INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Trailing after the first half, the Pacers fell back on what they do best, upping the defensive pressure to frustrate the Pelicans and pull out the victory.
Paul George scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead four Pacers in double figures and Indiana rallied from a seven-point, second-quarter deficit for a 99-82 win over New Orleans on Saturday night.
George said the Pacers had to get after Eric Gordon after the former Indiana University star repeatedly drove the lane in the first half to score 17 of his 21 points.
"He's a tough matchup," the 6-foot-9 George said of the 6-4 Gordon. "He's so quick. He has a great center of gravity. He has great second and third moves.
"I did what I do: use my length and crowd him."
George said the Pacers knew they had to defend better after New Orleans shot 52.5 percent (21 of 40) in the first half. Despite getting good looks, the Pacers shot 41.9 percent (18 of 43) before intermission.
"We knew eventually that the shots we were going to fall," George said. "We just play so well defensively, we know that's going to keep us in the game. We just stuck to our defense."
Lance Stephenson scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, Danny Granger came off the bench to score a season-high 13 and George Hill added 10 for Indiana.
Alexis Ajinca scored a season-high 17 points, reserve Tyreke Evans added 12 and Anthony Davis 10 for New Orleans.
Pelicans' shooting forward Ryan Anderson remained in a Boston hospital after sustaining a cervical stinger when he collided with the Celtics' Gerald Wallace and fell hard to the floor Friday night.
Five different Pacers scored as Indiana went on a 14-0 run over a 4:12 span of the third quarter. The Pelicans, meanwhile, missed seven straight field goals.
The frustrated Pelicans also drew three technical fouls during the Pacers' third-quarter run — one each to Davis, Jrue Holiday and assistant coach Dave Hanners — the last two after a foul call on Holiday.
Gordon scored just two points in the third quarter. Ajinca converted both of his field goals in the period, but the rest of the Pelicans missed 12 of 14 attempts.