The Indiana Pacers did it. They won in overtime. They closed out a close game. Despite their best effort at times, they did not give a win away. It's a new dawn for a Pacers team that put themselves in a position they could've avoided facing the Denver Nuggets. The Pacers had tremendous ball movement in the first half, using 17 assists to build a 59-51 halftime lead.
Out of the break, however, the tempo went against Indiana, with the Pacers turning the ball over at will, allowing the Nuggets the chance to seize their own opportunity to outscore Indiana 32-21 in the third quarter, taking a three point lead into the final quarter. Neither team had much going for them offensively in the fourth. Indiana's defense was good enough to win, but missed shots put the game much more in doubt than the Pacers would've liked.
Monta Ellis would split a trip at the free throw line to tie the game at 99-99 with 1:23 remaining, and after a pair of stops, the Pacers had the ball with a chance to win, resulting in a failed isolation three pointer by Ellis, sending the game into overtime. Once there, Indiana built up two five point leads, but allowed Denver to trim the lead to one with just over a minute remaining.
Indiana forced a turnover with 23 seconds remaining to once again set them up in a must-win situation, this time up one. A bad trap by the Denver defense allowed Ellis to break free, going towards the basket for a game sealing three point play, allowing Indiana the 109-105 victory. The Nuggets had 20 seconds to make a game of it, but chose to pass rather than try and score, helping Indiana to seal the victory on defense.
Ellis had a season high 32 on the night, leading Indiana on offense all night. Ellis had nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals to go along with his scoring punch, being not only a leader on the floor, but on the bench, to help Indiana secure their second straight victory. Ellis continued his hot shooting from deep, hitting four more tonight in eight attempts.
Myles Turner and Jordan Hill anchored the Indiana front line with Ian Mahinmi missing action. The two combined for 28, with 20 coming from Hill, but the rim protection of the both was what really helped Indiana. The two had all 10 of Indiana's blocks, with Hill sending away six. Turner struggled shooting the ball, but was effective with nine rebounds along with seven from Hill.
Paul George had 19, hitting two big buckets at the end of regulation and in overtime to help lift Indiana to the win, but it was his ball movement that was most impressive. George led the team with seven assists, he and Indiana making a number of impressive passes in the first half in particular.
Lavoy Allen and Solomon Hill each had good nights on the glass with six boards apiece, but the lack of scoring punch off the bench was evident, especially with C.J. Miles dropping back into his shooting slump, scoring two on 1-4 shooting. Joe Young led the bench with seven points on 3-6 shooting.
The Pacers move back to three games above .500 with the win, moving them up to seventh, but more importantly, gaining a three game cushion from falling out of the playoffs. The Pacers will have a tough test on Monday, however, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been rolling since firing their head coach David Blatt.