The 5 Best Pacers Games of the Year

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Nov 10, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard A.J. Price (12) brings the ball up court against the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Utah 97-86. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Hope

Indiana 99, Chicago 90 – November 15, 2014

It may not have seemed significant at the time, but this was one of the first “prove yourself” games that the Indiana Pacers suffered through this year. In Chicago, on a cold November night, the Pacers took on the Bulls without four of the biggest contributors the team had all year – Rodney Stuckey, David West, George Hill, and C.J. Watson – and of course, Paul George.

The starting five that night was Roy Hibbert, Luis Scola, Solomon Hill, Donald Sloan, and Chris Copeland, a lineup that was used for just over 18 minutes total this season, according to Basketball Ref.. For the Bulls, All-Stars Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler were surrounded by Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah.

From the tip, Hibbert missed a jumper, Gasol missed a jumper, Sloan turned it over, then Dunleavy put the first points of the game on the board – a midrange jumper assisted by Kirk Hinrich.

Then the Pacers took control – and maintained it.

Sloan ignited the Pacers offense with a 4-point play, the first points of the game for Indiana, and from there they never looked back. Chicago would tie it up a couple more times, but the Bulls were never able to regain the lead, even with all of their big players except D-Rose.

Luis Scola and A.J. Price — who was signed with an emergency injured player exception since the team was so banged up — both had nights to remember. Scola went 10-for-12 from the field in a 21-point, 11-rebound performance, and Price — who was drafted by the Indiana Pacers but hadn’t played with the team since 2012 — gave the team a major bonus off the bench, adding 21 points on 7-for-11 from the field.

It was his second 20-plus point game in the past four nights, and the Pacers needed them all in what was a four-point game entering the fourth quarter.

The Pacers waived Price in late November after some of the injured players returned and not picked up by the team again. But there is no question that his performance that night in Chicago helped lead the team to a morale-boosting win back when the goal of making the playoffs seemed impossible.

Next: Game #4