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Charlotte at Indiana

Pacers hold off Bobcats to stay perfect at home

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- An off night from Paul George wasn't enough to derail the Indiana Pacers.

Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds and center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 11 boards to help Indiana overcome an off night from George to improve their franchise-record home start to 11-0 with a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.

"I think he was in the flow for most of the game," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of Stephenson. "Lance has great will, too. Lance made sure we had energy at both ends of the floor."

George, who entered the contest averaging 24.7 points a game, finished with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting for Indiana (20-3).

The 23 games are the fewest the Pacers have needed to reach 20 wins in franchise history, beating the old mark set when they started 20-7 in 2003-04. That team finished 61-21, best in franchise history.

Al Jefferson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats (10-13), who extended their losing streak in Indiana to eight games. Charlotte hasn't won on the Pacers' home court since Nov. 28, 2008.

Stephenson added seven assists and David West scored 14 points, George Hill had 13 and Luis Scola 11 for Indiana (20-3). Rasual Butler, playing his most significant minutes (23:47) of the season, scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

"That's a good win against a good team that we have respect for," Vogel said. "We understood this would be a battle of a game and it was."

The Pacers led 56-55 at halftime in their first game since defeating the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals.

They trailed by 90-89 after Gerald Henderson sank a 15-foot jump shot with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter, but Stephenson's layup made it 91-90 with 4:18 to play. Indiana never trailed again though it was tight until the end.

"We had them where we wanted," Jefferson said. "We didn't do a great job getting back on defense. We played a heck of a game. We had a chance there at the end to be exactly where we wanted to against a good team. We were right there."

Jefferson scored on a layup with 2:14 to pull Charlotte within 96-94, but two free throws by Hill and another by George with 8.1 seconds left sealed the victory.

"They made a couple of free throws and got it up to a five-point game, but we were right there with them," Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson said. "They're a good defensive team. They are a team that doesn't let you get to the rim. So we tried to drag them out to the perimeter and then attack against them."

Though they failed to avenge a 25-point loss to the Pacers on Nov. 26 in Charlotte in the teams' other meeting this season, the Bobcats accomplished one of their goals by shutting down George.

Playing their fourth-straight game without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (broken hand), the Bobcats called on Jeff Taylor to contain the Pacers' star forward.

"Jeff guarded him a lot," Henderson said. "I guarded him. He's a tough cover. He can score in every way. You have to play him physical without fouling. He missed a lot of shots tonight. He'll go get 30 tomorrow."

Vogel took some of the blame for George's off night.

"He didn't get a lot of clean looks. That's on me," Indiana's coach said.

Notes

The Pacers host the Pistons on Monday night before their grudge match Wednesday at Miami. The Bobcats play the Lakers on Saturday in Charlotte. ... The game was a homecoming of sorts for Cody Zeller, the Bobcats' No. 4 pick in the recent draft and a former Indiana standout. Zeller, who entered the game averaging 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds, had seven points in 18:59. ... Pacers forward Danny Granger (calf injury) didn't suit up after saying earlier this week he might play against Charlotte. He hasn't played since the fifth preseason game on Oct. 15 and remains day to day. Granger missed all but five games last season with an injured left knee.

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Lance Stephenson goes for 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Pacers remain the NBA's best team. (USATSI)
Lance Stephenson goes for 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Pacers remain the NBA's best team. (USATSI)

Scoreboard
Charlotte (10-13)2530211894
Indiana (20-3) «2729232099
CHA:A. Jefferson 21 Pts
CHA:A. Jefferson 9 Reb
CHA:K. Walker 4 Ast
IND:L. Stephenson 20 Pts
IND:R. Hibbert 11 Reb
IND:L. Stephenson 7 Ast
Players of the Game
CharlotteIndiana

Al Jefferson

Lance Stephenson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
219220117
Charlotte
J. Taylor, SG364-121-20239
K. Walker, PG355-142-254113
J. McRoberts, PF294-60-03339
A. Jefferson, C289-183-492221
G. Henderson, SG265-90-034210
B. Gordon, SG242-70-02114
R. Sessions, PG235-91-230113
C. Zeller, C192-53-35217
B. Biyombo, C172-22-37136
J. Adrien, PF31-10-11022
B. Haywood, CDid Not Play
J. Pargo, PGDid Not Play
A. Tolliver, PFDid Not Play
C. Douglas-Roberts, SGDid Not Play
M. Kidd-Gilchrist, SFDid Not Play
Totals 39-8312-1738191994
 47.0%70.6% 
Indiana
P. George, SF372-125-845210
R. Hibbert, C356-146-6111418
L. Stephenson, SG359-141-2117220
G. Hill, PG344-72-223213
D. West, PF335-114-482114
R. Butler, SG243-50-01138
L. Scola, PF165-81-320211
C. Watson, PG141-40-02013
I. Mahinmi, C131-10-03042
D. Granger, SFDid Not Play
D. Sloan, PGDid Not Play
O. Johnson, SGDid Not Play
C. Copeland, SFDid Not Play
S. Hill, SFDid Not Play
Totals 36-7619-2544192199
 47.4%76.0% 
Other Games
Cle 109 Final
Orl 100
Phi 100 Final
Tor 108
Wash 99 Final
Atl 101
NY 86 Final
Bos 90
Brook 99 Final
Det 103
Mem 98 Final
NO 104
LAL 97 Final
OKC 122
Chi 91 Final
Mil 90
Min 110 Final
SA 117
Utah 103 Final
Den 93
Sac 107 Final
Pho 116
Hou 116 Final
GS 112