There was plenty to like about the way the Indiana Pacers played in their big win against the Charlotte Bobcats. They used defense to stop Charlotte cold, out hustled them on every rebound and loose ball, and got solid all around effort from the starters. The bench even made an appearance in the fourth quarter garbage time to extend the lead. The Pacers jumped out to a double digit lead early in the first quarter, and aside from an ice cold shooting stretch early in the second and a Charlotte run late in the half, it was Indiana's night through and through.
In the win, the Pacers racked up a lot of impressive numbers, perhaps none more than the rebounding dominance the Pacers showcased. They outrebounded Charlotte by 29, nearly doubling them up 60-31. The Pacers not only limited second chance opportunities for Charlotte by holding them to just four offensive boards, but ruled the glass on the other end, pulling down 18 of their own misses. To add insult to injury, all five starters had at least seven boards. Not a single Bobcat reached seven.
Charlotte was able to keep the game tight when the two teams played over the weekend thanks to their ability to get out in transition, but Indiana flattened the Bobcats in transition early, scoring 19 points in transition. Turnovers were a bit of an issue in the first half, but the team was able to correct it with less sloppy and frantic play with their uptempo style.
Roy Hibbert led the way for the Pacers with a game high 18 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks, shooting 5-11, but making all eight of his free throws. The center position was a key advantage for Indiana, with Ian Mahinmi stepping in for just four points, but had six boards and three blocks of his own. Paul George tallied another double double with 16 & 10, getting front court help from David West's 15 point, eight rebound, and four assist night.
Lance Stephenson returned to the lineup after leaving Sunday's game with a foot injury, played very well and controlled with seven points, eight boards, and six assists. George Hill rounded out the starters with 16 & 7. The starters were huge, using a 33-17 third quarter to finish their night early, but also controlled the tempo when they were in the game.
That left the bench to struggle in the first half, the Pacers stumbling to a single field goal in a six minute stretch to start the second quarter, but had a respectable effort in the final period to win 20-19 in garbage time. Tyler Hansbrough led the bench with nine points, getting six from D.J. Augustin. The bench as a whole didn't offer up a lot, with Gerald Green struggling for just three points on 1-7 shooting.
Indiana will look to take a short night's work into tomorrow's game against the Orlando Magic in Florida. The meeting is the first between the two since last year's playoff series, with the Magic entering the game having lost 10 of their last 11 games. The Pacers win tonight snaps their three game road losing streak.