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Pacers Links: George Hill quickly bolsters Pacers lineup options

After missing the first 28 games, the Pacers point guard returned to give his team a boost off the bench to help beat the Pelicans.

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Frank Vogel finally had some options.

The Pacers coach watched his team play as complete a game at both ends as they have played all season, pushing a halftime lead over the New Orleans Pelicans to double digits. With a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, George Hill left the game after hitting his prescribed 18 minutes during his season-debut after missing the first 28 games due to injury.

Three minutes later, the lead slipped down to five points as the Pelicans made a late push by the visitors demanded another move to seal the win. Vogel sent David West and C.J. Miles to the scorer's table and then tapped Hill to return for the final 2:44. It was certainly nice to have Hill as an option and Vogel didn't hesitate to take advantage.

"I was about 50-50 on whether I was going to come back to him (Hill)," Vogel said. "I was going to see how the game was going and Jrue Holiday had made some really crafty plays in the pick n roll game leading up to that so I decided to use George late."

The Pacers pushed the lead back to 12 points for the final difference with Roy Hibbert adding four points down the stretch as he pulled his weight for the second consecutive win. Vogel credited Hibbert's work with assistant coach Popeye Jones for helping the Big Dawg get over the Big Donut he put up in Denver and get him back to being a presence in the middle. Hibbert had a season-high seven blocks, all in the first half and suddenly not just Roy but all of the Pacers have to be feeling better about how they are playing.

Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles are finally playing their expected roles and once Hill is ready to assume the starting role at point guard, which I assume will happen on Friday in Detroit, the team will be functioning close to full strength as expcted when training camp started (knowing Paul George is out for the season). This thanks to Lavoy Allen handling the reserve big minutes for Ian Mahinmi with no drop off.

That is a happy holiday thought to enjoy with a couple of days off while seeing expectations rise a bit with road games against the Pistons and Nets after Christmas.

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Check out the links:

Pelicans at Pacers - Box score

Game Rewind: Pacers 96, Pelicans 84 | Indiana Pacers

Pacers Have a Hill to Climb, But Have Another Hill | Indiana Pacers

Hill leads Pacers over Pelicans 96-84 - AP

Pacers beat Pelicans, Hill scores 15 in return

New Orleans Pelicans lose to Indiana Pacers, 96-84: Recap |

Hill's return sparks Pacers win | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter

The Pelicans Play to the Pacers Pace, Lose 96-84 - The Bird Writes

Monty Williams says his players didn't respond to Pacers' physical play in 96-84 loss | Dolomite (Why George Hill's debut was like Goldie at the Pimp of the Year Awards)

Indiana Pacers Hold Off Late Surge By New Orleans Pelicans

Report: Lance Stephenson believes Hornets will keep him | ProBasketballTalk

5 indisputable truths about the NBA so far this season -