While the dramatics weren't quite the same and deficit only half as large, the Indiana Pacers needed a second half comeback of their own to match wits with their professional sports brother, limiting the New Orleans Pelicans to just 33 second half points as part of a 99-82 victory as part of New Orleans's lowest output of the season. The Pelicans opened the game on fire, shooting 13-16 out of the gate to blindside the Indiana Pacers, going up 14 in the first quarter in a 27-15 quarter. The Pacers capped it well thanks to a Danny Granger steal that Paul George turned into the quarter's final points.
The Pacers began to find their footing in the second quarter, but still struggled to find any defensive traction, as the Pelicans pushed ahead 38-25 before Granger hit a three for a four point play. From there, the Pacers slowly worked their back into the game, heading into break down 49-44. Indiana turned the game completely in their favor in the third quarter, with Lance Stephenson scoring 12 of his 19 points as the Pacers routed the Pelicans 30-12 in the third quarter, holding New Orleans to just 4-16 shooting. Indiana went on an 18-0 run over the middle six minutes of the quarter before putting the game on ice thanks to a strong fourth, winning the second half 55-33.
Stephenson turned his entire night around in the third quarter. His first half play was lackluster, but greater energy (and a change of shoes) helped spark Indiana's third quarter run. He was electric with his play, scoring 12 and attacking the heart of the New Orleans defense. George led the way for Indiana, scoring 24 points, albeit somewhat inefficiently on 8-24 shooting (just 2-9 from three point range), but did notch a double double with 10 rebounds with seven free throws.
David West had just eight points and four rebounds, but a great night especially when passing the ball. West had a team high five assists (along with George), making some great passes throughout the night, even those that weren't converted. The Pacers as a team weren't much above 50% on assists to field goal ratio, but the starters had 17 of their 20 assists.
Roy Hibbert struggled offensively, scoring just six points, but made work defensively with five blocks while helping limit Anthony Davis to just 10 points. The Pelicans did get a career game from Alexis Ajinca, who scored 17 on 5-7 shooting and 7-10 from the free throw line with seven rebounds for the biggest surprise line of the game. Indiana opened up their second half lead thanks to their ability to rebound, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds as part of a +12 night on the glass.
Points off turnovers were a key part of Indiana's loss to Toronto, but they spun things in their favor, turning 17 New Orleans turnovers into 27 points, outscoring the Pelicans by 15 despite committing 15 turnovers of their own. Eric Gordon had a big first half, scoring 17 points, but was held well in check in the second half despite an early third quarter bucket, finishing with a team high 21.
Danny Granger led the bench with a season high 13, his third straight double figure game. Granger was 4-7 with a pair of three pointers, but made plenty of hustle plays to help fuel the Pacers comeback in the game. Luis Scola had eight points and nine rebounds with some quality C.J. Watson midrange shots giving him six on the night. George Hill also reached double figures for the Pacers with 10 points.
Tonight's win moves Indiana to 26-6 on the year as the Pacers began another back-to-back, setting up a road test against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers lost to Brooklyn, their ninth loss in 11 games, but Indiana's own lackluster showings on the second night of back-to-backs will be one of their focuses as they look to build another winning streak.