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12/13/2013 11:34 PM EST
Pacers beat Bobcats 99-94, up home record to 11-0
INDIANA 99, CHARLOTTE 94

By JO-ANN BARNAS
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An off night from Paul George wasn't enough
to derail the Indiana Pacers.

Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds and center Roy
Hibbert added 18 points and 11 boards to help Indiana overcome
an off night from George to improve their franchise-record home
start to 11-0 with a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on
Friday night.

"I think he was in the flow for most of the game," Pacers coach
Frank Vogel said of Stephenson. "Lance has great will, too.
Lance made sure we had energy at both ends of the floor."

George, who entered the contest averaging 24.7 points a game,
finished with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting for Indiana (20-3).

The 23 games are the fewest the Pacers have needed to reach 20
wins in franchise history, beating the old mark set when they
started 20-7 in 2003-04. That team finished 61-21, best in
franchise history.

Al Jefferson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats
(10-13), who extended their losing streak in Indiana to eight
games. Charlotte hasn't won on the Pacers' home court 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.

"That's a good win against a good team that we have respect
for," Vogel said. "We understood this would be a battle of a
game and it was."

The Pacers led 56-55 at halftime in their first game since
defeating the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on
Wednesday night in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference
Finals.

They trailed by 90-89 after Gerald Henderson sank a 15-foot jump
shot with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter, but Stephenson's
layup made it 91-90 with 4:18 to play. Indiana never trailed
again though it was tight until the end.

"We had them where we wanted," Jefferson said. "We didn't do a
great job getting back on defense. We played a heck of a game.
We had a chance there at the end to be exactly where we wanted
to against a good team. We were right there."

Jefferson scored on a layup with 2:14 to pull Charlotte within
96-94, but two free throws by Hill and another by George with
8.1 seconds left sealed the victory.

"They made a couple of free throws and got it up to a five-point
game, but we were right there with them," Bobcats guard Gerald
Henderson said. "They're a good defensive team. They are a team
that doesn't let you get to the rim. So we tried to drag them
out to the perimeter and then attack against them."

Though they failed to avenge a 25-point loss to the Pacers on
Nov. 26 in Charlotte in the teams' other meeting this season,
the Bobcats accomplished one of their goals by shutting down
George.

Playing their fourth-straight game without Michael
Kidd-Gilchrist (broken hand), the Bobcats called on Jeff Taylor
to contain the Pacers' star forward.

"Jeff guarded him a lot," Henderson said. "I guarded him. He's a
tough cover. He can score in every way. You have to play him
physical without fouling. He missed a lot of shots tonight.
He'll go get 30 tomorrow."

Vogel took some of the blame for George's off night.

"He didn't get a lot of clean looks. That's on me," Indiana's
coach said.

PACERS-BOBCATS NOTES: The Pacers host the Pistons on Monday
night before their grudge match 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.

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