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03/19/2013 10:57 PM EDT
Pacers pull away to beat struggling Magic 95-73
INDIANA 95, ORLANDO 73
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers broke out of their funk
Now they just have to play good basketball.
The second-best team in the Eastern Conference got 19 points
from Paul George and 14 points and 14 rebounds from Tyler
Hansbrough, leading the Pacers to a 95-73 rout over struggling
It's just what Indiana needed after losing two of its last three
games and, surprisingly, two of its last three at Bankers Life
"I feel like if we continue to play the way we played today then
we can be a tough team to beat," George Hill said after scoring
14 points. "We know the offense will come. I feel like we played
a complete game today. "
It was the perfect remedy.
After losing two straight to the Lakers and 76ers last weekend,
the Pacers (42-26) rebounded by sweeping a back-to-back against
two inferior opponents, Cleveland and Orlando. The win gives
Indiana a five-game lead over Chicago in the Central Division
and a three-game lead over New York for the No. 2 seed in the
And despite a sluggish start and the absence of two starters,
Indiana made this one look easy. David West, the Pacers'
second-leading scorer, missed the game with a sprained lower
back. Danny Granger also sat out again with a sore left knee.
But against a team shooting as poorly as Orlando, it didn't
Hansbrough replaced West, making only his second start of the
season and delivered by grabbing nine offensive rebounds and
making 6 of 7 free throws in 27 1/2 minutes. He sat out the
fourth quarter with what team officials called an abdominal
cramp, though they said he could have returned.
"You can get into a rhythm when you have kind of a steady flow
of minutes and get a feel for yourself and let the game come to
you versus coming off the bench," Hansbrough said. "I feel
forced to do things and feel a little pressure with that. But I
know my position on this team. As soon as David gets healthy,
I'll go back to my position coming off the bench and trying to
On Tuesday, that job fell to a handful of others, including
Gerald Green, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
But Orlando had to contend with its own problems.
The Magic (18-50) were dreadful, shooting 31.8 percent from
field and a dismal 3 of 15 from 3-point range. They ended the
first quarter by missing their final 11 shots, and Maurice
Harkless and Arron Afflalo each scored 10 point while nobody
else hit double figures. Coach Jacque Vaughn was even ejected
during a four-technical flurry in the third quarter as Orlando
lost its fourth in a row.
"I did watch it in the locker room, but I don't think I'm the
first coach be kicked out of a game," Vaughn said, drawing
laughter. "It's not a big deal."
How ugly was this game?
Indiana started by missing its first six 3-pointers, and Orlando
needed two baskets in the final minute of the first half just to
avoid breaking the franchise record for futility. They scored 27
points in the first half of a game Jan. 24, 2005 at Houston.
Nikola Vucevic's tip-in with 29.3 seconds left cut Orlando's
deficit to 40-29.
There were air balls, missed dunks, missed layups - even shots
off the side of the backboard.
"Early on, I thought we looked good shooting but they didn't go
in," Vaughn said. "Whether it was a putback, we had a dunk
attempt or an open 3, it just didn't go in."
The worst part came was a three-minute stretch during the third
quarter when the Magic looked completely inept.
Twice, Orlando was called for fouls underneath after Indiana
made long jumpers. The first came on George Hill's 3-pointer
with 7:16 to go. Roy Hibbert completed the rare four-point play
by making the free throw.
Sixty-nine seconds later, it happened again. This time, Lance
Stephenson made a 19-footer and Hansbrough completed the
Eighty seconds after that, the officials called a double
technical on Hibbert and Kyle O'Quinn, and when Vaughn walked
onto the floor to argue, he drew two more technicals and was
George made both free throws to give Indiana a 60-44 lead, and
Orlando never got closer than 12 again.
"You watch the tape, you evaluate it, you see if you're really
struggling and you see areas that you've got to clean up, "
coach Frank Vogel said. "We settled down and got two big wins."
Notes: Vogel said before the game that Granger has increased his
workload in practice and could return to game action next week.
... Orlando came into the game shooting just 33.1 percent on 3s
and were just 20 percent from beyond the arc. ... Magic G
E'Twaun Moore scored eight points in his first NBA trip back to
his home state.
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