Pacers, West stick to game plan, beat Kings

Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange

SACRAMENTO -- Indiana's David West scored a season-high 31 points and, combined with a solid defensive effort, helped to give the Pacers a 97-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings before an announced crowd of 12,544 at Sleep Train Arena on Friday night.

The Pacers (8-8) are half way through their four-game road trip entering a game tonight at Golden State.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel's squad has won four of its past five, including the first two on this road trip.

"These last two wins our team our team has really followed the game plan literally in a couple of regards," Vogel said after defeating the Los Angeles and the Kings.

Vogel pointed to his team's 27 assists/nine turnover ratio against Sacramento.

West said he has a simple formula for scoring.

"I only shoot shots that I practice," West said. "Only take shots in the game that I work on in practice."

Kings coach Keith Smart inadvertently said DeMarcus Cousins could benefit from that advice. Cousins led the Kings (4-11) with 19 points and 16 rebounds. However, he made 5 of 17 field-goal attempts and over-penetrated throughout the game.

"(Cousins) forced too many shots (Friday night)," Smart said. "He needs to start taking those shots that are available. That's what David West does. West takes the open shots."

The Kings' 4-11 start is a surprise to Smart.

"Our record could be turned around," he said, "or at least I thought it would have been. I thought we had type of capability. But we have not been doing what we need to do to get there. So it's back to the drawing board."

As has been their custom this season, the Kings fell behind early and spent the better part of the game attempting to rally.

West helped that by showing why he is regarded as one of the game's better clutch front-court scorers. West's assortment of mid-range fadeaway jumpers was more than the Kings could handle.

With Indiana leading, 95-92, the Kings had a chance to tie, but Marcus Thornton missed a 25-foot, three-point attempt with five seconds left.

George Hill made two free-throws with 2.9 seconds to ice the game. Hill scored 25 points and had eight assists to support West's performance.

The Pacers held a 43-40 halftime lead as West carried them offensively with 15 points, nine in the second quarter.

The Kings grabbed their first lead of the second quarter at 32-31 on an uncontested lay-in by little-used veteran Francisco Garcia with 4:57 left in the period. But the Kings could not get control of the contest and Hill tossed in a 23-foot bank shot at the buzzer for the lead.

Garcia and Cousins each scored nine points in the first half.

Indiana's superb defense limited the Kings to seven points during the game's first nine minutes. Not only was it difficult to score, Sacramento rarely mustered a quality shot attempt.

The Pacers weren't scoring at a high rate, either, but held an 18-7 lead with three minutes left in the first. Kings guard Jimmer Fredette came off the bench to score six points and assist on another basket to get Sacramento within 20-17.

Both teams shot 7-of-21 (33 percent) in the first quarter.

NOTES: The Kings have been successful in two critical statistics, but don't have much to show. They rank second in the league in points in the paint (47.1 per game). Also, they have made fewer turnovers than their opponents in nine of their past 10 games entering Friday night. The Kings were 3-7 in those games. ... The Pacers entered the game allowing a league-low 91.2 points per game. ... Kings swingman Tyreke Evans missed his first game of the season with a sore left knee. Smart said he believes Evans will play tonight in Los Angeles against the Clippers.