Indiana Pacers (20-3) 99
Charlotte Bobcats (10-13) 94This is life as the hunted now for the Indiana Pacers. You can bring a C effort, and still pull out the win. I think last night’s game against Charlotte said more about the Bobcats than the Indiana Pacers as the Bobcats played about as tough as any team has against the Pacers. This was one of those games the Pacers had to keep grinding along to get the win. They pick up the win and continue their undefeated streak at home. They’ve already reached 20 wins on the season. They’ve won 11 games at home. They beat the Bobcats for the 8th straight time in Indiana. Just those signs of what this TEAM is all about.
Notice I emphasized the word team because last night’s effort was that, a team effort. With Paul George having an off night, other guys had to step up. Lance Stephenson hit for 20 points and 11 rebounds. 2 points shy of his career high in points and a career high in rebounds. That’s the type of effort Stephenson had been showing until the past few games. Hopefully, last night’s effort puts Lance back on that good track, and he can continue to play that strong.
The Pacers will need it in the next few games as they’ll face off again with the Heat and then a date with Houston. Two big games where Stephenson could be quite a factor.
Roy Hibbert hit for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Just another game for Hibbert, where the big men of the Bobcats couldn’t contend with him. I would place him in that category of Stephenson in needing to be big, especially in those two games against Miami and Houston. Houston will bring out Dwight Howard, which is a great matchup for Hibbert to see where his game is at.
Another storyline coming out of last night’s game was the insertion of Rasual Butler in place of Orlando Johnson. You could call it a demotion for Johnson, but I think Coach Vogel just wanted to sit Johnson for a bit, and let him see what’s going on out there. I still believe in Johnson’s game and what it can do for the Pacers, but right now, that game isn’t working. Butler is a veteran guy, who might be needed at times throughout the season, so it’s good for him to get some rhythm going as well. He played fine for his time out there with 8 points. Just hope Johnson can find his shot and work his way back into some playing time.
Also, no Danny Granger last night. I am on that side of I’ll believe Granger can play when he’s out there playing. I know he’ll have an impact out there, so I hope he can come back in the best of health. But right now, things are rolling so well, do the Pacers have to rush Granger back to the court? Probably not. I just believe he’s a slow starter, so he’ll need some games to get his rhythm going as well. Last night could have been a good game for Granger to get out there and take some shots if he was ready to go. But no need for the rush, so when Granger is good to go, he’ll be out there.
The Pacers now have a couple of days off before a home game against Detroit. It will take a much better effort to get past those pesky Pistons as they’ve looked much better than years’ past. Even, the Bobcats have looked much better, so you can see that it takes a whole effort to get past even the not so good teams. Detroit is a good team, so it will take a good effort come Monday night.