After signing free agent centre Andrew Bynum on Saturday, Indiana held off Brooklyn for a 97-96 victory to improve to an NBA-best 22-2 at home this season.
Indiana Pacers nip Brooklyn Nets as Andrew Bynum arrival awaits
INDIANAPOLIS, United States // The Indiana Pacers’ bench didn’t provide much in Saturday night’s 97-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Danny Granger, Luis Scola, CJ Watson and Ian Mahinmi combined to shoot just 4-of-18 for 16 points. None played more than Watson’s 18:33.
“We’ve got to figure out something to get a better rhythm with that group,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
Maybe the arrival of Andrew Bynum will help.
Hours after the Pacers signed the free-agent centre for the rest of the season, Indiana overcame an early deficit and held off the Nets to improve to an NBA-best 22-2 at home.
Bynum wasn’t in the arena – Vogel said before the game that the mercurial big man had returned to Cleveland and hadn’t had a chance to meet his new teammates yet.
But Indiana’s All-Star starter, Paul George, isn’t concerned about Bynum’s reputation.
“I think it increases our chances (of winning a championship),” George said. “A lot of teams have three centres. With us only having two, him being one of the best ones out there, it’s a no-brainer to go after a talented guy like that.”
The Pacers (36-10) eked out the win despite a season-high 24 turnovers that Brooklyn converted into 36 points.
“We didn’t play a great game,” Vogel said. “We’ve got to get under control.”
George and Roy Hibbert both had 20 points for the Pacers, who swept the four-game season series.
Lance Stephenson, left out of the All-Star game despite leading the NBA in triple-doubles, added 14 points for Indiana. David West had 17 points and George Hill scored 10.
“We’ve got to be a little more patient. We’re swinging for the fences a little too much in terms of trying to make some tight interior passes as opposed to making the simple play,” said West, who had a game-high seven assists.
Shaun Livingston scored a season-high 24 points for the Nets, who couldn’t hold an early seven-point lead against the Eastern Conference leaders.
Joe Johnson, an All-Star selection, spent much of the night dueling with Stephenson and scored 16 for Brooklyn, who have lost three straight since starting January with 11 wins in 12 games.
“We play 82 games through the season and you’re going to have your ups and downs, and hopefully you’re ready come play-off time,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.
Stephenson, unhappy he was left off the All-Star team, had words at times with the Brooklyn bench.
“I could care less if it’s personal,” Johnson said. “He needs to talk it over with the coaches. I’ve got nothing to do with it.”
Paul Pierce scored 15 points, Deron Williams added 13 and Kevin Garnett had 12 for the Nets, who were coming off a 120-95 loss at home to Oklahoma City on Friday night.
“The guys were active tonight and we got our hands on some balls and we turned them over,” Kidd said. “We didn’t capitalise as well as we wanted, but definitely an improvement from what we did the night before.”
West scored seven points in the fourth quarter, hitting five of six free throws to help the Pacers hold on.
“David always comes through when we need him most,” George said. “He shines in those moments. He really picks us up in those moments.”
Brooklyn tied the score at 76 on Livingston’s two free throws with 10 minutes left, but Hibbert converted a three-point play and Indiana led the rest of the way.
OTHER SATURDAY RESULTS
Heat 106, Knicks 91
Lebron James scored 30 points, narrowly missing a triple-double, to lead the Miami Heat to 106-91 win over the New York Knicks.
James also had eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
The Heat (33-13) won for the sixth time in their last eight games.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (19-28) with 26 points.
Wizards 96, Thunder 81
Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant’s return to his hometown ended rudely as All-Star guard John Wall and the Washington Wizards snapped the Thunder’s 10-game winning streak with a 96-81 victory.
Wall had 17 points, 15 assists and six steals for the Wizards (23-23), who pulled away from the Western Conference-leading Thunder (38-11) with a 27-11 second-half run.
Forward Trevor Ariza scored 18 points.
Durant, who was born in Washington and raised in the nearby Maryland suburbs, scored 26 points, but lacked consistency with his usually potent shot.
The NBA’s leading scorer missed all six of his three-point attempts and finished 8-of-21 from the field.
Pistons 113, 76ers 96
Centre Andre Drummond led five players in double figures, four of whom scored at least 20 points, to help the Detroit Pistons (19-27) earn a lopsided 113-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers (15-33).
Drummond scored 22 points and added 14 rebounds, forward Greg Monroe had 21 points and 12 rebounds, point guard Brandon Jennings and forward Kyle Singler each scored 20 points and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12 points for the Pistons.
Tony Wroten, filling in for injured guard Michael Carter-Williams who sat out the game with shoulder soreness, led five Philadelphia players in double-figures by scoring 18 points.
Hawks 120, Timberwolves 113
Forward Kevin Love scored 43 points but it was not enough to finally get the Minnesota Timberwolves a victory in Atlanta.
Guard Kyle Korver had 17 points in the second half and the Hawks (25-21) won for the 11th successive time over Minnesota (23-24) at home with a 120-113 victory.
Korver, who was 3-for-5 from behind the arc, scored 24 points, and forward Paul Millsap had 20 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with four minutes to play.
Pelicans 88, Bulls 79
Forward Anthony Davis scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds and blocked six shots to lift the New Orleans Pelicans (20-26) to an 88-79 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Playing with a dislocated left index finger on his non-shooting hand, Davis did not seem bothered as he made 10-of-14 shots, including three mid-range jumpers in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls (23-23) were led by guard DJ Augustin’s 23 points.
Grizzlies 99, Bucks 90
Memphis gave rookie Nick Calathes the first NBA start of his career and he rewarded the Grizzlies with career highs in points (22), made three-pointers (four) and rebounds (five) in a 99-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was a sixth successive win and 11th in their last 12 games for Memphis (26-20), who got another double-double from power forward Zach Randolph (23 points, 10 rebounds).
Milwaukee (8-39) lost their sixth in a row and are now 1-15 in 2014.
Spurs 95, Kings 93
Forward Tim Duncan had 23 points and 17 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs (34-13) to a 95-93 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Guard Tony Parker scored 18 points and made 10 assists and Duncan added five assists and two blocks as San Antonio snapped a three-game losing streak.
Sacramento (15-32), at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, were led by guard Isaiah Thomas with 26 points.
Suns 105, Bobcats 95
Phoenix guard Goran Dragic scored 15 of the Suns’ first 23 points in their 105-95 win over the Charlotte Bobcats (21-28).
He finished with 25 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the field. Phoenix improved to 29-18, sixth-best in the West.
Trail Blazers 106, Raptors 103
Three Portland players scored at least 20 points to overcome a big night by Toronto All-Star selection DeMar DeRozan and a furious secnod-half comeback attempt by the Raptors.
LaMarcus Aldridge, a Western Conference All-Star scored 27, and Damian Lillard, Portland’s other selection to the game, scored 21, with Wesley Matthews also pitching in 21 for the Blazers (34-13).
Portland led by 17 at the half, but Toronto cut the lead to nine at the start of the fourth quarter and went on a 16-2 run that actually gave them a 103-102 lead with 25 seconds left.
Damian Lillard scoerd with 11 seconds left to retake the lead for Portland, though, and Nicolas Batum hit two free throws to ice it.
DeRozan scored 36 points on 14-of-29 shooting and added 12 assists to lead the Raptors (25-22).
Clippers 102, Jazz 87
Blake Griffin scored 25 and pulled down 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 14 rebounds as the Clippers (34-16) cruised to a comfortable victory.
Jamal Crawford added a game-high 27 points off the bench.
Turkish centre Enes Kanter continued a breakout stretch for the Jazz (16-31) with 23 points and 14 rebounds.