 18-point, 12-rebound performance by DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento staked a 15-point halftime lead, beating Indiana 64-49 as the teams went into the locker room.
“(They are) a fast-breaking team and we didn’t get back in transition,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said after the game. “We didn’t do a good enough job defending.”
But whatever Coach Vogel said in the locker room, it seemed to have a profound impact, because Indiana opened the second half on a blistering 21-6 run. Even when it seemed things weren’t going their way, like when George mishandled a dunk attempt leading to a loose ball, all was well for Indiana as Monta Ellis (21 points) calmly collected the ball and put it up and in to cap the 21-6 run, forcing a Kings timeout. As a whole, Indiana outscored the Kings 33-20 in the third.
But unfortunately for the Pacers, despite their furious comeback, it was the little things that came back to haunt them in the final moments, including missing three out of four of their final free throw attempts
Inside the Numbers
The Kings outscored the Pacers 64-44 in the paint and outrebounded Indiana 49-38
The Kings shot just 4-of-23 (17.6 percent) from beyond the arc, but hit 51.7 percent of their shots overall
Jordan Hill had yet another strong game off the bench, shooting 7-of-9 from the field for 14 points and five rebounds.
Rajon Rondo nearly had a triple-double by halftime, racking up 11 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor.
What They’re Saying
“There’s going to be nights when you don’t get calls you think you’re supposed to get. We’ve got to figure out a way to bottle that energy into something else, into energy on the defensive end to help us get into the game or light everybody up.” -C.J. Miles
“We just couldn’t get the win; but we’ve got to stay in it and keep playing. We know what we did wrong tonight, we know what we need to change. We actually changed it in the second half; but we’ve got to jump on them in the first half. Tonight was a tough one. We battled back but unfortunately it wasn’t a win.” -Paul George
“Our offense works when we get stops. The Pacers are a really good team. They had won their last 10 of 11 games here at home, so it was good to come in here and get a win. Basketball is a game of runs and we were able to get the last stop tonight.” -Rajon Rondo
by Greg Rappaport