The Indiana Pacers rode a wave of momentum in the fourth quarter to once again secure a come from behind victory against the Sacramento Kings, topping the Kings in overtime to win both games of a back-to-back for the first time this season. The Kings were in firm control for much of the game, taking the lead for good on a 10-0 run in the second quarter, building a 64-55 halftime lead.
The Kings hit 11 first half three pointers on 15 attempts, setting them up to shoot over 60% in the first three quarters. While Sacramento lived at the free throw line in the third (15-19), pushing their lead to 16 points halfway through, it proved a small victory for the Pacers in keeping the Kings away from three point line.
Indiana chipped away through the rest of the third, cutting 10 points off the Sacramento lead heading into the fourth. Despite their struggles, the game was never truly out of reach, even down 16, but Indiana’s struggles on the defensive end to come up with stops, whether it was on three point shots or free throws, was going to be their biggest hurdle in staging a comeback.
Once in the fourth, the Kings extended their lead back to double figures, leading 98-87 with 6:30 remaining in what appeared to be another step back for the Pacers. Shortly thereafter, Matt Barnes was called for a foul against Glenn Robinson III which frustrated Barnes to the point where he exchanged words with Pacers coach Nate McMillan.
Indiana responded positively to the foul and words, scoring the next six as part of an 8-0 run to bring the Pacers to within three at 98-95. Barnes entered the game at the end of the run, and off of a Jeff Teague missed, proceeded to put his shoulder into Myles Turner, sending him hard to the ground for a flagrant foul.
Turner scored three off of the foul to bring Indiana to within two. Sacramento’s first three pointer of the second half pushed the lead back to five, but the Pacers made the most of their trips to the line in the fourth, clawing back and tying the game at 104-104. Turner thanked Barnes after the game for the hard foul, but the momentum shifting in Indiana’s favor was also in large part to their defense, which Turner noted in regards to Lavoy Allen.
Allen got crunch time run thanks to a solid outing on the night, coming up with a block on DeMarcus Cousins in the final minute to keep the game on track for overtime. Allen had just four points and four rebounds (two on the offensive end), but it was a quintessential Lavoy-Allen-box-score game, with him ruling the + / - leading all reserves with a +14.
The Pacers were unable to close out the win in regulation, but would also never trail in the overtime period, which proved valuable as the Kings responded to every Pacers bucket with a tough shot of their own to keep the game tied into the final minute. In the first possession of the final minute, Paul George pulled up for the go-ahead jumper, putting Indiana up 113-111.
While Indiana would fail to come up with the initial rebound, the Pacers would play strong defensively to force a pair of stops on the Kings, setting up Teague to ice the game for the Pacers. While there is reason to be frustrated with Indiana’s effort through much of the game, there’s more reason to be impressed with them pulling a win out of a hat the way they did tonight.
It was easy to see the Pacers were running short on energy late in the game; the fatigue of a second night was catching up to them, but they still pieced together a 17-6 run to close regulation, forcing an overtime that they still managed to come away with.
George led the Pacers in a big way tonight, scoring a game high 33 points, but also doing so on a career high tying 17 free throw attempts. George went 14-15 from the line in the final 18 minutes of regulation, doing his part to single-handedly reverse a previously lopsided Sacramento free throw discrepancy. In the end, the Pacers outscored the Kings from the line 29-28, after being outscored 17-5 halfway through the third.
George continued his play in overtime, scoring six of Indiana’s 11 points, including the eventual game winner. Indiana as a team came up with the win thanks to a much improved second half effort. After falling behind 78-62 halfway through the third, Indiana outscored Sacramento 53-31 the remainder of the game, dragging a 60%+ shooting Kings team to 49% for the game, holding them to 2-11 from three point range in the second half.
C.J. Miles hit 6-9 from three point range for 18 points and Teague followed with 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Turner had 14 points, but together with Allen, limited Cousins to just three points in the fourth quarter and zero in the fourth. Even Monta Ellis came up with a redemption game, going 3-3 from the floor for eight points.
The win moves Indiana to 24-22 on the season, giving them an extra game cushion over the 7th place Charlotte Hornets, who lost tonight in New York. The Pacers will look to keep their winning streak alive on Sunday, but will face a tough challenge in hosting the Houston Rockets, who sit at an envious 35-15 on the year.