USA TODAY Sports
The Pacers return home to face the Orlando Magic after enjoying a stress-free win in Cleveland.
- On the first night of a back-to-back, the bench came up big with 52 points and more importantly a ton of minutes. None of the starters had to play over 30 minutes and four, including Paul George, played fewer than 25 minutes. Those numbers will help when the team plays the Orlando Magic at the Fieldhouse tonight.
- Speaking of the bench, Gerald Green showed up huge, taking advantage of a shot at more playing time with 20 points. Green struggled to guard C.J. Miles for a stretch in the second quarter but overall was a big positive for the Pacers. In the end, Green really didn't play much different but his shots were falling, including four of seven from three land. Green is the type of player who can make a big difference in the playoffs, but we'll hold off on that speculation until he does it a few more times in the regular season.
- Tyler Hansbrough stepped up in a starting role after David West was a late scratch to score 18 points and grab 10 rebounds. Somehow, Hansbrough has to bring that type of production (well, not 18-10, comparable per minute) off the bench. If not, Jeff Pendergraph has to be an option worth giving a shot. He's shown an ability to come off the bench, on short notice or not, with plenty of energy, ready to make plays.
- The win simply helped the Pacers keep pace with those chasing them in the East as both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks won on Monday. The Pacers picked up a game in the Central Division after a game-winning tip by Joakim Noah was eventually declared goaltending, leaving the Chicago Bulls with an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets.
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