The Pacers bounced back from perhaps their worst loss of the season last night at Madison Square Garden with an impressive 98-77 win over the Charlotte Hornets, behind a superhuman performance from Paul George, who had 39 points while making a ridiculous 15 of 21 shots.
“I thought they responded tonight,” said Nate McMillan. “Everybody was all business.”
The Charlotte Horn-Bob-nets-cats have been difficult for the Pacers to contain, largely due to Kemba Walker and Nic Batum. Tonight, Batum was out due to a migraine that is reportedly so bad he is getting a brain scan (good wishes to him), and the Pacers took advantage—sort of.
George and Turner were active in the first half, scoring 12 and 6 respectively, but most notably, Monta Ellis helped the Pacers hold a tenuous early lead, shooting 4-7 and registering an assist, a rebound, a steal, a block, zero turnovers and one foul. At the half, though, all things were equal with neither team able to establish any (cough) consistency.
The Pacers wouldn’t repeat their 29-point performance from last night against the Knicks in the second half. George nearly matched that total with 27 points by himself in the final two quarters as hit nearly everything he tossed toward the basket.
“I think we showed what we can do when everyone is locked in and on the same page,” said McMillan.
Teague was on time and on target with his passing especially finding George coming off of screens. He flirted with a triple double with 8 points, 11 assists, and 8 assists.
Noted Pacers-killer Kemba Walker was held to a season-low 7 points as the Pacers defended him better than they have in the last two seasons.
“We did a good job of getting up on our screens in the pick and roll,” said McMillan. McMillan said the team overall did a great job in the second half of keeping the Hornets out of the paint.
Both George and McMillan mentioned that the team had a talk after the game last night but did not share the details. Whatever was said, it was effective–at least for tonight. In the Year of Our Inconsistency, no revelations seem to last long. We’ll see if this one will stick.