The Indiana Pacers won their sixth game in their past seven outings with a 104-98 triumph over the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 22. The Warriors played without point guard Stephen Curry, who had an injured ankle.
The Indiana Pacers' surge toward a possible playoff spot continued on Sunday when they beat the Golden State Warriors, 104-98.
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Shooting guard Rodney Stuckey shook off a left-ankle injury he sustained in Indiana's road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 20 to score 30 points off the bench and secure the Pacers' second straight win after the All-Star break, per Wheat Hotchkiss of the Pacers' official website. Stuckey, who has been averaging 25.3 points in the three games he moved back to the bench, also chipped in with four rebounds and five assists.
Stuckey actually convinced Pacers head coach Frank Vogel to make him a sparkplug off the bench, per Hotchkiss. Stuckey said,"I can do a lot more things (coming off the bench). Create for myself and actually look for my teammates. I thought it was just a better fit for me."
Stuckey's buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third quarter was a very good omen for Indiana, which built a seven-point lead in the fourth before the Warriors stormed back on an 8-0 run to take the lead with just a little over five minutes left to play, per Hotchkiss.
It was the last time Golden State would be out in front.
Stuckey stymied the Warriors' rally when he scored on a layup and passed to power forward David West to put the Pacers ahead to stay. Golden State inched within a point on two separate occasions, but Indiana would counter with a three-pointer each time, says Hotchkiss. George Hill made a triple with 2:07 remaining to make it 98-94 in favor of the Pacers while C.J. Miles made his own trifecta with just 26.5 seconds left for a 101-97 count for Indiana.
Four other Pacers recorded double-digit performances to support Stuckey. Miles had 13 points while Hill and C.J. Watson each had 12 apiece. Backup power forward Luis Scola was also a key contributor off the bench with his 11 points and eight boards, per Hotchkiss.
With the win, the Pacers upped their record to 23-33 on the season. Scola told Hotchkiss his team is creeping toward its goal of making the playoffs:
"We're getting closer to the playoffs, which was our ultimate goal, but we're playing better and we're winning games and we're feeling better. Everything is flowing better and it looks more natural, so we're happy. If we play this way, good things will happen."
Indiana has now won six of its past seven games, all with George Hill back as the starting point guard, notes The Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner.
According to Pacers.com, Warriors All-Star point guard Stephen Curry sat the game out due to a sore ankle. In spite of his absence, his backcourt mate Klay Thompson was a one-man wrecking crew as he poured in 39 points. Golden State's second-leading scorer was Andre Iguodala with 14.
Thompson told Hotchkiss not having Curry was not an excuse for the Warriors. He said,"(We struggled) a little bit because we were without Steph out there, but that's no excuse. We're limited not having our point guard, but at the same time, we've got plenty of guys that can fill the role, do it collectively."
Golden State took control early, establishing a 38-26 lead after one quarter, per Hotchkiss. Thompson scored 15 points while Iguodala scored eight. The 38 points were the most Indiana has given up all season long in the first period.
The Pacers made amends for their poor defensive showing in the first quarter when they went on a 20-6 run in the second period to take the lead. It was a see-saw battle from there on out, per Hotchkiss.
Buckner says Thompson did score 39 points, but the Pacers actually held the Warriors to just 38 percent shooting from the field. On the other hand, Indiana, a team known mostly for its defense, has scored at least 100 points in eight of its last 11 games.
Despite the Warriors' win-loss record slipping to 43-10, they are still the No. 1-ranked team in the Western Conference.
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