George’s first triple-double beats Bobcats
by Curt Cavin, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — No Danny Granger or David West? No problem.
That was the situation Wednesday night for the Indiana Pacers, who played despite two former All-Stars having injury issues — Granger a recovering knee, West a scratched eye.
Coach Frank Vogel’s team still won because, well, it played the NBA’s worst team and because Paul George is playing at an All-Star level. He keyed the 101-77 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with his first professional triple-double: 23 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, with stellar defense mixed in.
George’s reward for a half-season of strong play comes this weekend when he represents his franchise in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Houston. It will be his first appearance in the event.
George had help as Vogel was forced to deviate from his normal player rotations. The insertion of always-active forward Tyler Hansbrough — he started in place of West — led to extended minutes and increased production.
Hansbrough scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
West was injured during Monday’s home loss to Brooklyn. He came to the fieldhouse for Wednesday morning’s shootaround but didn’t see the court. It was the first game he’s missed this season.
Granger hasn’t played this season, but there was optimism he’d be ready to return for a break-in prior to the All-Star break. But after only two full practices, Vogel felt this team’s most decorated player needed more time to regain strength and confidence.
Granger’s season debut is expected to be next Wednesday when the New York Knicks visit.
Granger also endured flu-like symptoms Wednesday. Like West, he did not sit on the Pacers’ bench during the game.
The first half of the game was played down to the level of the visitors. Indiana led 49-46.
The Pacers pulled away in the third quarter, holding the lowly Bobcats to 14 points as they ended the period up 70-60. The hosts expanded the lead by five more points to open the fourth, and that was that.
Charlotte fell to 12-40, easily the NBA’s worst record. It has lost 35 of its last 40 games, a winning rate of just 12.5%. Indiana improved to 32-21.
Curt Cavin writes for The Indianapolis … [For more on Paul George's first triple-double helps Pacers bury Bobcats, click here.]