There was a lot for Indiana Pacers fans to be thankful for tonight; granted, most of it would've been moral had the Pacers not closed the deal with a New Orleans Hornets team that played well and outplayed the Pacers for long stretches in this game, but it was Indiana who came up with enough plays to end up in the win column. It was part of an exciting second half that became more exciting for the statistical accomplishments, Indiana picking up a consecutive win for the first time all season.
Ultimately, that's what matters. The Pacers move to 6-7, controlled turnovers exceptionally well, committing just nine, getting an assist on 26 of the team's 40 field goals, and winning the rebounding battle, if only slightly. It's not as if the Pacers played a great game though. All night, the Hornets were able to get the shots they wanted and scored with ease. The lack of defense put the Pacers in a position where they had to beat the Hornets on the offensive end, a rather tall order considering the team's eternal struggles on that side of the ball.
Shooting north of 40% helped, but the Pacers enjoyed a huge advantage in three point shooting, hitting 15 of their 27 attempts, lights out thanks in large part to Paul George, who finished the game with a career high 37 points. George not only scored 37, but had 34 of those in the second half, hitting all nine of his three pointers in the second half and OT, as part of a franchise record, topping Reggie Miller's long standing eight.
George wasn't the only Pacer to make noise tonight; Roy Hibbert finished with his first career triple double, a 10 point, 11 rebound, and 11 block effort before fouling out in OT. The triple double is the team's first in nearly ten years. Hibbert's blocks and defense were a huge part of the team's win tonight. For as much as the Pacers struggled all night on that end, Roy's ability to limit the Hornets ended up being a huge when the game wound down and overtime was eventually forced when the Pacers missed on about four opportunities in the final seconds to win it.
While Hibbert and George get the praise tonight, George Hill was one of the team's unsung heroes, scoring a quiet 16 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, all with zero turnovers. David West as well had a quiet 16, coupling that with seven boards and five assists. The starters as a whole were huge tonight, partially due to bench struggles, but mostly because they played to that level tonight. Even Lance Stephenson reached double figures, with a 12/5/5 night of his own, giving the Pacers starters all sorts of drool worthy stats.
Off the bench, Tyler Hansbrough finished the night with 11 points on 9-10 from the line, but it was a sluggish night overall for the bench despite a few Sam Young hustle plays to give Indiana a little life. The Pacers won, and it feels like a much better win in hindsight than it did as it was happening. They couldn't stop the Hornets for anything and that is a slight concern for a team that has had to hang their hat on defense this season. But heading into Friday's huge test against the San Antonio Spurs, it's easier to take a few problems with a win than the kind of efforts Pacers fans got to see tonight with a loss.
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