|Indiana Pacers' George Hill (3) drives against Charlotte Bobcats' Ben Gordon (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The Pacers defeated the Bobcats 96-88. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)|
Hill scores 19 as Pacers beat Bobcats 96-88
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — George Hill scored 19 points, D.J. Augustin added a season-high 18 and the Indiana Pacers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 96-88 Saturday night for their fourth straight win.
Lance Stephenson had 17 points and David West scored 14 points to help the Central Division-leading Pacers, playing without leading scorer Paul George (illness), get their sixth win in seven games. Recently signed Dominic McGuire started in place of George.
Ben Gordon scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Bobcats, and Kemba Walker had 16 on 5-for-9 shooting.
The Pacers, the NBA’s second-lowest scoring offense coming in, seemed destined to struggle more than usual without George. They missed their first 10 shots, including several from point blank, as the Bobcats jumped out to a 10-1 lead with Gerald Henderson knocking down a pair of midrange jumpers.
Gordon also got off to a good start, scoring nine points on 3-for-3 shooting and two free throws in the first quarter. Charlotte shot 52 percent from the field in the opening period.
Stephenson also had nine points in the first quarter for Indiana, shooting 4 for 5, to pull the Pacers to 24-23 after 12 minutes.
The Pacers shot 33 percent from the field in the first half, but had six 3-pointers while trailing 45-43 at halftime. Gerald Green hit two 3s, including one in transition, Orlando Johnson knocked one down from the right wing, and Augustin — shooting 28.8 percent from behind the arc coming in — made two.
Six of the Pacers’ seven second-quarter field goals came from 3-point range.
Hakim Warrik’s 17-footer with 5.8 seconds left gave Charlotte the two-point edge at the break.
Bismack Biyomobo and Warrick led the way for the Broncos early in the third as they pushed the lead to 56-51. Indiana, however, answered with a 13-2 run to go up 64-56, and the Pacers didn’t trail again.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist knocked down a short jumper to pull the Bobcats within three points when the Pacers went on a 11-3 run that included a one-handed power dunk from Stephenson and a 3 in the corner from Hill.
Stephenson put the crowd on their feet for a final ovation with a fast-break dunk in the final seconds.
The Pacers have relied on the league’s best defense as the offense finds its way. The Bobcats became the sixth opponent in seven games Indiana held to fewer than 90 points.