INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — George Hill did some extra work before the Indiana Pacers took on the Phoenix Suns, and it paid off right away.
Hill scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, and led the Pacers to a 97-91 victory over the Suns on Friday night.
Paul George had 15 points, and David West added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four straight and seven of eight.
“I came in early and did my `Paul George workout,'” Hill said. “Paul has been telling me, `Hey, get on the gun. Your shot will feel a lot better.’ So I came in a little early today. I got some shots and got into a rhythm, and when I got out on the court it felt pretty good.”
Hill went to the locker room because of a bruised right thigh with 5:35 left in the first quarter, but returned in a big way.
Sebastian Telfair had 19 points and six assists, and Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost four in a row.
West, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, netted the go-ahead jumper to give the Pacers an 87-85 lead with 3:17 left to play after the Suns rallied from a 16-point deficit.
“It wasn’t pretty in the second half, but we got the job done,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’d like blowouts, but we got the `W’ and found a way to win.”
The Pacers led 85-83 before Telfair scored to tie it.
Telfair also got the Suns even at 81 when he scored off a steal with 6:19 left. Jermaine O’Neal then made two free throws to briefly put the Suns ahead.
West sank two foul shots to tie the game and scored again to put Indiana back in front before George went to the line and gave the Pacers an 89-85 lead.
Roy Hibbert put the game away when his two free throws gave the Pacers a 95-89 lead with 47 seconds left.
“We fought hard to come back, but we’re traveling a lot, three games in four days,” Luis Scola said.
Scola scored 12 points for the Suns, who are in a stretch of three straight road games.
“It was just tough trying to close out,” he said. “But I think we really made a game of it.”
The Suns jumped out to an 8-1 lead to start the game, but George dunked with 7:12 left in the first quarter to give the Pacers a lead they wouldn’t give up until the fourth quarter.
“It’s becoming a similar theme every night,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “We start out great and then we get down and we have to fight all the way back. This is hard to do, especially against a quality team and especially against these guys.”
Tyler Hansbrough created a spark in a reserve role for the Pacers and scored 12 points. He scored four points as part of an 8-0 run in the first quarter.
The Pacers later went on a 10-0 run to build their lead up to 16 points. George hit two 3-pointers, and Hill and Lance Stephenson also scored in the run.
Stephenson had 10 points, a career-high nine rebounds, and five assists for the Pacers.
“We played team ball tonight,” Stephenson said. “I just tried to get my teammates involved, let the game come to me and played smart.”
Indiana led 58-44 at halftime.
The Suns went on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter to cut the deficit to 68-60. They eventually got within four late in the third when Telfair hit a 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the quarter.
Beasley scored at the start of the fourth to make it 75-73.
NOTES: Suns rookie Luke Zeller, an Indiana native, isn’t new to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He hit a game-winning shot there in as a senior in high school to win the state finals. … Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, who was selected for the Pro Bowl, was in attendance two days before the Colts will host the Houston Texans in the regular-season finale. … The Suns need two wins to reach 2,000 in franchise history.