|Date of game: 2/28/2013
Recap: Indiana vs. LA Clippers
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Chris Paul scored 29 points, handed out eight assists and stymied Indiana's late comeback to help the Los Angeles Clippers hand the surging Pacers a 99-91 home loss.
The Pacers had won five straight by an average of 24 points and last suffered a regulation defeat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 7 against the Nuggets.
The Clippers ended the impressive run by forcing 20 turnovers and holding off a late push led by Paul George to earn their seventh win in their last eight games.
Jamal Crawford scored 23 points, while Blake Griffin added 18 with 14 rebounds for LA, which has already clinched back-to-back winning seasons.
George scored eight of his 20 points in the final 5:22, but Indiana, which was playing without suspended center Roy Hibbert, still came up short. David West and Lance Stephenson checked in with 22 and 16 points, respectively, in the setback.
George made two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws during a 13-0 flurry that cut a 17-point deficit to a 91-87 game with under three minutes to play.
Paul quelled the surge with a fadeaway, and after West answered with a jumper, the All-Star Game MVP drove the lane for another two for a 95-89 lead with 1:57 to play.
George missed from long range on Indiana's next possession, and Paul sealed the outcome when he beat Stephenson off the dribble and dropped in a floater over West in the final minute.
"Chris made some unbelievable plays down the stretch. He's a closer and we're lucky to have him," Crawford said.
The Pacers committed more turnovers in the first half (15) then they averaged per game coming in (14.5). The miscues led to 17 points and allowed the Clippers to lead most of the way heading into halftime.
"You can't win when it's a 15-5 turnover differential (in the first half)," George said. "It's just something we have to learn from."
Los Angeles held a nine-point cushion late in the second quarter, though West hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cut Indiana's deficit to 49-47 at the break.
Indiana cleaned up its poor ball handling in the third and led, 60-59, following a Stephenson dunk in transition near the midway point.
But Griffin, who threw down a highlight-reel dunk while being fouled earlier in the frame, scored six points during an 11-1 spurt that gave the visitors a 70-61 lead it never relinquished.
The margin was 76-69 heading to the fourth, and the Pacers went cold from the field, missing 12 of their first 13 shots as the Clippers extended their advantage to 89-72 with 7:06 remaining.Game Notes
The Clippers improved to 32-2 when leading after the first quarter. They owned
a 26-25 lead at the end the opening frame ... The Pacers had won 19 of their
previous 21 home games, with the two losses coming in overtime ... Pacers
forward Danny Granger, in his third game of the season after missing time with
a balky knee, scored 12 points ... Hibbert served a one-game suspension for
his involvement in a melee with the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night ...
The Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak in Indianapolis.