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'Gutsy' Pacers get third win in three days

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Indiana Pacers might have been running on empty Wednesday night, but they still had enough to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 88-69, earning their third victory in as many nights.

"It was a gutsy, gutsy win," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said.

"Most guys didn't have a lot," Pacers forward David West said, "but we were tied together defensively. I thought we made it our kind of game in terms of making them grind out possessions."

Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and West, Paul George and George Hill scored 15 each for the Central Division-leading Pacers (31-19), who because of a rescheduled game Monday are the only NBA team to play three straight days this season. Winners of five straight in all, they limited the Sixers to a season-low point total on 34.4-percent shooting.

"To play Chicago, Atlanta and go on the road and play Philly, that's a tough stretch," George said. "I'm glad we were able to fight through it."

Jrue Holiday scored 19 points to lead the Sixers (21-27) but shot just 7-for-22 from the floor. The Sixers, who saw a three-game winning streak end, did not score more than 21 points in any quarter.

Still without center Andrew Bynum and guard Jason Richardson because of knee injuries, they were also playing their first game without forward Thaddeus Young, who pulled a hamstring in Monday's victory over Orlando.

The Sixers as a result had few answers for a Pacers team that had been allowing opponents to shoot 42.1 percent from the floor. No one in the league was stingier.

"The stats speak for themselves," Hill said.

"We dribbled way too much tonight, did not move the ball side to side," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "They can get you in the mud, and that's what they did tonight."

Hibbert, who said he had been slowed by food poisoning Tuesday, also blocked five shots in the game.

"I tell guys to run (opponents) off the 3-point line and bring them to me," he said. "I'll take care of the D."

Hibbert scored six points in a 19-8 spree early in the third quarter, when the Pacers extended a 37-34 halftime lead to 56-42. Philadelphia was never closer than eight after that.

Lavoy Allen and rookie Arnett Moultrie each scored 12 points for the Sixers. Moultrie's total was a career high.

Hibbert had 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half, when the Pacers assumed a 37-34 lead. Indiana shot just 35.4 percent in the half but limited the Sixers to 31.4-percent shooting.

The Sixers, who were led in the half by Allen with eight points and Dorell Wright with seven, managed just 15 points in the first quarter, matching their lowest output in that period this season.

Their 34 points in the half also matched a season low.

"We just missed shots," Holiday said. "It's happened before. Myself, I feel I tried to do too much. I got myself in trouble sometimes."

NOTES: The Pacers began the night 29th in the league in scoring, at 92.8 points per game, but were averaging 106 over their previous six. Vogel said improved ball movement was the reason. "That's something we've preached all year," he said. "They've really started to embrace it the last four, five,

six games." ... Indiana forward Danny Granger, who has yet to play this season because of a bad left knee, is expected to return later this month. Granger's absence, Vogel said, represented "an opportunity for other guys to step up." He mentioned George, who has emerged as the team's leading scorer in Granger's absence, as one guy who has taken particular advantage, and said he was also impressed with Lance Stephenson's development. Stephenson, a bit player the previous two years, has been a season-long starter. ... When asked before the game when Bynum might be available, Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said, "He said it'd be about 10 days to two weeks." ... A Sixers spokesman refuted a Yahoo Sports report indicating that Richardson was scheduled for season-ending knee surgery, saying no decision has been made on that front. Richardson, who missed his eighth straight game, received a third opinion Wednesday from Dr. Jonathan Glashow at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. The spokesman said Richardson will be examined by another doctor in the near future.
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