For an examination of the depth now carried on the Indiana Pacers’ roster, consider Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Though another key Pacer — George Hill — joined the injured list, Indiana still had plenty of firepower against the Cleveland Cavaliers, maintaining normalcy with a 89-74 win. • There was Paul George, expertly walking the fine line between looking to score and playing quality defense. • Lance Stephenson shot spectacularly, matching his career high with 22 points. • The bench played its part too, busting open the blowout with a fluid fourth quarter effort. So while point guard Hill could not play due to a sore hip and Danny Granger continued to sit with a strained left calf, the Pacers adjusted nicely. Down two men, the Pacers (3-0) went with 10 players through the first two quarters — each contributing to the 43-37 halftime lead — and cleared the bench by using all active players before the end of the game. Afterwards, Pacers coach Frank Vogel had to stretch his shout-out list to more than just a few names. “Solid ‘W’ for our guys,” he said. “Kudos to C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan stepping up in George Hill’s absence. Paul George and Lance were the guys who really drove the ship tonight, both of them strong offensive nights.” Through Indiana’s first two outings, George has shined with a pair of performances of at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. On Saturday, he orchestrated his first double-double of the season with 21 points (8-of-17) and 13 rebounds. Through a stretch in the third quarter, George scored nine straight points — exposing Cleveland’s interior defense with a drive and dunk, then showing the No. 1 NBA Draft pick how to make a 3-pointer only seconds after Cleveland’s Anthony Bennett launched an attempt off the backboard. Stephenson was even better, bartering time with the starting five as well as with the reserves. His 22 points came on 7-of-13 shooting and lead all scorers. Five of his field goals came from beyond the arc, matching the best effort in his four-year career.
Pacers improve to 3-0 with 89-74 pasting of Cavs
Indianapolis Star | Nov 3