Pacers 95, Pelicans 90

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Paul George scored a game-high 32 points and David West hit four free throws in the final 66 seconds to power the Indiana Pacers to a 95-90 comeback victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at the New Orleans Arena.
The Pacers (2-0) trailed 85-81 when Jrue Holiday canned a 15-footer with 1:58 left. But Indiana scored 12 of the next 16 points to pull away. George Hill, who had 19 points, nailed a 26-foot jumper from the top of the key with 31.1 seconds left to give Indiana an 89-85 lead.
The Pelicans were paced by Eric Gordon with 25 points and Holiday with 24. Anthony Davis added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
After Jason Smith hit a layup to open the second half, the Pelicans led 52-36, but New Orleans missed its next 12 shots to allow Indiana to cut the deficit to 58-53. The Pelicans shot just 6-of-24 in the third quarter, but Davis had two tip-ins on hustle plays to keep the pelicans in front, 66-59.
In the fourth quarter, Davis blew past Luis Scola for a baseline layup and then forced Scola into a walk. But George easily dribbled around Arinze Onuaku for a layup that brought the Pacers within 74-71 with 6:38 left.
George tied the game at 76 with an 18-footer, and Lance Stephenson put Indiana on top for the first time since early in the first quarter, 79-77, with a 3-pointer from the right baseline with 4:37 left.
But Gordon hit a pair of free throws and scoop shot in the lane, and Davis followed with a left-handed drive of his own to put New Orleans back on top 83-81 with 2:30 left.
Holiday's 15-footer gave New Orleans an 85-81 lead, but Roy Hibbert converted a layup and three-point play on a bang-bang play in which Jason Smith picked up his sixth foul.
After Holiday missed a quick jumper on the other end, West barreled into the lane against Lance Thomas, drew a foul and made both free throws, giving Indiana an 86-85 lead with 1:06 remaining.
The Pelicans' quicker, guard-oriented attack paid dividends in the first half as New Orleans raced to a 50-36 lead. Gordon led all scorers with 15 first-half points, and Holiday had 12. Even more impressively, three of Davis' four first-half field goals were jumpers from at least 20 feet, which complemented his inside presence.
When Gordon and Holiday hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, the Pelicans built their biggest lead of the half, 49-33, less than a minute before halftime.
Even though the Pacers held a considerable size advantage on the Pelicans, New Orleans outrebounded them 21-15 in the first half, with reserve center Greg Stiemsma grabbing five. West committed three of the Pacers' 10 first-half turnovers as the Pelicans collapsed on him in the lane, forcing him to give up the ball.
George led Indiana with 13 first-half points.
NOTES: Pelicans F Ryan Anderson, a 3-point threat, will be out one to three weeks with a chip fracture in his right second toe. The injury occurred in practice Monday and was revealed before Wednesday night's opener. "We just have to figure it out," coach Monty Williams said. "Others will play a bigger role, and we'll need someone to step up." ... Jason Smith started at center for New Orleans because Williams likes his energy and shooting. Greg Stiemsma came off the bench. ... Pacers coach Frank Vogel likes the Pelicans' new-look roster and deep stable of guards. "They've got some horses in there when you're talking about Holiday and Tyreke Evans and Gordon being back, and Anthony Davis having a season under his belt," Vogel said. "So it's an improved basketball team for sure. I think they're really going to be competing for a playoff spot, maybe even a playoff run." ... Vogel said Hibbert (7-foot-2, 290 pounds) gained muscle in the offseason that will help him handle other bigs.

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