SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan has emphasized to his team the need for them to become more stalwart on the road. On one of the most memorable nights of his career, McMillan saw just what he wanted.
"That's what we want to do," he said after the Pacers overcame a 22-point deficit in a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center. "This is road tough."
The Kings are about to find out just how tough life might get. Sacramento lost six out of seven on a season-long homestand and now heads out on an eight-game road trip without forward Rudy Gay, their second-leading scorer.
Gay, according to the team, tore his left Achilles' tendon with 14.3 seconds left in the third quarter on a drive to the basket. An MRI exam scheduled for Thursday is expected to confirm the diagnosis, the team said.
"Obviously, it was on our minds," forward Arron Afflalo said. "But that's still no excuse to blow that game."
Indiana's rally and Sacramento's double loss emphasized the different directions in which the teams seem to be headed. The Pacers (22-19) won for the seventh time in their past eight contests. The Kings (16-25) have lost three in a row and eight of 10 since a season-best four-game winning streak.
Against Indiana, they built a 60-38 and took a 19-point advantage into halftime. They still led 70-53 with 16 minutes left in the contest, only to be outscored 53-30 the rest of the way.
"Certainly a tale of two halves," Kings coach Dave Joerger said. "They came out and were much more aggressive in the second half. We struggled. ... They came out and played with a lot more energy in the second half, and we, for one reason or another, did not come with as much force as we did to start the game."
Paul George finished with 24 points to pace Indiana, which rallied by making 22 of 34 shots (64.7 percent) from the field after halftime. The converted 52 percent overall and have now topped 50 percent in each of their past six victories.
"We just had to gut and grind," George said. "That's all it comes down to, staying sound and solid, and one basket at a time."
DeMarcus Cousins had his first triple-double of the season for Sacramento with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. However, he scored only six in the second half while not making any of his nine shots from the field and committing six turnovers.
"In the second half, we scrapped, we took it one possession at a time defensively, and we just fought our way back," McMillan said. "With Cousins, we wanted to mix coverages. Guys did a good job bodying him and mixing up the double-teams."
The Pacers took the lead for the first time since 5-3 in the first quarter when Myles Turner made two free throws with 1:56 left for a 99-98 advantage. Cousins committed his sixth and final second-half turnover on Sacramento's next possession, and George's jumper made it 101-98. A Turner dunk with 17 seconds left increased the margin to 104-99, and George made two free throws with 6.2 seconds left to close the scoring.
Indiana outscored Sacramento 35-21 in the final period and by doing o reversed course from their recent struggles to close games. They also gave McMillan his 500th win as a head coach. He joined San Antonio's Greg Popovich, the Los Angeles Clippers' Doc Rivers and Dallas' Rick Carlisle as the only active coaches with that many.
"It's a blessing," he said.
Gay injured himself when he tried to drive the baseline and fell in a heap. Teammates and trainers helped him off the court, and he needed crutches and a walking boot to get around after the game.
He is expected to have surgery to repair the tendon but a timeframe hasn't been announced yet by the team. Gay, a free agent after the season, potentially may have played his final game for Sacramento.
"As a team, we'll keep competing. We'll compete for him," Afflalo said. "He'll bounce back."
Gay finished with 21 points.
NOTES: Kings reserve G Ty Lawson missed the game because of a left ankle sprain sustained late in Sacramento's loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday. Reserve F Omri Casspi also sat out with a strained tendon in a calf. Lawson might be back to start the road trip, but Casspi could be out as long as two weeks, the team said. ... The Pacers are in the middle of a five-game stretch, four of them on the road, that will see them cover 10,716 miles before they touch down at home Monday. ... The Kings' eight-game road trip will be their longest since an eight-game run late in the 2014-15 season. They were supposed to play seven games originally, but Sacramento's Jan. 30 game in Philadelphia will be a makeup for the Nov. 30 game that was postponed because of condensation on the floor. ... The Pacers hit the halfway point on pace to average 100 points for the first time since the 2009-10 season.