(AP) — In his return to one former home state, Tyler Hansbrough helped finish off an Indiana Pacers’ comeback.
As he comes back to his current home, Hansbrough will try to assist the Pacers again Saturday night against the winless Philadelphia 76ers.
After dealing with vertigo in the preseason, Hansbrough hit a key jumper in Friday’s 104-101 victory in Charlotte. The forward, who starred at North Carolina, also grabbed a defensive rebound and made a pair of free throws in the final minute.
“Whenever the opportunity came I was going to step up and go out there and try to play my game and prove that I can help the team out a little bit,” said Hansbrough, who finished with 12 points.
Before Hansbrough’s heroics, Danny Granger scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to help his team rally from an 11-point first-half deficit. Granger, who has averaged more than 24 points in each of the last two seasons, also had 26 in Wednesday’s 122-109 loss to San Antonio.
Indiana (1-1) will try to drop Philadelphia and first-year coach Doug Collins to 0-3. The 76ers, though, have showed signs of respectability in those games as they’ve rallied in both. They were trailing by 15 on Friday against Atlanta before falling 104-101 and came back from a 26-point deficit to Miami in a 97-87 loss Wednesday.
After facing a pair of 2009-10 playoff teams, the 76ers will try to help Collins earn his first victory with them during a three-game stretch featuring teams that missed the postseason.
Collins, though, could use a more balanced effort from his starting lineup. Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala each had strong performances against the Hawks, but didn’t get much help.
Iguodala had 27 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and Brand had 20 points and eight boards in the defeat. However, Jason Kapono, Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday combined for 14 points.
Those three players also had a total of eight points and did not attempt a free throw in Wednesday’s defeat, which might lead Collins to shake up the starting lineup. He could go with Andres Nocioni, who had 15 points off the bench Friday.
“I am still trying to figure out this team,” Collins said. “Nocioni is going to give us more of a physical presence out there. We’re just too small out there and it’s not a good mix. The way to get Nocioni out there is to start him.”
The Pacers, meanwhile, are hoping Darren Collison can bounce back from his 2-of-10 shooting performance Friday as they try to earn their eighth win in 11 tries over Philadelphia and sixth in nine home matchups.
Collison had seven points against the Bobcats after scoring 19 in the season opener. If he continues to struggle, Indiana could rely again on Granger, who has scored at least 20 points in his last three meetings with Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is also hoping for a better effort from second-overall draft pick Evan Turner, who missed all five shots Friday after scoring 16 in his NBA debut.
The Pacers and 76ers will play again Wednesday night in Philadelphia.