NBA News Wire
Pacers kick into gear for OT win
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — A fiery halftime speech and a major boost from two newcomers fueled the Indiana Pacers’ biggest comeback victory of the season.
Small forward Paul George poured in 30 points and the Pacers erased a 25-point deficit to defeat the Detroit Pistons 112-104 in overtime on Saturday night at The Palace.
George credited coach Frank Vogel for getting the team refocused after a woeful first half. Indiana was down by 25 late in the second quarter and trailed by 19 at halftime.
“He motivated us,” said George, who scored 20 points after a break. “Long story short, he talked about what’s at stake and us controlling our destiny. Every game counts and at that point, it was getting away from us, so we had to look within ourselves and figure it out.”
Reserve guard Evan Turner and center Andrew Bynum helped the Pacers overcome their predicament.
Turner, who was acquired from Philadelphia at the February trade deadline, supplied 20 points and five rebounds for Indiana (49-17), which won its third straight after a four-game losing streak. Bynum, playing in just his second game since signing with the team on Feb. 1, added 15 points and nine rebounds.
“They’re playmaking guys who can carry the load for stretches,” Pacers forward David West said. “They made plays when we needed them to make plays. The more acclimated and comfortable they get with us, the better they’re going to be.”
West, who had 15 points, scored the first points of overtime on a jump shot and hit two more to make it 108-102. Indiana held on from there to go 4-0 in overtime games this season.
“We’re gaining momentum on the defensive end,” George said. “We’re starting to come back around and make plays and get back to our offensive form, but on the defensive end, we’re starting to be special again.”
The Pacers held the Pistons, who are 0-4 in overtime games, to one field goal on nine attempts in the extra session.
“They came out and kind of hit us first and made a couple of shots,” Detroit interim coach John Loyer said. “We probably didn’t get it to the rim enough. We probably took too many perimeter shots to start the overtime. That’s the way the game went.”
Forward Josh Smith topped Detroit (25-41), which has lost 12 of its last 15, with 23 points. Guard Rodney Stuckey contributed 19 points off the bench. Power forward Greg Monroe had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The loss ensured that Detroit will finish no better than .500. The Pistons have not had a winning season since 2007-08, when it had a 59-23 record and reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth straight year.
“Give credit to them, they didn’t stop fighting,” Smith said. “That’s a great team over there, the number one team in the East. We competed tonight, but it is a little frustrating that we fell short, knowing how well we played in the first half.”
Pistons center Andre Drummond, the NBA’s third leading rebounder, suffered a neck injury with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter and did not return. Drummond took an inadvertent blow from Indiana center Roy Hibbert while battling for the ball.
Indiana scored the first eight points of the second half to cut its deficit to 11. The Pacers finally pulled ahead on Turner’s 3-pointer to make it 86-85 with 6:44 left in regulation.
Detroit had a late four-point lead, but Indiana guard Lance Stephenson made a 3-pointer with 1:43 remaining to tie it at 96. Both teams scored on their next two possessions, keeping things knotted at 100. George then missed a 16-foot attempt in the final second, forcing overtime.
NOTES: Pacers reserve PG C.J. Watson sat out because of a right hamstring strain. He missed three of the previous four games with a sprained right elbow. … Detroit has not won a season series against Indiana since 2007-08. … Indiana is 22-3 when it commits fewer turnovers than its opponent. … The Pacers are 25-1 when holding opponents below 90 points. … Indiana C Roy Hibbert has blocked at least one shot in 11 straight games … Pacers coach Frank Vogel said C Andrew Bynum, who played for the second time in three games, could be ready for back-to-backs as early as next week. Bynum has battled knee injuries in recent seasons. … Detroit plays 11 of its 16 remaining games on the road, beginning with a four-game West Coast trip that starts at Denver on Wednesday. … PG Peyton Siva (ankle), PG Chauncey Billups (knee) and C Josh Harrellson (knee) did not dress for Detroit.
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