Paul George had a quick night to start, scoring 11 in the first quarter and dishing out five assists in the first half, but was huge in the fourth quarter that not only helped lead him to his first career triple double, but allowed him to lead the Indiana Pacers to cap a huge second half turnaround, sending them into the All-Star break on a winning note. The Pacers struggled offensively for much of the second quarter, but used a 9-2 run to take a halftime lead, outscoring the Charlotte Bobcats 51-31 in the second half to win by 24.
George's fourth quarter, including six points, six rebounds, and five assists, capped a 23/12/12 triple double, the third for a Pacer this season. It was a big turnaround for George after his poor shooting performance in Monday's loss to Brooklyn, helping to snap Indiana's two game losing streak, propelling them to a 1 1/2 advantage over Chicago in the Central Division as all attention will shift to Houston for the All-Star Game starring George.
Tyler Hansbrough started the game in place of David West, sitting out for his eye injury. Hansbrough was a late addition to the starting lineup for Frank Vogel, who had spent most of the day planning on starting Jeff Pendergraph. Hansbrough reinforced the faith in his coach by playing one of his best games of the year, scoring 19 to go with 10 rebounds. Hansbrough was not only active, but effective with the ball, going 8-13 from the floor, even getting multiple assists and steals.
Pendergraph off the bench had another solid game in double figures, scoring 10 on 5-8 shooting and eight rebounds in his spells for Hansbrough. The Indiana front line as a whole did a good job despite early struggles letting up offensive rebounds to Bismack Biyombo, with Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi each scoring 10. Orlando Johnson had six points off the bench, but showed some quality moves in his short minutes, especially in the second half, showing promise as a potential rotation for Indiana moving forward.
George Hill blanked in the first half, seeming to go through the motions before scoring 11 in the second half as the Pacers began to pull away. Hill was very much a supporting piece tonight to George & Hansbrough, dishing out four dimes. Lance Stephenson had a tough go of things with his 2-12 shooting night, rarely giving his shots the opportunity to even go in with some of his looks.
All in all, Indiana put them in solid position most of the night despite the offensive rebound issues in the first half and Charlotte's ability to get easy buckets in the first quarter. The Pacers had just seven turnovers on the night, outscoring Charlotte 14-2 on points off turnovers, while also limiting the Bobcats effectiveness in fast break points. The win not only sends the Pacers into All-Star Weekend with a win, but Paul George's triple double is as good a way to showcase the rising star in one his most impressive fourth quarters.
Paul George and Gerald Green will be taking part in Saturday's festivities, George taking part in three point contest and Green dunking in the dunk contest. George will represent the Pacers in the main event on Sunday before the Pacers return to work next Wednesday against the New York Knicks in a game the Pacers hope to not only have David West return, but possibly Danny Granger.