Pacers 96, Bobcats 88By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 12, 2013 9:40 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers didn't need Paul George in the lineup to keep their home winning streak intact. The Pacers shook off a slow start in the first quarter to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 96-88 on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The victory extended the Pacers' longest winning streak at home since the 2002 season to 10 games. They haven't loss at home since blowing a 17-point lead in the second half to the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 23. The Pacers are now half a game behind the New York Knicks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. George, the team's leading scorer, missed his first game of the season with the flu. It's uncertain whether he'll play in Sunday's road game against Brooklyn. David West not only produced in the scoring department in George's absence, he did it with rebounding and distributing the ball, too. West posted his first triple-double by finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the franchise's first triple-double in points, rebounds and assists since Derrick McKey did it during the 1995-96 season. Guards George Hill and Lance Stephenson added 19 and 17 points, respectively, for Indiana. Guard Ben Gordon came off the bench to score 21 points in 26 minutes for Charlotte. The Pacers opened the game like they were ready for the Bobcats to beat them for the second time in as many tries this season. The Pacers missed their first 11 shots from the field and dug themselves an early 10-1 hole. But then again, they were playing the struggling Bobcats. The Pacers regrouped and eventually grabbed a brief lead -- 23-22 -- on a Hill 3-pointer with 21 seconds left in the first quarter. The Bobcats managed to go back and forth with the Pacers throughout the first half, even leading by two points at halftime. The Pacers finally took the lead for good at 57-56 on a turnaround jumper from West. The Bobcats closed the gap one more time in the fourth quarter before the Pacers outscored them 20-13 the rest of the way. NOTES: George is the fourth Pacer -- Lance Stephenson, George Hill and Ben Hansbrough were the others -- to miss a game because of the flu this season. Dominic McGuire, who signed a 10-day contract with the Pacers last week, started in George's spot at small forward. ... Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the previous three games. ... The Pacers say this is the best team chemistry that they've had in several years. They also say this is the reason they've been able to get off to a strong start despite being without starting small forward Danny Granger all season. "This is definitely the best team I've been around my three years here," George said. "Before we had a lot of guys going at each other. Everybody had an ego to them in the past. This year, it's all one big ego, and that's putting the team first." ... Center Roy Hibbert returned to the lineup after sitting out most of Thursday's game against the New York Knicks because of back spasms.
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