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Pacers get back on track with easy win over Magic

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers needed something to get them out of their mini funk.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic had no problem helping them out.

The Pacers followed up their easy victory over the Cavaliers on Monday by beating the Magic 95-73 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday.

"I'm very, very proud of our guys," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It was a great effort, particularly on the defensive end."

Indiana has won two in a row after dropping two straight and four of its last six prior to the Cleveland game.

"These two games were great for us," Pacers swingman Paul George said. "Where we've been slipping is guarding guys. We did a great job the last two games. And we're sharing the ball and we're making plays for one another. We're getting back to playing team ball again."

George had 19 points and five rebounds for the Pacers. Gerald Green added 15 points off the bench for Indiana. Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless had 10 points each for Orlando. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was ejected after picking up two technicals in the second half.

Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough had his second straight double-double game, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds while starting in place of the injured David West (back). Hansbrough is proving that he can be a steady contributor when given extended minutes. He also knows that West is the starter on the team and he'll be ready to contribute off the bench.

"I feel like at times there is more comfort but I know my position on this team," Hansbrough said. "As soon as David gets healthy, I'll go back to my position coming off the bench and try to provide energy."

The Pacers came out looking like a team that was playing its fourth game in five nights. They fell behind by five early. Then it was like they finally realized they were playing the struggling Magic.

Indiana took off on a 14-0 run after that and never looked back. George scored eight points during the run.

The Pacers went back to looking like the best defensive team in the league during the first half after taking some steps back over the past few weeks. They forced the Magic into tough shots on the perimeter and contested almost every shot they took in the paint.

Indiana held the Magic to 26 percent shooting in the first half. The Pacers should have led by more than 13 points at halftime, but they hurt themselves by turning the ball over eight times in the first half.

"They do a good job using their length and clogging things up on both sides of the floor," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "They are too good on both sides of the floor and we just had to work harder."

The Pacers led by as many as 25 points in the second half, allowing Vogel to pull his starters in the fourth quarter and rest them.

NOTES: Pacers small forward Danny Granger has been cleared to resume on-the-court activities after being shut down the past two weeks because of above average soreness in his left knee. He has only played in five games this season. "If his knee responds well, we'll try to get him back in (a game) as soon as we can," coach Frank Vogel said. ... Power forward David West missed his second straight game with a lower-back sprain, which happened in last weekend's game at Philadelphia. ... Orlando forward Tobias Harris, acquired from Milwaukee as part of the J.J. Redick deal last month, went into Tuesday averaging 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in five starts. ... Vogel has moved swingman Gerald Green back in the rotation in place of Sam Young after keeping him on the bench for the past two months.
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