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Pacers have to hand it to Hansbrough in win over Cavs

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The Indiana Pacers were playing without veteran power forward David West on Monday night.

Coach Frank Vogel just looked down his deep bench and turned to backup Tyler Hansbrough.

Hansbrough, in just his second start of the season, had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Pacers' 111-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers before an announced crowd of 13,016 at Quicken Loans Arena.

"Tyler Hansbrough is a starter in this league that we have coming off the bench," Vogel said.

The Pacers had five players score in double figures. Small forward Gerald Green had a team-high 20 points and six rebounds.

"I was just trying to win the basketball game," Green said. "It's not about my moment. It's about us winning. (We're) trying to win this division title."

All-Star forward Paul George added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Pacers (41-26) are the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They also got 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert.

Cavs coach Byron Scott said the difference in the game was the aggressiveness of the Pacers' big men.

"It all starts inside," he said. "All those guys are more physical than our guys."

Guard Dion Waiters said the Cavs (22-45) just didn't come into the game with the right frame of mind.

"They were physical," he said. "They battled. They fought. They out-toughed us.

"If we have to foul hard, we have to foul hard. We have to let them know it's not going to be easy. They came into our house and beat us down."

The Cavs were already short-handed, missing center Anderson Varejao (knee surgery) and guard Kyrie Irving (sprained left shoulder).

Waiters played the entire first quarter and wasn't heard from again. He was knocked out of the game with a sore left knee.

"It's been lingering the last couple of games and it just wasn't feeling right tonight," Waiters said. "I came in the back and the doctor said we'll find out tomorrow."

He said it's too early to say if he'll be able to face the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Waiters hadn't complained of any soreness in his knee before Monday. He had four points and two assists before taking a seat.

The three missing players combine to score 52 points a game. Not that there's ever a good time to face the Heat, but the Cavs might be in serious trouble on Wednesday.

So, what happens with 48.4 seconds left in the third quarter? Cavs center Marreese Speights horse-collared George around the neck. He was slapped with a Flagrant-2 foul and ejected from the game.

Speights didn't hang around long enough to speak to the media. He dressed and was out of the arena in a flash.

"Any time you grab someone around the neck, they are going to eject you," Scott said. "I didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do."

Scott said he wasn't embarrassed by his team's effort against the Pacers.

"We played a very good team," he said. "They took it to us right from the get-go. This will be good for us to go against playoff-type teams. Our focus has to be there for 48 minutes."

Cavs swingman C.J. Miles led all scorers with 21 points. Fourteen of his points came in the second quarter.

Power forward Tristan Thompson posted his 25th double-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Ten of his points came in garbage time.

"We got our (butt)-kicked," Thompson said. "We didn't come out with any fight. We took the first hit and couldn't recover. We have to come out and throw the first punch."

If Waiters can't play Wednesday, the Cavs could be in serious trouble.

"(I'm not going to do much but) go home tonight and pray," Scott said.

NOTES: West is listed as day to day. "There's a chance he plays (Tuesday)," Vogel said. "His back is really bothering him." ... Vogel said Green has earned more minutes. "It's time to give Gerald his opportunity," he said. ... Pacers forward Danny Granger might be close to returning to the lineup. "He's resumed activity," Vogel said. "He'll get a lot of work this week. We'll see where he is at the end of the week." ... Cavs forward Luke Walton became the third Cleveland player to wear a protective mask this season. An X-ray on Monday at Cleveland Clinic revealed a broken nose, an injury that occurred in the San Antonio game on Saturday. Tyler Zeller and Irving also wore masks. ... It seems like two or three times a week, the Cavs send power forward Kevin Jones to the NBA Development League to get some playing time. He was recalled Monday. ... With Hibbert in the middle, the Pacers can close off the lane in a hurry. "They clog up the lane well with Hibbert," Scott said. "They are just a very good solid defensive team. They want you to be a jump-shooting team and they want to contest them. They have some giants in the lane. They are going to be handful for somebody in the playoffs."
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