INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers played just well enough to beat an inferior opponent, which has been the way most of their five-game win streak has gone.
David West scored 25 points, Paul George added 22, and the Pacers beat the Utah Jazz 94-91 on Sunday night.
Indianapolis native Gordon Hayward had 21 points and Derrick Favors scored 17 for the Jazz, nine of them in the first eight minutes as Utah opened a 14-4 lead.
A dunk from Favors cut the Pacers' lead to 89-86 with a minute left to play, and West missed a jumper to give Utah a chance to tie with 35 seconds remaining. Hayward cut the Indiana lead to one, but Lance Stephenson sank two free throws to seal the win.
"This was a mental toughness win," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "I thought we played with extraordinary effort for four quarters."
The Jazz made things interesting in the game's fourth period thanks to Hayward, who had 10 of his 21 points in the final 15 minutes. His final five points came in the final minutes.
Ian Mahinmi came off the bench to score nine points for the Pacers and provide key minutes, as Roy Hibbert struggled to contain Favors.
Utah came out of halftime to score eight unanswered points and force Indiana to call an early timeout. The Pacers retook the lead when Mahinmi was fouled on a layup. Mahinmi made the free throw to put Indiana up 60-58.
"I've pretty solid on defense all season long," Mahinmi said. "My shot blocking has been up. My timing is good."
CJ Watson, starting for the injured George Hill, scored 13 points for the Pacers. Hill sat out his second straight game with a bruised shoulder.
After coming off the bench to score 17 in a win over Boston a night earlier, Evan Turner struggled in his reserve role. Turner, acquired from Philadelphia on Feb. 20, scored eight points and shot 2 of 9 in 20 minutes.
Continue reading this story on the...