SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- David West follows a simple offensive approach, and it's been working quite well lately.
West had 31 points and 11 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers edge the Sacramento Kings 97-92 on Friday night.
The forward was 13 for 20 from the field and 5 for 7 at the line in his season-best scoring performance. He is averaging 23 points over the last five games, four of them Indiana victories.
"I'm just trying to continue to build on every game and get a good comfort level," said West, who also had two assists and blocked two shots against the Kings. "I only take shots I practice and that I'm comfortable with. I felt a rhythm tonight and I got it going early."
West has become the Pacers' go-to guy in the absence of Danny Granger, who is out with an ailing left knee and might not be back until February.
"David is veteran savvy, and has all the moves, all the tricks," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "He's a horse. Last year he came to us and had a fit-in mentality. He does whatever it takes to win. With Danny (Granger) out we need him to score and that's what he's been doing."
"I'm getting better as a point guard, but it's still a work in progress," Hill said. "I had been struggling with my shot, but my teammates said to keep shooting. Tonight I was being aggressive and the shots were falling."
It was a much more difficult night for DeMarcus Cousins, who had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Kings despite a lacklustre shooting performance. Cousins repeatedly passed up perimeter shots and drove to the basket against towering Pacers centre Roy Hibbert.
Cousins was 5 for 17 from the field and has struggled in two games this season against Hibbert.
"Yes, he forced too many shots tonight," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "He needs to start taking those shots that are available. That's what David West does. West takes the open shots."
Thornton missed a long 3-pointer that would have tied it with 5 seconds left. Hill secured the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws with 2.9 seconds left, giving Indiana a 97-92 lead.
"It felt good going up, but I just missed the shot," Thornton said. "My teammates and coaches had confidence to get the ball in my hands. I wish I could have it back."
Sacramento used Thornton's two free throws to pull within two with 11.5 seconds left. After a timeout, Hill was fouled on the inbounds play and made one of two foul shots for a 95-92 lead.
The Kings played without Tyreke Evans, their leading scorer over the past five games. Evans, who leads the team in assists and is the second-leading scorer, missed his first game of the season due to a bruised left knee.
Cousins tried to rally Sacramento to a victory. He hit four straight free throws and John Salmons added two more, trimming Indiana's lead to 88-84 with 3:04 left.
The Pacers responded with six straight points. West scored, Young made a corner jumper, and West followed with a 15-footer to make it 94-88 with 56 seconds remaining.
It was a frustrating game for Jason Thompson, who got into foul trouble guarding West and finished with three points, three rebounds and four fouls in 22 minutes.
"Unfortunately for me, I got in foul trouble and couldn't put my presence on him like I've done in the past," Thompson said. "But he was making shots even though they were tough shots. When you got it going like that everything you shoot is going to go in."
West scored 15 in the first half to help Indiana take a narrow 43-40 lead into the break. Using a variety of moves in the paint, he added 10 more points and five rebounds in the third quarter.
The Kings used consecutive 3s from Thornton and Brooks, followed by a Cousins basket, to grab a 61-58 lead midway through the period. Following a timeout, West had a three-point play and DJ Augustine made a corner 3 to give the Pacers a 64-61 advantage.
Indiana led by five after three, and Hill and Young connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the advantage to 80-71 at the 8:29 mark in the fourth.
NOTES: The Kings missed 14 of their first 17 shots. Fredette came in and scored six points in the final 36 seconds to get the Kings within three at 20-17 heading into the second quarter. ... Receiving some rare playing time, Garcia made his first two shots and scored nine points in the second quarter. He entered the game shooting 23 per cent (4 of 17). ... In two games this season matched up against Hibbert, Cousins has missed 30 of 44 shots. The Pacers won the first game Nov. 3 in double overtime.