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.
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