The Pacers continued their streak of winning games when holding opponents shooting percentage under 40 percent but it sure wasn't easy.
The Kings, led by the nuclear start from Marcus Thornton, shot better than 55 percent in the third quarter to establish a double-digit lead. From there the Pacers chipped away, eventually winning the remaining three quarters as the Kings dipped well below the 40 percent mark.
But it sure didn't feel like it was as easy as watching the Kings' shooting percentage dip, did it? Not with Thornton and Isaiah Thomas combining for 80 points to more than make up for the scoring load missed with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay sidelined. One reason Sacramento didn't turn into Phoenix was due to the Pacers faring better in turnovers and fouls, although there were some crazy turnovers and odd foul calls all nigh
Paul George took advantage of one of those odd whistles to deliver a four-point play near the end of regulation which set up overtime where PG put the win away. All-Star effort all the way around and nice to see George get the chance to deliver in the most desperate of situations. That's a talent the Pacers will need once the the weather warms up (it will warm up, right?).
So the Pacers swiped a W after an up and down effort all night that forced the starting unit to play heavy minutes, first to do their usual thing in the third quarter just to get back in the game and then to close out regulation and seize the win in overtime. All of the starters played over 36 minutes with Lance Stephenson and George playing more than 40.
That surely wasn't the plan with an eye toward playing in Denver tonight. But all plans went out the window when the focus shifted to winning by any means necessary. So the Pacers moved to 12-0 in the first game of a back-to-back. They are only 6-5 in the second game and considering they will be playing less than 24 hours after expending so much energy in Sacramento, not to mention the mile high air in Denver, adding another win seems like a tall task.
Fortunately, the Pacers seem to thrive when the challenge is daunting and the excuses are lined up. Now they just have to work on those games when they have several advantages in their favor. Of course, the way former Pacers are going these days, Denver coach Brian Shaw will likely inspire his troops with a coaching effort like some combination of Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach (the parts that didn't dislike one another).
Check out the links:
- Pacers final score: Paul George's last second heroics leads Pacers to 116-111 OT win over Kings
- NBA All-Star vote for Lance Stephenson may be tough for some opposing coaches
- Pacers vs. Kings: Game coverage
- Pacers Links: Pacers meet dinged Kings to begin second half of NBA season
- 2014 NBA All-Star Starters: Paul George earns first All-Star start for Eastern Conference