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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pacers eek out win in double overtime game against Kings

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pacers guard/forward Lance Stephenson emerged as a late-game option on Saturday in the team's double-overtime win against Sacramento.
(Courtesy photo)
INDIANAPOLIS -- With a double-overtime win on Saturday night against Sacramento, the Pacers are off to a 2-1 start.

A balanced effort saw six players score in double-digits, while holding the Kings to just 36.3 percent shooting in the 106-98 victory.

Third-year guard Paul George had a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 16 points.

Point guard George Hill and forward David West led the team with 18 points each.

"I don't think I've played one of those games in a minute," Hill said. "It was tough, but you have to tip your hat to this Pacers team. (We) keep pounding the rock and keep grinding it out."

Hill, an Indianapolis-native, has taken a leadership role in his second year with the Pacers.

"It's good for our team to know that, in tough situations when things may not go well -- when we're not playing well -- that we can continue to grind out a long game," he said. "I'm happy we're learning right now in November rather than in April or May (during the playoffs)."

Indiana continues a trend they started last year: winning games with defense.

Forward Gerald Green, starting in place of the injured Danny Granger, scored 17 points in just 24 minutes, then sat on the bench for the entirety of the fourth quarter and overtime in favor of Lance Stephenson.

"Lance plays with great energy," Pacer head coach Frank Vogel said. "He's a presence at both ends."

As Granger, the team's all-star forward, recovers from a knee injury (timetable for his return is TBD), the team continues to win.

Carry that 2-1 start (.670 win percentage) the rest of the way, and they'll win 55 games, which is almost always enough to get a top-three seed and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"We condition ourselves," West said. "That's what we're paid to do ... We're going to fight. We're going to hang our hats on defense."

But if they keep playing as they have -- two games coming down to a last-second shot; a win Saturday in double-overtime -- they won't be able to last (in good condition) to the playoffs.

Saturday's game was the second half of a back-to-back for the Pacers after they were pushed to their limits on Friday night.

The Bobcats, outmatched on talent, unleashed a full court press that exhausted Indiana, and ultimately led to guard D.J. Augustin being forced to take a corner three for the win.

Hill made a similar shot on Wednesday at Toronto, ringing a shot from the top of the key through to snatch a victory against the Raptors.

Augustin's shot on Friday missed.

The Pacers had two similar chances on Saturday -- West missed a three at the end of regulation; Hill a baseline jumper at the end of the first overtime -- but they found no rhythm.

The schedule gets no easier. The Pacers begin a three-game road trip against the San Antonio Spurs (3-0), the best they've faced.

The next Indiana home game is Saturday, Nov. 10 against the Washington Wizards.

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