Hibbert steps up for Pacers against 76ers

Cliff Brunt, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George is the Indiana's rising star, but the Pacers have plenty of other options.
It was Roy Hibbert's turn on Saturday night. The 7-foot-2 center scored a season-high 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 106-98.
Hibbert entered the game averaging 10.9 points but proved to be capable of more once given the opportunity.
"Always be ready," he said. "Working on my stuff, sharpening my tools, and when games like this happen, you've got to be able to finish."
Hibbert also had 13 rebounds and six blocked shots and made 13-of-16 free throws.
He said he thought of George's performance at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday while he was at the free throw line. George made three free throws late in regulation to force overtime against the Knicks, and the Pacers eventually won.
"Seriously, at the free-throw line, I was thinking about how Paul hit those three in New York," Hibbert said. "It takes big cojones to do that."
George scored 19 points, guard Lance Stephenson added 18 and forward David West had 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Pacers (12-1), who won their third straight and improved to 7-0 at home.
Indiana scored 100 or more points for the third time in five games after failing to do so in its first eight games.
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 29 points for the 76ers, his best total in a start to his rookie season. He also had seven steals and six rebounds.
"Michael Carter-Williams is a heck of a young player," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He was a factor all night."
Guard Evan Turner had 21 points and 11 rebounds but made only 8-of-26 shots from the field and committed six turnovers for the 76ers (6-9), who have lost five of six.
The 76ers were without three of their top five scorers: center Spencer Hawes (left knee soreness) forward Thaddeus Young (personal reasons) and guard Tony Wroten (lower back strain).
"I thought we definitely played hard and competed, the whole team did," Turner said. "We put ourselves in the best position to win the game at the end, and that's the most you can ask for."
The score was tied late in the second quarter before the Pacers broke away with a quick flurry.
West hit a mid-range jumper, then Stephenson scored on a drive to give Indiana a 56-52 lead at halftime. The point total was the highest for the Pacers in a first half this season. Hibbert scored 13 points before the break.
Indiana opened the second half with baskets by Hibbert and West to take an eight-point lead, but unlike many teams this season, the 76ers hung around.
A dunk by Carter-Williams cut Indiana's lead to 64-60 and forced the Pacers to call timeout.
The Pacers responded with a vengeance.
Hill dunked, then guard Orlando Johnson made a 3-pointer that rolled around the rim and fell in, before West scored to give Indiana a 75-64 lead.
George hit a jumper with 4.5 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 77-66 lead at the end of the quarter. The Pacers held the 76ers to 14 points on 7-for-24 shooting from the field in the third quarter.
The 76ers opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run, and a turnaround jumper by guard Lorenzo Brown cut Indiana's lead to 77-74.
Carter-Williams hit a 3-pointer with 7:35 remaining to give the 76ers an 82-80 lead, but the Pacers responded with an 18-6 run to take control for a while.
Indiana led 102-98 in the final minute when Hibbert posted up and found Stephenson down low for a basket.
On the other end, Hibbert blocked Turner's shot, West rebounded and guard George Hill made two free throws with 13.9 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
"We don't care who we're playing against, we're focused on winning," Hibbert said. "Teams may stick around, they may get up on us early. We may be up early, but we're always focused and ready to win. We have it on our minds to win at all costs."
NOTES: The Pacers led 25-22 at the end of the first quarter after holding the 76ers to 32 percent shooting from the field. ... 76ers G Evan Turner was issued a technical foul for arguing with 2:52 left in the first quarter. ... The 76ers entered the night a half-game out of first place in the Atlantic Division, despite their losing record. ... 76ers rookie G Michael Carter-Williams entered the game ranked second in the league with 2.6 steals per game. ... Pacers F Luis Scola entered the game ranked fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage (.575). ... Both teams won on Friday night. Philadelphia beat Milwaukee and Indiana beat Boston.

What to Read Next