Pacers overcome slow start, top Pelicans
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul George amassed 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers overcame a slow start to cruise to a 99-82 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Lance Stephenson scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help the Pacers bounce back from Wednesday's 95-82 loss at Toronto and improve to 16-1 at home this season. Danny Granger had his most productive game since returning from a calf injury in the triumph, dropping in 13 points in nearly 21 minutes off the bench.
"We did a good job on defense, running on the break and playing together," said Stephenson.
Playing without leading scorer Ryan Anderson, New Orleans managed just 33 points over the final two quarters and saw an early 14-point lead evaporate.
Eric Gordon finished with 21 points in the loss, with Alexis Ajinca adding 17 points and Tyreke Evans 12 for the Pelicans.
Anderson was not with the team after spending the night in a Boston hospital after suffering a cervical stinger during Friday's win over the Celtics.
New Orleans performed just fine without Anderson's services early on, with Gordon netting six points during a 12-0 first-quarter run that staked the Pelicans to a 27-13 lead 10 minutes into the contest. The Pacers trailed 38-25 nearing the midway mark of the second quarter, but bounced back strongly to dominate the rest of the way.
Granger was fouled while burying a 3-pointer and sank the resulting bonus shot, igniting a 15-6 surge that cut the deficit to four with 2:34 left in the half. Indiana went into the break down 49-44 after Stephenson drove the lane and scored with 39.8 seconds to go.
The Pacers went ahead to stay by putting together an 18-0 tear during the third quarter. Stephenson's layup halfway through the period gave Indiana a one-point edge, and George Hill capped the pivotal flurry with a triple that increased the margin to 70-57 with two minutes left in the frame.
Indiana outscored the Pelicans 30-12 for the stanza, shooting 69 percent from the field while holding New Orleans to a 4-of-16 success rate to carry a 74-61 advantage into the fourth.
"When we're playing defense, that's when our offense comes around," said George. "George [Hill] battled [Gordon] to start the half off, and just the energy and being involved in plays on the defensive end gets you in a groove offensively and that was the case."
The Pelicans continued to struggle offensively during the final quarter, with the Pacers stretching the lead to 22 points after Granger and George each drained treys during a 6-1 sequence that made the score 94-72 with five minutes left.
"I think (the Pacers) picked up their energy a little bit," said Pelicans head coach Monty Williams. "It was a lesson for our guys. They just picked up and we did not."
Indiana scored 27 points off 17 New Orleans turnovers, 10 of which occurred in the second half ... The Pacers have now won six straight meetings between the clubs, including a 95-90 decision in New Orleans on Oct. 30 behind 32 points from George ... Gordon, an Indianapolis native, faced the Pacers in his home city for the first time since Nov. 18, 2010 while then a member of the Los Angeles Clippers ... The Pacers recalled rookie forward Solomon Hill from Fort Wayne of the D-League prior to the game.
01/05 00:22:49 ET