One play would change the narrative of the Indiana Pacers' fourth quarter and overtime comebacks, keeping them from stealing a road trip salvaging win over the Sacramento Kings, instead relegating them to a disappointing 102-101 loss by allowing former Purdue product Carl Landry to pull in an offensive rebound off of a Rudy Gay miss, gather himself, and put in the game winning layup with 0.8 seconds remaining.
The Pacers trailed all night, with a pitiful first half from the starting unit allowing the Kings to storm ahead early on a 16-0 run, keyed by nine straight misses and four turnovers from Indiana. But while the starters would combine for 13 total first half points, Indiana's bench pushed the Pacers back into the game, drawing them to within two points, but the starters gave the lead right back, the Kings going back up by double figures at the break with an 8-0 run.
Things didn't improve much for Indiana in the third quarter, falling behind by as many as 17. But with help from C.J. Watson, David West and Solomon Hill found some rhythm, trimming the lead to eight heading into the final quarter. Indiana fell behind in the fourth by as many as 12, while only able to move it to six with Indiana trailing 94-86 with three minutes remaining.
At that point, the Pacers turned their offense over to West, who dictated and controlled the movement of the ball for the first time this season, hitting a jumper and finding Roy Hibbert to trim the lead to four. A Rodney Stuckey fast break layup would draw Indiana to within two. Stuckey and West would tie the game up at 96-96 with 28 seconds remaining, with the Kings blanking from the field for the final four minutes of the fourth.
In overtime, Stuckey had a miss and turnover push Sacramento into a pair of jumpers from their leading scorers on the night, Rudy Gay (23) and Darren Collison (20). C.J. Watson would finally put the Pacers on the board in overtime with a three pointer, and would finally push them into the lead by scoring five straight points, putting Indiana ahead 101-100 with a minute remaining.
The score would stay locked when Landry would gather for the game winning layup. West would miss a falling away deep three with time expiring, having some choice words with Reggie Evans, who he felt got away with a push on the Landry layup. All in all, despite a strong comeback, the result was Indiana's fourth straight loss, one that wasn't particularly pretty for the entirety of the night leading up to the comeback.
Indiana shot just 37.5% on the night, shot 6-26 from the three point arc, and despite shooting 29 free throws on the night, didn't come close to the 40 taken by the Kings (though they fell just five short in makes). Indiana did find success in points off turnovers (14-25) and fast break points (14-11), creating opportunities despite fighting uphill all night.
For as bad as the entire starting unit played in the first half, David West scored 14 of his team high 16 in the second half, finding a rhythm the Pacers sorely lacked from him in his first games back. West looked closer to his old self, as the Pacers found someone they could lean on for the first time on the entire road trip. West also had eight rebounds.
Rodney Stuckey was hampered by foul trouble in the first half, but also lifted Indiana's chances in the second half with 14 points, four steals, and three assists in his second game as Indiana's starting point guard. While not ideal, Stuckey hasn't been quite the disaster at PG, at least offensively, though he was planted on the bench pretty quickly with his fouls coming against Collison.
The Pacers got a big lift in the first half from not only Luis Scola (who had 11 points and eight rebounds), but from Damjan Rudez, who on 4-4 shooting, scored 11 points while coming up with a steal on Gay. Things were far less rosy for Rudez in the second half where he struggled defensively and went 0-3. C.J. Watson was one of the only bench players to do well in the second half, scoring 10 in the second half, including all five of Indiana's OT points.
Ian Mahinmi left tonight's game with a sore foot, opening up an opportunity for Lavoy Allen to return to action. Allen had three quick fouls, but scored five points on a great Rudez find and a big three point play halfway through the fourth quarter. Elsewhere, Solomon Hill was Indiana's sixth double figure scorer with 10 points and Roy Hibbert had nine points and seven boards, and a pair of blocks.
The loss drops Indiana to 0-4 on their road trip and 7-13 overall. The only saving grace for the Pacers extending their losing streak is that if the playoffs are an expected end goal for this team, the Eastern Conference will be lenient towards them struggling to string together wins. The loss drops Indiana to 11th in the East, but they sit just two games out of the 8th spot.
The Pacers will return home Monday night for four of their next five, but the schedule won't get any easier, with five of their next six against winning teams, starting with the Atlanta Hawks, who beat the Pacers 102-92 on November 1st.