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Pacers-Bobcats Preview

AP - Sports

The Indiana Pacers overcame a slow start and the absence of leading scorer Paul George to get past the Charlotte Bobcats over the weekend.

With George having returned, the Pacers are hoping another matchup against the lowly Bobcats will help them end a three-game road losing streak Tuesday night.

Indiana (23-15) earned its 10th straight home win Saturday, 96-88 over Charlotte, but missed its first 10 shots in that game and had to overcome the loss of George to an illness.

David West helped make up for his absence by recording his first career triple-double: 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Pacers, though, once again couldn't keep their momentum going after sweeping a four-game homestand and fell 97-86 at Brooklyn the next day. Indiana led by six after three quarters but was outscored 28-11 in the final period.

The Pacers had won seven of 10 away from home before their current road skid.

"We stopped executing and we lost our composure," said West, who had a team-best 27 points. "We let them get going early and once they got the ball rolling, the game slipped out of our reach. We had opportunities, we just lost our composure and did not get it done down the stretch."

George, averaging career highs of 16.9 points and 7.6 rebounds, recorded a personal-best third straight double (15 points, 12 boards) in his return. He's registering 22.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest during that stretch.

"It was a little tough getting around. My legs took some time but overall, I felt good. I should be OK and the team suggests that I stay on medication," George said.

George had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists during a visit to Charlotte on Nov. 2 but he was also one of only two starters to score in double figures in a 90-89 loss. The Pacers didn't score over the final two minutes as their nine-game win streak in the series was snapped.

That season-opening victory was part of a 7-5 start for Charlotte, but the Bobcats have only two wins over their last 25 games. They've also dropped 12 in a row at home since a 98-97 win over Toronto on Nov. 21, and are two shy of matching their franchise-worst 14-game skid to end last season.

Charlotte (9-28) lost its fourth in a row overall Monday, 100-89 in Boston. The Bobcats rallied from an 18-point deficit to tie that game in the third quarter but fell behind for good after allowing the Celtics to score seven consecutive points.

"You can't lay down. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you," coach Mike Dunlap said. "You have to come every night and compete and hope for the best."

Leading scorer Kemba Walker endured one of his worst shooting performances of the season, going 4 for 16 and finishing with 12 points. Walker, averaging 17.4 points, scored 30 against the Pacers in November.

Indiana's Lance Stephenson is averaging 16.0 points in the two matchups with Charlotte, his highest against any opponent. He left Sunday's game with a foot injury, however, and his status is uncertain.

In Saturday's meeting, former Bobcats guard D.J. Augustin matched a season high with 18 points and George Hill had a team-best 19.

Ben Gordon led Charlotte with 21 points after averaging 8.3 in his previous six matchups.

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