Credit to those of you that stayed up and continued to watch the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena against the Sacramento Kings. To my own credit, I watched. And, yes, I was amazed.
If you missed the Pacers’ stellar comeback versus the Kings, my sincerest apologies. This was, in fact, one of the most enjoyable games I’ve seen from Indiana in the past few years (excluding the playoffs, mind you).
After what appeared to be an exact repeat of the Phoenix game on Wednesday night, the Pacers pulled it together and had just enough steam to unseat the Kings. Despite allowing 111 points, and giving up 110+ for the second straight game, Indiana came together on defense when it mattered most. This coming from the league-leading defense that allows less than 90 points per game.
It took some rare heroics from Paul George to finish off the pesky Kings.
George finished the night with 36 points on 12-22 shooting, including 8-8 from the charity stripe. Most notably, the first time starter in the All-Star game nailed a three and was fouled by Sacramento’s Derrick Williams with 15.1 seconds left. His free throw completed a rare four-point play and tied things up at 103, good enough to send the game into overtime.
That was all she wrote. George would score 12 of Indiana’s final 17 points to lift the Pacers to a 116-111 overtime victory.
In overtime, just when the Kings thought they had the Pacers defense all figured out, George Hill stole a pass intended for Marcus Thornton and took off on a fast break. Aware he had Kings Thornton and Aaron Gray trailing him, as well as teammate George, Hill took the ball inside the three-point arc on the break before handing it off to George for a two-handed slam that ultimately gave Indiana the momentum it needed to finish off Sacramento.
Thornton and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas combined to score 80 points for the Kings. Thornton had 42 of those, the most Indiana has given up to a single player all season.
Undoubtedly, the play PG made near the end of regulation will be shown over and over again throughout the remainder of the season and surely for years to come. It goes down as one of the more memorable moments in Indiana Pacers’ regular season history.
George’s four-point play in the final moments of the fourth quarter can be seen here.