INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Forward David West scored 25 points and forward Paul George scored 22, leading the Indiana Pacers from a 12-point deficit to a 94-91 victory over the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday.
West and George combined for 21 points in the third quarter, when a 13-3 run helped the Pacers (46-13) take the lead for good.
Guard Gordon Hayward, an Indianapolis native who played at Butler University, led Utah (21-38) with 21 points. A three-point attempt by Hayward as the buzzer sounded hit the rim and bounced away.
Utah center Derrick Favors added 17 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds. He scored 11 points in the first half, when the Jazz took a 12-point lead, stunning the home crowd. Guard Trey Burke added 16 points.
Pacers guard C.J. Watson, starting in place of George Hill (bruised shoulder), added 13 points and guard Lance Stephenson had 11.
The Pacers were facing a team in the NBA’s bottom half for the fifth consecutive game, and, as in the previous four games, the Pacers struggled. Frustration surfaced in the third quarter when George was whistled for a technical foul. George slammed the ball to the court and complained when a foul was called on a play when George thought the Pacers had stolen the ball.
After missing seven of their first nine shots, the Pacers trailed the Jazz by 10 points in the opening quarter. Then, after rallying to take a three-point lead late in the quarter on a 10-0 run, the Pacers found themselves down by 12 points in the second quarter.
Part of the Pacers’ troubles were due to missing two starters. Hill was made inactive just prior to the game because of a bruised shoulder that is not yet healed. Center Roy Hibbert was out less than five minutes into the game when he picked up his second foul in his battle with Favors.
NOTES: Pacers G George Hill was out for the second game in a row due to a bruised shoulder. He injured the shoulder in Thursday’s 101-96 win over Milwaukee. … Pacers G Evan Turner, who joined the club on Feb. 20 in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaged 12.6 ppg in his first three games with the Pacers. While Hill is out, Turner is a back-up point guard to C.J. Watson. “I like what he’s doing. He’s giving us a big lift, a spark, so to speak,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. … Jazz G/F Gordon Hayward, an Indianapolis native and former star at Butler University, made his only Indy appearance of the season in Sunday’s game. He received loud cheers when introduced as a starter. … An eight-inch snowstorm and temperatures in the 20s greeted the Jazz for the second contest of a season-long, six-game road trip covering more than 4,000 miles.
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