The Indiana Pacers needed help from the New Orleans Pelicans to close out the New Orleans Pelicans at home, eking out a 98-95 victory despite scoring just two points in the final three minutes on 2-6 from the free throw line. Paul George pushed Indiana up 96-93 with 3:21 in the fourth, a score that would hold until Solomon Hill broke the stalemate with a dunk for New Orleans.
It was the only field goal in the final three minutes of action for either team with Indiana going 0-2 from the field and the Pelicans stumbling to just 1-10 shooting, a number of which weren’t even close. Missed free throws kept the door open for the Pelicans, but in the end, the woeful close at the free throw line wasn’t enough to keep Indiana from holding on for the win.
Indiana shot over 50% for the game, almost stunningly given how the offense disappeared after a 32-point first quarter. The Pacers had just 66 points the rest of the game, but it was turnovers that proved an issue for Indiana, losing the turnover battle 16-12, seven of those by Jeff Teague.
Anthony Davis left the game halfway through the third with a bruised tailbone, which resulted in an immediate 8-0 Pacers run, though that wasn’t enough to keep the Pelicans at bay with the New Orleans bench outscoring Indiana’s 51-19. Only Al Jefferson reached double figures with 10 points.
George led the way for the Pacers with 19 points and six assists, but was just 6-17 from the floor though he did hit two of Indiana’s five three pointers. Myles Turner had 18 but was just 7-17 from the floor himself, putting together a double double with 12 rebounds to go with four blocks.
Aside from the turnovers, Jeff Teague had an impressive game with 16 points on 7-10 shooting with 10 assists and eight rebounds. Glenn Robinson III also played well with nine points and five rebounds. The best player for the Pacers tonight, however, was Thaddeus Young, who scored 17 points on 8-9 shooting with six steals, featuring highlight jams.
The Pacers did what they needed to do to come away with the win even if it was lacking in style points. At 16-5, the Pacers hold the fourth best home record in the league, which has been important in offsetting a 5-14 road record. That road record will be tested as the Pacers head out West this week for a three game trip beginning against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.