Memphis, TN – The top two defenses in the NBA were on full display Monday in the annual Martin Luther King Day game.
George Hill split a pair of go-ahead free throws with 1.4 seconds left in the Indiana Pacers' 82-81 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rudy Gay banked in a difficult shot at the top of the key over the outstretched arms of Paul George following a timeout, but Gay didn't get the shot off in time.
Indiana allowed 89.3 points per game coming in, while Memphis gave up 89.6 points per contest. The tilt featured 19 lead changes and 10 ties.
George was an assist shy of a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine helpers for the Pacers, who have won 16 of their last 21 games since a sluggish start.
"We know how hard Memphis is to beat in this building. They're one of the top five or six teams in the whole league. This is a good confidence builder for us," Indiana forward David West said.
Wayne Ellington had 17 points off the bench to lead Memphis, which has dropped four of its last six contests.
"We knew it was going to be a defensive battle and it was going to be a tough game. They made plays down the stretch," Memphis guard Tony Allen said.
After Mike Conley's 3-pointer from the right wing capped a 9-2 spurt for a one-point Memphis edge, George came back with a triple from the left wing to put the Pacers back on top, 81-79, with 1:42 to go.
Hill lost the ball out of bounds at the other end and the Grizzlies needed four tries before tying the score.
Allen's layup was blocked by Roy Hibbert, but got his own rebound before Gay missed a fallaway jumper that was well defended by George. Allen again snatched the board, but Conley's driving layup was blocked, again by Hibbert.
Hibbert corralled the ball momentarily, but Allen stripped him from behind and fed Zach Randolph for a layup and an 81-81 deadlock with 10.5 ticks remaining.
Hill, though, was fouled by Conley on a drive to the bucket on Indiana's ensuing possession. He misfired on his first foul shot before swishing the second.
Memphis took a slim 27-26 advantage after a quarter of play, but Indiana outscored the hosts 17-12 in the second before taking a 43-39 cushion into the break.
The Pacers led 65-63 after three.
Indiana turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 18 points ... West had five blocks and Hibbert added four swats ... Hill finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists ... Indiana snapped a four-game losing streak in Memphis.