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Paul George leads Pacers to 101-77 win over Bobcats

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers put an end to their two-game home losing streak and Paul George is headed to his first All-Star game feeling good.

That's a heck of a combination for the Pacers.

George recorded his first career triple-double in the Pacers' 101-77 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday.

"It came in the course of me trying to do whatever I could, not only to win the game but to try to extend the lead," George said.

George, a reserve on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, had 23 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. He walked off the court to a standing ovation with 3:25 left and the Pacers leading by 20 points.

The Pacers have recorded three triple-doubles this season, with the other two coming from Roy Hibbert and David West.

George's performance Wednesday made up for him going 1-of-10 and fouling out in the Pacers' overtime loss to Brooklyn on Monday.

"Paul, that was a beast of a triple-double and only one turnover," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "All players have tough nights. We knew he'd bounce back and have a solid game. He's truly a team-first guy and a big reason why we're 11 games over .500."

George wasn't the only Pacer who was effective Wednesday. Tyler Hansbrough, starting in place of the injured David West, had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Pendergraph scored 10 rebounds and grabbed seven rebounds. Indiana had its ninth game of at least 20 assists in the past 10 games, finishing with 24 assists.

Center Byron Mullens scored a team-high 19 points for Charlotte.

"It was a good first half, crisp, but in the second half we obviously ended up with 18 turnovers, and on the road that's bad," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said.

The Pacers needed to face a team like the Bobcats because they had dropped their past two home games -- both in overtime -- after running off 15 in a row in Indy.

Indiana heads into the All-Star break sitting on top of the Central Division and as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. It comes out of the break facing the New York Knicks, who are currently the second seed, on Feb. 20.

"We got a little confidence (tonight)," Hansbrough said. "We didn't want to go into the (All-Star break) on a three-game losing streak. It was big for us."

The Pacers broke the game open in the fourth quarter. They turned a 10-point lead at the end of the third quarter into a cushion as big as 24 points in the final quarter. The Pacers beat the Bobcats by 27 points last month.

Vogel was able to empty his bench in the in the final minutes.

Indiana had 11 different players score.

The Pacers held the Bobcats to 31.7 percent shooting, the second lowest a team has shot against them this season.

"We've got to get more consistent, especially after getting a good home win the other night," Mullens said. "The break will be good for us. We'll be able to get some rest and come back ready next week."

NOTES: Pacers small forward Danny Granger's season debut has been delayed. He didn't do anything to his left knee, which has kept him out all season. The flu bug struck Granger, causing him to miss Wednesday's game. Barring any setbacks with the rehab with his left knee, Granger will play his first game of the season against the Knicks on Feb. 20. Vogel recently said Granger will start off the bench when he first returns, then work his way back into the starting lineup. ... West missed his first game as a Pacer because of a scratched left eye suffered when Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez inadvertently scratched him in the eye in the first quarter of Monday's game. ... Dunlap said big man Mullens could dominate on a game-to-game basis, but it'll take commitment. Mullens had 25 points and 18 rebounds against Boston on Monday. "I think he's a double-double guy, but that takes some grit," Dunlap said.
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