Indiana Pacers (8-8) 97
Sacramento Kings (4-11) 92
The Kings reside in Sacramento, California. However, the real kings were the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena in northern Cali.
For the second game in a row on their west-coast swing, the Pacers used stifling defense and followed the leadership of David West and George Hill en route to an 8-8 record.
The fun part about the past two games for Indiana: there has been nothing flashy from the blue and gold. They have simply played great defense and won the games in the final moments of action.
The Indiana Pacers played a solid first half against the Kings. They never pulled away from Keith Smart’s squad for a double-digit lead, but also never fell into more than a two- or three-possession deficit. Late in the second quarter, it looked as though Sacramento was gaining some momentum close to halftime. Then George Hill ended that idea with a bank-shot from the top of the key as time expired to give the Pacers a 43-40 edge after 24 minutes.
David West had a game-high 15 points in the first half. He certainly made the case for not wanting his team to have a letdown after an impressive victory against the Lakers on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. West led by example, and Hill joined him in the second half.
West brought his offense back onto the hardwood in the third quarter and Hill busted out his aggressiveness as well. The Indiana Pacers put up 29 points in the third period, only to outscore the Kings by two. Indiana held on to a five-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.
With the score at 74-71 in favor of the Pacers, Hill brought the ball up the court and nailed a three-point basket to bump the lead to six. On the next possession, Hill found Sam Young on the left wing for a second consecutive three and a nine-point lead for the Pacers at 80-71.
Indiana held onto the lead for the remainder of the game, but Sacramento did not give up. They made it a two-point game at 94-92 with 11.5 seconds to play. But they had to play the foul game at that point, as the Pacers made three free throws in the final seconds to seal a 97-92 win.
It looked as though everything West put up was going in. He finished with a season-high 31 points on 13-20 from the floor and 11 rebounds. Hill was right behind him with 25 points on 9-14 shooting, including 4-6 from long range. Hill also dished out eight assists and pulled down six boards.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings in scoring with 19 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.
Indiana concludes their trip out west in a showdown with the Golden State Warriors tonight. The Pacers squeezed out a victory last season at Golden State on a last-second steal and layup by George Hill.