By TYLER SMITH (@TylerSmith_ISL)
INDIANAPOLIS — One night after scoring just 29 points in the second half, the Pacers put on a show in the second half against the Charlotte Hornets, on way to a 98-77 victory.
That’s been the story of the season. One game, they look lost. The next game, they look like a serious playoff threat.
The Pacers have now alternated wins and losses in 12 straight games- a new franchise record, by the way.
This game was tied at halftime, before Paul George and the Pacers exploded in the third quarter. They outscored Charlotte 33-16 in the third, as PG scored 15 of his season-high 39 points. He added 12 more points in the fourth, which adds up to an impressive 27 point second-half.
For the game, George shot 15-of-21 from the floor.
“We’ve got to show more spirit as a team,” George said. “We’ve got to enjoy what we do. We’ve got to enjoy this process. We say that, but we believe it now. It showed tonight.”
“We needed a win,” said Pacers center Myles Turner. “For ourselves, the city, the organization, and really for our confidence.”
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back has been rough on the Pacers this season, but they played with urgency against Charlotte, looking hungry for a win after the previous night’s debacle in New York.
“There are times we lose focus and drop a game, like last night,” Head Coach Nate McMillan said. “We focused tonight. We were all business. We showed what we’re capable of doing.”
Because of George’s big night, Jeff Teague had one of the quietest near triple-doubles you’ll ever see. Teague scored eight points, to go along with eight rebounds, and 11 assists. Teague talked about the Pacers having a meeting after the loss on Tuesday. “We had a good sit down between everybody, and I think it did some good,” Teague said. “People got things off their chest. It was just a good talk for everybody. Something we needed.”
In addition to his solid numbers, Teague helped contain notorious Pacer-killer Kemba Walker. Walker had a season-low seven points and never found a rhythm.
The Pacers dished out 26 assists and out-rebounded the Hornets 42-30. They improved to 18-5 this season when holding their opponents under 100 points.
Only 14 games remain in the regular season, and the Pacers will continue looking for consistency. It’s very possible this team will never find it. But stranger things have happened. Who knows? Maybe they’ll find it at just the right time.