INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David West scored 25 points, Paul George added 22, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Utah Jazz 94-91 on Sunday night for their fifth straight victory.
Indianapolis native Gordon Hayward had 21 points and Derrick Favors scored 17 for the Jazz, nine of them in the first eight minutes as Utah opened a 14-4 lead.
A dunk from Favors cut the Pacers’ lead to 89-86 with a minute left to play, and West missed a jumper to give Utah a chance to tie with 35 seconds remaining. Hayward cut the Indiana lead to one, but Lance Stephenson sank two free throws to seal the win.
Ian Mahinmi came off the bench to score nine points for the Pacers and provide key minutes, as Roy Hibbert struggled to contain Favors.
Utah came out of halftime to score eight unanswered points and force Indiana to call an early timeout. The Pacers retook the lead when Mahinmi was fouled on a layup. Mahinmi made the free throw to put Indiana up 60-58.
CJ Watson, starting for the injured George Hill, scored 13 points for the Pacers. Hill sat out his second straight game with a bruised shoulder.
All night long, Utah buckled under pressure from one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. The Jazz finished with 18 turnovers, which led to 24 points for Indiana.
George went down hard after being fouled on a drive to the basket late in the third quarter. George slammed to the floor and appeared to hit his head, but remained in the game to sink both free throws.
Hayward rebounded from a slow start to put together one of his best games since January. In his fourth time playing in his native city, he shot 8 of 15 from the field after being held scoreless until the beginning of the second period. He scored seven straight points in the third quarter, keeping the Jazz in the game while the rest of the offense sputtered.
Hayward, who led Butler to an NCAA championship game appearance in 2010, averaged 12.2 points on 34.1 shooting in 12 games in February. He came into the game having scored only 21 points in four games in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.