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Will George Hill's return help the Pacers beat the Warriors?
2/23/2015 4:24:00 PM

Will George Hill's return help the Pacers beat the Warriors?

By Mike Neri

The Warriors will begin their longest road trip of the season as they look to sweep the Pacers for the first time since 2000-01. Getting out in transition was the difference in their first meeting against Pacers, who hope that having George Hill, even at less than full strength, can help them counter the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors lead the league in points per game (110.6), average fast-break points (21.3) and average points off turnovers (20.0), while the Indiana Pacers lag considerably behind in those categories, averaging 96.0 points, 9.5 on fast-breaks and 14.2 off turnovers. Golden State also limits opponents to 42.2 percent shooting.

The first meeting between these two teams was tied at halftime before the Warriors pulled away for a 117-102 win on January 7. Golden State enjoyed advantages of 28-11 in fast-break points and 22-7 in points off turnovers. Klay Thompson's play late in the game was vital, as he scored 27 of his 40 points in the second half, helping the Warriors open the third quarter on a 14-1 run.

Indiana will be a better team if George Hill and Roy Hibbert are on the court together. Hill, who is averaging 13.6 points this season, missed the first meeting with a strained left groin while Hibbert was limited to 5:39 minutes of play after landing awkwardly while going for a rebound.

Hill has seen limited minutes recently. He made 2 of 8 shots for seven points in Friday's 106-95 win at Philadelphia but there's another injury concern for them with Rodney Stuckey, who scored a season-high 30 points before leaving with a left ankle injury.

The Pacers have won five of their last six games to move within range of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Warriors begin a six-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents with an NBA-best 16-2 record against them.

Stephen Curry led the way with 25 points and 11 assists and Klay Thompson added 20 points as the Warriors won their fourth straight game, 110-99 over the Spurs on Friday.

Indiana is 7-17 against Western Conference opponents, but Golden State won't take anything for granted, as they have dropped 11 of their last 13 games in Indiana, where they won 98-96 on March 4 after Klay Thompson's winning jumper over George Hill with 0.6 seconds left in the game.


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