Pacers 94, Warriors 91
Just about everything George Hill tried to do to stop Golden State's Monta Ellis failed - until it counted most for Indiana's backup guard.
With Ellis positioning himself for the potential game-winning shot and the clock winding down, Hill literally stepped in the way and saved his team from again getting burned by the Warriors' star guard.
Hill knocked the ball away from Ellis when it bounced off his foot then scored on a three-point play with 1.8 seconds remaining and the Pacers held off a late charge to beat the Warriors 94-91 on Friday night.
It was very reminiscent of the last time these two teams played at Oracle Arena when Ellis made a game-winner against Indiana on a last-second shot.
This time it was Hill who came up with the big play.
''I forced him into some really tough shots all game but him being a great player, they went in his favor and dropped,'' Hill said. ''I just tried to stick with it. What goes around sometimes comes around.''
Hill's heroics saved the Pacers from blowing another fourth-quarter lead.
Two nights earlier, Indiana let a 14-point lead slip away and managed just eight points in the final 12 minutes of a 92-88 loss to Sacramento.
The Pacers only led by four in the fourth this time then had to hold on after Ellis nearly brought Golden State back.
''Monta was hitting some terribly difficult shots with good defense on him and that's all we could have asked of George Hill,'' Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. ''When it came down to it, he (isolated) him at the top of the key and made the play of the game.''
Although he was credited with a steal, replays showed that the ball actually hit off Hill's foot before bouncing away.
Hill quickly retrieved it then raced the length of the floor for a layup. He was fouled by Stephen Curry and made the free throw for the final margin.
Golden State called a quick timeout and got the ball to Curry coming out of the break, but his 29-footer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim.
''It was a tough missed call,'' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. ''Clearly he kicked the ball. But at the end of the day you don't blame the refs, you blame our team. We should have taken better care of the ball.''
Indiana had dropped four straight games on the road at Oracle Arena before Hill's late heroics. Hill, who also blocked a 3-point attempt by Ellis at the end of the first quarter, finished with 14 points.
Danny Granger had 26 points, and Roy Hibbert added 10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for Indiana, which has won four of five. The Pacers (10-4) are off to their best start since opening the 2003-04 season 13-1.
Ellis finished with 25 points and six assists, while Curry had 12 points in his first game in more than two weeks for Golden State (5-10).
David West added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers.
''It's tough to come in here and win,'' Hill said. ''They've beat some pretty good teams and coach Jackson has them playing well. Luckily the basketball gods were on our side.''
This one almost slipped through the Pacers' hands, too.
Granger went into the night averaging 30.5 points over his previous eight games against Golden State and picked up where he left off in the first of two matchups with the Warriors this season.
Indiana's leading scorer, Granger made five of his first seven shots and had 12 points and two assists in the first quarter when the Pacers repeatedly set up shop inside the paint.
Hill added five points and also blocked Ellis' long range shot at the buzzer to keep Indiana's lead at 27-23.
Curry, who played with a heavily taped ankle, showed obvious rust after not playing for 16 days and missed his first four shots before knocking down a pair of long jumpers as part of a 13-4 surge - while four Golden State starters were on the bench.
Dorrel Wright followed by scoring the Warriors' final seven points in the period, including a tying 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.
The two teams traded leads for much of the third quarter until Golden State's big came up big again and outscored Indiana 8-2 over the final 1:27 to give the Warriors a 69-67 lead heading into the fourth.
Wright added 18 points and five rebounds for the Warriors, who have dropped nine of 12.
The Pacers tried to pull away and led by four with 2 minutes remaining but let it slip away before Hill's big play.
Notes: The crowd of 17,621 was the lowest at Oracle Arena this season. ... Warriors C Andres Biedrins had one block to tie George Johnson for seventh-most (507) in franchise history. ... The 25 lead changes in the game are an NBA-high this season.