Buddy Hield dropped a team-high 21 points on his former team and the Indiana Pacers took advantage of the absence of De’Aaron Fox to hold off the Sacramento Kings 107-104 in Indianapolis on Friday night.
Myles Turner logged 14 points and 13 rebounds and Aaron Nesmith added 17 points for the Pacers, who were playing the second day of a back-to-back set that opened with a 112-111 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Following a video tribute that welcomed him back after he was traded by the Pacers to the Kings last February, Domantas Sabonis put up 15 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and six assists for Sacramento, which saw a two-game winning streak come to an end. Indiana had lost 11 of its previous 12 games.
The Kings were without Fox, who had contributed 32 and 31 points to the club’s most recent wins at Minnesota and San Antonio, respectively, for personal reasons. Fox found out Thursday night he was not among the seven reserves selected to the All-Star Game from the Western Conference.
The Pacers, who led most of the way, went up 107-101 on a Nesmith 3-pointer with 2:55 to go. They never scored again, but as it turned out, they didn’t need to.
Terence Davis cut the deficit in half with a trey of his own at the 2:00 mark before defense dominated. The Kings got just three more possessions, and they resulted in a Malik Monk shot that was blocked by Turner, a turnover and a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Harrison Barnes that was off the mark with 9.1 seconds left.
Nesmith rebounded the miss and the Pacers were able to run out the clock to snap a four-game losing streak.
After the hosts took a 12-point lead into halftime and extended it to 79-60 with a 17-4 burst in the third quarter, the Kings chipped away. Sacramento got within 85-80 on a Davis 3-pointer in the final minute of the third, then within 95-94 on a Barnes trey with 6:31 to play.
But Sacramento never got over the hump, thanks in part to being outscored 51-39 on 3-pointers, with Hield going 5-for-9 from long distance.
Tyrese Haliburton, who went from Sacramento to Indiana in the Sabonis trade, contributed 10 points, a game-high nine assists and three steals to the Pacers’ win. Bennedict Mathurin chipped in with 14 points off the bench.
Barnes paced the Kings with 23 points, while Kevin Huerter had 16, Davis 15, Monk 12 and Chimezie Metu 10.