Pacers defense stymies Kings in 2 OT, 106-98

Associated Press Modified: November 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm •  Published: November 3, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers are still trying to figure out how to make up for Danny Granger's absence.

In the meantime, they're content to rely on their suddenly staunch defense.

George Hill scored the first four points of the second overtime Saturday night and his teammates took care of the rest, allowing only three baskets over the final 10:45 to lead the Pacers past Sacramento 106-98 in double overtime.

"Not the prettiest game in the world, but we got the W," coach Frank Vogel said. "Like early last season, our defense is carrying us."

The drastic turnabout may be the biggest surprise in Indy early this season.

After allowing more than 100 points per game two years ago and nearly 95 per game last season, the Pacers went into their home opener as one of only 12 teams holding opponents under 90. Sacramento (0-3) barely topped that mark in regulation and still couldn't get to 100 points despite playing 10 extra minutes.

Sure, the explanation could be fatigue after playing their third straight road game and their second game in two nights.

But the Pacers were just as determined to redeem themselves after Friday night's embarrassing loss at Charlotte and in front of a sold out crowd clad mostly in gold T-shirts for Indiana's biggest home opener in nearly a decade.

They gave the hometown fans a glimpse of the way basketball has traditionally been played in Indiana — gritty, selfless and with a relentless defensive mentality.

"This was a very tough, gut-it-out game," Pacers forward David West said. "These are the types of games you have to win in the NBA if you want to be successful."

If the Pacers (2-1) demonstrated anything Saturday, it was how they could continue to win without their injured scoring leader.

Hill finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. West had 18 points and 18 rebounds. Paul George added 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, while Gerald Green had 17 points and All-Star center Roy Hibbert finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.

Defensively, they were in sync on play after play.

With the game tied late in regulation and early in the first overtime, Indiana missed seven consecutive shots. Yet the Pacers never allowed the Kings to take the lead.

And from the moment Indiana tied the score at 36 with 5:25 left in the first half, the Kings never retook the lead.

"It's tough," backup guard Aaron Brooks said. "To go into double overtime and not get 100, I think that's something that kind of baffles us. We're such a good offensive team."