INDIANAPOLIS — George Hill scored 18 points including the first four in the second overtime Saturday night, and that was all Indiana's staunch defense needed to close out a 106-98 double overtime victory over Sacramento.
It was downright impressive for a team that has long been known for scoring instead of defense.
But on Saturday night, in their home opener, the Pacers traded jab for jab.
Despite enduring a stretch in which it missed seven consecutive shots in a tie game, Indiana (2-1) never allowed the Kings to take the lead.
In fact, Sacramento managed only three baskets in the final 10:45 and failed to take any lead over the final 35 1/2 minutes of its third consecutive road game.
And it came one night after the Pacers suffered an embarrassing loss in Charlotte.
The hometown fans, who came into this season with high hopes, certainly were not disappointed in Indiana's home opener. The Pacers scrapped and fought, took punches and pushed back in front of a sold-out crowd clad mostly in gold T-shirts.
Hill, the hometown kid, had plenty of help, too. David West finished with 18 points, including the clinching free throws in the second overtime, and had 18 rebounds. Paul George added 16 points and 17 rebounds, and Gerald Green scored 17 points.
Sacramento (0-3) was led by Marcus Thornton with 26 points and DeMarcus Cousins with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Indiana led by 14 at halftime, by eight after three quarters and appeared headed to a relatively smooth victory in the fourth quarter after a late Indiana scoring flurry gave the Pacers an 87-81 lead. But that's when Thornton almost single-handedly rallied the Kings. He tied the score at 91 with a 25-footer with 48.6 seconds left.
Indiana had four shots to win it at the end of regulation, missing each one, and the Kings had a chance, too, but when George cut in front of Thornton on a fast break, Thornton missed the layup.
In overtime, Thornton did it again, tying the score at 96 with a 3 with 26.4 seconds to go. Again, Indiana had multiple chances to win it, but Hill's short runner and Roy Hibbert's putback both bounced off the rim, forcing yet another overtime.
This time, Hill hit the 6-foot runner and was awarded a layup on a goaltending call with 1:44 left to give Indiana a 100-96 lead.
The Pacers defense finally closed it out in Indiana's first double overtime game since Dec. 19, 2008.