From start to finish in game 6 Thursday night in Atlanta, did anyone honestly believe David West was going to let his Indiana Pacers fall in their first elimination game? If he were to do so, he was going to go down taking the last shot.
West carried his Pacers the majority of the night en route to a 95-88 victory over the Hawks, knotting the quarterfinal best-of-seven series up in a 3-3 tie. It’s ‘back home again in Indiana’ for game 7 Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Thus, Indiana lives to see another day. They’ll gladly accept their seventh life, if you will.
For awhile, it looked as though Atlanta’s Jeff Teague was going to take control of the game, and ultimately, the series. He led all scorers with a playoff career-high 29 points. Teague consistently attacked the basket — from the moment Pacers’ forward Paul George exited the game in the third quarter with his fourth personal foul until deep in the fourth quarter. Most of his open looks at the basket came near the rim on layup opportunities, one after another.
Enter David West.
West answered the call, and responded to every Atlanta run in the second half with a clutch basket. Whether it was a long two-point jumper over an out-stretched Hawks defender’s hand, or a drive to his left for a basket with a soft right-hand touch, the calm, crafty veteran put his foot down and had his fingerprints all over this Pacers win.
“Mr. West,” we like to call him.
Mr. West is in the building.
— Jared Wade (@8pts9secs) May 2, 2014
West tied Paul George with a team-high 24 points on 10-20 shooting from the floor to go with a team-high 11 rebounds. He added six assists and two steals in 39 minutes at Philips Arena.
George scored 24 points on 7-18 shooting with eight rebounds; Lance Stephenson added 21 points (7-13 FGs) and nine rebounds. The three made a sweet trio and complemented each other well throughout the gutsy victory.
It was certainly a nice glimpse of what has to happen for the Pacers if they want to win a second straight game when the two teams face off for a winner-take-all game 7 Saturday in Indianapolis. First team to four wins moves on to meet Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Calling Mr. West.