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IC Cold Links: Pacers Rush To 21-12 Record At All-Star Break

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The Indiana Pacers hit the midway point of the lockout-shortened 66-game season just in time for the NBA All-Star break after beating the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday night to push their record to 21-12. Not bad considering a five-game losing streak and a few other clunkers along the way.

Coach Frank Vogel gambled in the last two games and ended up playing his cards perfectly. First, he rode his starting lineup for heavy minutes in Tuesday's overtime win over the New Orleans Hornets. Then on Wednesday Vogel was forced to turn to his bench which has struggled of late, to put it kindly, but the second unit came through with their best effort of the season to put away the Bobcats in the second half.

The biggest need for the Pacers going forward is a consistent scoring option off the bench but that wasn't a problem last night. Tyler Hansbrough broke through with 22 points and A.J. Price continued to lay claim to a spot in the playing rotation while George Hill was able to exceed his expected minutes after missing 12 games because of the way the win played out.

If Vogel was playing Black Jack last night he would've hit on 12 and picked up 9, no doubt. Not a bad way to head into the break. Also, the Pacers are now 2-0 when a player has to finish the game with cotton stuffed up his nose to prevent bleeding. Tyler Hansbrough was bloodied but unbowed (shocker, I know) in the fourth quarter but stuffed his left nostril with some cotton, a la Roy Hibbert against the Lakers, to finish out the game.

Check out the links after the jump.