INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers players and coaches often
have said depth is one of the team's best assets.
They proved it on Saturday night.
The teams were in similar situations, both having played tough
games one night earlier. Indiana was coming off an 87-74 win at
Boston, while Charlotte was following an overtime loss to Atlanta.
The Pacers were running full speed in the second half as the
Bobcats were wilting. Indiana trailed 49-43 at halftime but
outscored Charlotte 56-28 after the break.
Indiana's reserves outscored Charlotte's 21-11 in the second
"We've got eight guys, maybe nine that could probably start on
other NBA teams," Pacers forward Danny Granger said. "That's a
lot of depth. I'd like to say we have more depth than most teams."
Hibbert, who briefly left the game with a sprained right ankle,
also had eight rebounds and three blocks. Tyler Hansbrough scored
15 points, Darren Collison had 14, Granger and George Hill each
added 13 and David West 10 for the Pacers (6-2), who improved to
3-0 at home.
"Handling home," Hill said. "It's something that we preach.
We want to be unbeatable here and .500 on the road. Any time you
can do that, it can get you a long way."
Indiana shot 51 percent and held the Bobcats to 33-percent
shooting -- the fifth time the Pacers have held an opponent under 40
"It says a lot about our team because it was a grind-it-out
game against a veteran team," Granger said. "We grinded them out,
we put our defense out there and played to the best of our ability.
Those are the kind of games you have to win."
Charlotte disappeared after halftime.
"We did not play tough," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said.
"They banged us up and we didn't respond. We played hard in the
first half, and I'm not sure what happened in the second."
The Pacers made a run early in the third quarter. A layup by
Collison tied the score at 51, and a tip-in putback by Hibbert on
Indiana's next possession put the Pacers ahead. Granger broke out
of his slump to push Indiana ahead 56-51. Charlotte shot 1 for 8
from the field during Indiana's 15-3 run to start the second half.
Hibbert scored on back-to-back possessions to give Indiana a
four-point lead before he went down with the ankle injury. Right
before Hibbert was hurt, Hill was issued a technical foul after
disagreeing with a foul call against him, but Augustin missed the
free throw and the Bobcats failed to score on the extra possession.
The Pacers took advantage when Jeff Foster scored on a putback
to bump Indiana's lead to 68-62.
Indiana led 71-63 at the end of the third after shooting 57
percent from the field in the quarter, while Charlotte made just 5
of 25 shots in the period.
"We allowed them to be too comfortable in what they were doing
(in the first half), so we pressured the ball more, tried to force
some more turnovers, and it worked," Granger said.
Henderson threw Hill off his back with 10:45 to go and Hill was
restrained by Pacers coach Frank Vogel. Indiana's Dahntay Jones
made the technical free throw then Henderson was called for an
offensive foul after he threw an elbow at Hill on the next
possession. By then, Indiana led 76-63, and the Pacers remained in
control from there.
"We're going to try to play with a chip on our shoulder all the
time, but know that this is our home court, and we can't let
anybody come in here and disrespect us," Hill said.
The Bobcats felt as though they wasted an opportunity in the
"We didn't bring the same kind of energy we did in the first
half," Henderson said. "Our offense kind of slowed down a bit.
They got a lot of points inside, a lot of offensive rebounds, and
we didn't match any of that."
Granger said he expects tough challenges from upstart teams
because the Pacers have generated so much buzz early this season.
"I think we've got a mark on our back now," he said. "We're
not going to be able to sneak up on too many people anymore. They
realize that we are a good team, and we're here to stay. It makes
it all the more important for us to come to play."
Notes: Charlotte F Corey Maggette missed his second straight
game with a left hamstring strain. ... Indiana G Lance Stephenson
did not play for the second straight game because of a sprained
left ankle. ... Charlotte F Tyrus Thomas started and had 10 points
and seven rebounds after missing six games with a sprained left
ankle. ... Charlotte outrebounded Indiana 15-4 in the first
quarter, but finished with just a 48-45 edge. ... Granger left the
game briefly with a sprained left ankle. He made a 3-pointer for
the 24th straight game, the longest active streak in the league.
... Charlotte F Boris Diaw fouled out in the fourth quarter after
scoring just two points on 1-for-8 shooting.