Saturday, January 12th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND vs CHA

by Scott Agness | January 11, 2013 | Updated January 12, 6:11 PM

Matchup

Having won 12 of their last 15 games, including nine straight at home, the Pacers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. After four straight games (and three wins) against teams above .500, the Pacers host the one of the weaker teams in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have the third-worst record in the league and the Pacers seek to avenge an early and surprising loss to them that came back on Nov. 2, in just their second game of the season.

Montieth & Denari: Pacers' Defense, Paul George and Ian Mahinmi

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Mark Montieth and Chris Denari sit down this week to discuss two big Pacers wins against the Miami Heat and New York Knicks, both top Eastern Conference teams. Paul George has been having an all-star season and Ian Mahinmi has stepped up as a reliable back-up center. As the team continues to win and the Colts' season comes to an end, the Pacers have seemed to capture this city's attention.

Although the Bobcats (9-25) have already exceeded last year's win total, they’re still finding out how tough wins are to come by in the NBA. After losing 18 games in a row, yes 18, the Bobcats have since won two of their last four games, including a 91-81 win at Chicago.

Six Bobcats average in double figures led by second-year guard Kemba Walker who has nearly 18 points and six assists per contest. As Byron Mullens misses time with a sprained ankle, Bismack Biyombo has stepped in. He’s not very polished offensively and sets screens often. Where he has been a big help is on the boards, pulling down a career-high 17 in a game last week. Biyombo has finished with at least eight rebounds in more than half of their games since December.

Starting a rookie is unusual – starting two is rare. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor both have started at least 25 games, a feat only completed by seven others. Kidd-Gilchrist, a super athlete with a high motor, is an attacker that the Pacers always need to have a hand on. He had a bad NBA debut against the Pacers, scoring only two points and going 1-for-7 from the field but he has since become one of the Bobcats' more consistent players and their most efficient scorer, connecting on a team-high 49.7 percent of his shots.

Because the Bobcats lack a significant threat inside, the Pacers should control the paint and glass, especially the way their big men have been playing. The Bobcats are last in the NBA in points in the paint efficiency, according to HoopsStats.com.

As for the Pacers, their offense still is a work in progress. They have failed to shoot above 40 percent in four of their last five games but the good news is that their defense – the top defense in the league – is making up for it. They’re slowing down the game and holding opponents to less than 90 points per game. The Pacers have held their last two opponents, Miami and New York, to season-low outputs.

Paul George has been stellar in the last two games, averaging over 26 points and 11 rebounds in two huge wins over the two teams above the Pacers in the standings. They are now just two games out of first place in the East. George Hill is still under the weather, trying to fight off bronchitis.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

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Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

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Dominic McGuire

Dominic McGuire

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David West

David West

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Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

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Kemba Walker

Jeffery Taylor

M. Kidd-Gilchrist

Tyrus Thomas

Bismack Biyombo

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (probable, bronchitis)
Bobcats: Byron Mullens (out, left ankle sprain)

Noteworthy

  • The Bobcats are 3-12 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Pacers have won nine in a row.
  • Indiana had won nine straight meetings until their first matchup in November.
  • D.J. Augustin was drafted in 2007 by Charlotte, where he played his first four seasons.
  • Bobcats assistant Brian Winters served as the Indiana Fever head coach from 2004-07 and then was a scout for the Pacers until 2011.
  • Paul George is out sick with the flu and will not play.

Last Meeting

The Pacers struggled shooting the ball against a zone and D.J. Augustin’s buzzer-beater didn’t go down as they fell to the Charlotte Bobcats, 90-89, in their second game of the season. The Bobcats' win ended a 23-game losing streak dating back to last season. New Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap decided to play a lot of zone and it was successful in disrupting the Pacers’ offense. As frustration with the zone boiled over, Frank Vogel was called for his first technical foul of the season.

Struggles aside, the Pacers were still in it at the end. Down one with less than 40 seconds to play, Paul George of the Pacers had his shot blocked and the shot clock expired, giving the ball back to the Bobcats. The Pacers had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Augustin, who played on the Bobcats for the past four seasons, missed a corner three as time expired.

The Pacers’ bench had their second-highest output of the season, contributing for 41 points, led by 15 each from Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker scored a career-high 30 points and Gerald Henderson had 18.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

Ticket Information

The Pacers-Bobcats matchup starts at 7:00 PM. Buy Tickets »

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