Pacers dominate Bobcats inside, win 103-76
Roy Hibbert won a basketball game Tuesday night but lost $500.
In the waning minutes of a blowout victory, Hibbert told the final five Indiana Pacers left on the floor he'd pay them $100 each if they kept the Charlotte Bobcats from scoring 80 points.
Pay up, Roy.
"Yeah, I'm a man of my word," Hibbert said. "A Hibbert always pays his debts. ... I guess I have to go find an ATM."
He'll gladly do so.
Hibbert had 18 points and seven rebounds, and the Pacers handed the struggling Bobcats their 13th straight defeat at home, 103-76. With team owner Michael Jordan looking on from the bench, the Bobcats lost their fifth in a row and have dropped 24 of 26 since Thanksgiving.
The Pacers bounced back from Sunday's 11-point defeat in Brooklyn and won for the fifth time in six games.
Indiana won this one going away behind some dominant inside play. The Pacers outrebounded the Bobcats 60-31 and outscored them 52-22 in the paint, once again exposing Charlotte's problems down low. The 29-point rebound differential was the largest in Bobcats history.
All five Pacers starters had at least seven rebounds.
Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while David West added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers. George Hill chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.
"Even the guards get in there and mix it up for us," Hibbert said. "They do a good job of getting in there and hitting the boards. More possessions for ourselves is good."
It was the eighth time the Pacers have held an opponent to fewer than 80 points.
"Our defense is a beast," coach Frank Vogel said. "We're leading in a number of different defensive categories. We have great length and these guys are committed to trying to be the best defense in the NBA."
Vogel called the offense a work in progress.
"It can get clicking and we can get really hot at times and when it does, like tonight, look at what happened," he said. "We are trying to commit to the running game more. We got 19 fast-break points in the first half. Big difference in the game. We're playing good basketball."
The Central Division-leading Pacers (24-15) have not lost consecutive games since early December.
The Pacers led by 10 at halftime and broke it open in the third quarter as George scored eight quick points to set the tone.
By the time the fourth quarter arrived, the Pacers had extended their lead to 26 and the Bobcats appeared completely demoralized knowing they simply had no answers for Indiana's frontcourt.
By the midway point of the third the Pacers had taken complete control of the boards, outrebounding the Bobcats 47-20. Things were so bad for the Bobcats they only took 16 shots in the entire third quarter and made just seven.
Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 15 points, while Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions each had 13.
As has often been the case this season, the Bobcats got off to a slow start, falling behind 20-9 early.
The Pacers, led by Hibbert and West, dominated the paint from the outset, outscoring the Bobcats 18-2 in the first quarter.
With Byron Mullens still out with a lingering ankle injury, the Bobcats started Bismack Biyombo at center and Hakim Warrick at power forward. They combined for just seven rebounds in 37 minutes of action.
"I don't remember us having a game like that where we got outrebounded that bad," Bobcats guard Ben Gordon said. "I think there are a lot of times where we put teams on their heels when we have those guards out there. We just need to continue to use that to our strength, but tonight I just think it was more of a lack of energy, lack of effort type of thing."
After the game, coach Mike Dunlap refused to say if the Bobcats need to add some big men next offseason, saying "I prefer to stay in my lane" and allow the personnel decision-makers to make that call.
As for Jordan, he made a quick exit early in the fourth after the Pacers pushed the lead to 30.
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Bobcats shot just 34 percent from the field and played without much emotion or enthusiasm.
The Pacers seemed to take advantage of that lack of energy early and the game en route to starting another winning streak.
"We take pride in bouncing back from a loss and not losing two in a row," said Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams had courtside seats to watch Hansbrough. ... Walker left in the second quarter after tweaking his ankle but returned in the third. ... The Bobcats have failed to score more than 90 points in each of their last four games. ... George has a double-double in each of his last four games.