Pacers-Warriors Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 01, 2012
David West and David Lee each are coming off season-best scoring performances, helping their respective teams continue their recent surges. West looks to help the Indiana Pacers complete a perfect three-game swing through California against Lee and the Golden State Warriors as each squad seeks a fifth victory in six games Saturday night. The Pacers (8-8) began a four-game road trip with a 79-77 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday before West scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in their 97-92 victory at Sacramento on Friday. George Hill added 25 points and eight assists. "These last two wins our team has really followed the game plan literally in a couple of regards and it's paid off with two big road wins," coach Frank Vogel said. Indiana ranks near the bottom of the league in scoring, averaging 90.8 points and has struggled at times without injured forward Danny Granger, but West's performance helped it get back to .500. The veteran forward hit 13 of 20 shots and is averaging 23.0 points over his last five games. "He's the kind of guy that will do whatever is needed of him to win," Vogel said. "This team right now as constructed with Danny out needs him to score the ball. He's stepping up in a big-time way." West, who is averaging 23.3 points over his last seven games at Golden State, said the Warriors should present a tough challenge before the Pacers conclude their trip at Chicago on Tuesday. "Different monster. They've got a different basketball team, playing well," West said. The Pacers defense, which ranks near the top of the NBA allowing only 91.3 points per game, may have its hands full containing Lee, who is on a hot streak of his own. Like West, Lee had 31 points and 11 boards in his last contest, leading Golden State (9-6) to a 106-105 win over Denver on Monday. He hit 13 of his 15 shots and is averaging 22.3 points while shooting 61.9 percent over his last four. "He's just playing great," coach Mark Jackson said. "(He has the) ability to make plays, whether for himself or for others." Lee, though, knows West and Roy Hibbert should present a difficult challenge for him down low Saturday. "They're both great players," Lee said. "West is playing great and Hibbert is always a threat and a legit 7-footer who can score. It comes down to us defending, out-rebounding them and controlling the paint." The Warriors barely survived Monday, as Denver's Andre Iguodala had a potential winning shot at the buzzer ruled no good after replay review. Klay Thompson scored 21 points and Stephen Curry finished with 20 while Jarrett Jack added 18 off the bench. ''Happy that one was able to go in our favor, but it shouldn't have come down to that," Jack said. "We had a couple mistakes, errors down the stretch that we'll definitely try to clean up in practice.'' Both Lee and West were held in check in the most recent meeting Feb. 28. Lee finished with 12 points while West had 10 as Indiana routed Golden State 102-78 for its third straight win in the series. The Pacers' 94-91 victory Jan. 20 ended a four-game road losing streak to the Warriors.
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