INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers improve their franchise-record home start to 11-0 with a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana overcame an off night from Paul George, who had 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting in the Pacers’ first game since defeating the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. George entered the contest averaging 24.7 points a game.
Al Jefferson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats, who extended their losing streak in Indiana to eight games. Charlotte was trying to win on the Pacers’ home court for the first time 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.
The Pacers led 56-55 at halftime, but trailed by 90-89 after Gerald Henderson sank a 15-foot jump shot with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter. Stephenson’s layup made it 91-90 with 4:18 to play and Indiana never trailed again. PACERS-BOBCATS NOTES: The Pacers host the Pistons on Monday night before their grudge match next 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.