NEW ORLEANS -- Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and Indiana coach Frank Vogel understands better than anyone that his team's 91-86 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday -- a game in which the Pacers nearly imploded with a season-high 25 turnovers -- qualified as a horror movie with a blood-free ending.
"We've got to play better than that, no question about it," Vogel said after the Pacers (21-15) outscored the Pelicans 11-4 in the final 5:14 to pull out their third victory in four games. "I'm not happy with the way we played. I'm happy with the result. We were too sloppy. We were not playing with enough offensive force."
The Pelicans (11-24) played most of the game without All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who dove headfirst into the courtside seats in an attempt to save a loose ball three minutes in. Davis wiped out six seats in the second row and ended up with a bruised lower right back and did not return.
After the game, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry did not give a medical update on Davis.
The Pacers seemed to coast with Davis off the floor. Forward Paul George and guards Monta Ellis and George Hill were a combined 10 of 33 from the floor, including 2 of 10 from long range, and committed 13 of the Pacers' 25 turnovers. George was supposed to play the entire fourth quarter, but Vogel pulled him for four minutes after he committed two turnovers.
"He made a couple of sloppy plays, so I thought he could use a rest," Vogel said.
Indiana got just enough from center Ian Mahinmi, who scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked a career-high four shots.
"Twenty-five turnovers is a ridiculous amount," Vogel said. "We've got to take better care of the basketball, and it starts with playing with more force."
The Pacers trailed 82-80 when Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham hit a short jumper in the lane, but they scored seven consecutive points -- four by Mahinmi -- to take an 87-82 lead with 3:09 left.
The Pacers held the Pelicans scoreless on eight consecutive possessions during the surge. The Pelicans recorded a franchise-record 21 steals, but New Orleans turned the ball over 16 times and did not get closer than three points the rest of the way.
"In a game that wasn't pretty, you take everything," Mahinmi said. "It's hard to win a game with 25 turnovers. That speaks volumes about the defense we played down the stretch."
Evans scored 16 of the Pelicans' 27 points in the third quarter to help New Orleans maintain a 70-68 lead entering the final period. Evans scored only three points in the final quarter. The Pelicans were 5 of 21 from the floor and committed eight turnovers in the period.
Gentry was pleased with his team's 21 steals but not with its execution.
"We played hard," Gentry said. "Now we've got to play smarter. We competed at the level we needed to, but we have to convert. Twenty-five turnovers that we forced, and we got 10 points out of (the turnovers)."
NOTES: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry inserted SF Dante Cunningham into the starting lineup in place of Alonzo Gee, who scored 12 points in his previous five games. "This has nothing to do with Alonzo's play," Gentry said. "What we're trying to do is maybe create a little more space and then a little more offense." ... The Pelicans were coming off an ugly 100-91 home loss to Dallas in which the Mavericks rested four starters. "I guess the great thing about the NBA is, if nothing else, you have a short time and then all of a sudden you have another challenge in front of you," Gentry said. ... Pacers coach Frank Vogel said C Ian Mahinmi is becoming more polished. "He gave us rim protection, he's strong on the pick-and-roll defense and he knocked down some free throws in the fourth quarter," Vogel said.