Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers improve their franchise record home start to 11-0 with a 99-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Center Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana overcame an off night from Paul George, who had 10 points on two-of-12 shooting in the Pacers’ first game since defeating the two-time defending champions Miami Heat on Wednesday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Al Jefferson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats, who extended their losing streak in Indiana to eight games. Charlotte was trying to win on the Pacers’ home court for the first time 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 minutes, 47 seconds) of the season, scored eight points on three-of-five shooting.
The Pacers led 56-55 at halftime, but trailed by 90-89 after Gerald Henderson sank a 15-foot jump shot with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter. Stephenson’s layup made it 91-90 with 4:18 to play and Indiana never trailed again.
The San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics also recorded victories on Friday to keep atop of their respective divisions.
In San Antonio, Tony Parker had 29 points to offset a season-high 42 points from Kevin Love and the Spurs rallied for a 117-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Manu Ginobili had 20 points and nine assists, fueling a 37-21 fourth quarter that helped the Spurs avoid their second home loss this season.
In Boston, Avery Bradley scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, hitting a three-pointer with 2:38 to play to give the Celtics the lead for good, and Boston beat the New York Knicks 90-86.
Jared Sullinger had 19 points and six rebounds, all but one basket in the first half when the Celtics opened a 17-point lead. Courtney Lee scored 18 points, and Brandon Bass had 10 points and eight rebounds for Boston, who held onto first place in the woeful Atlantic Division.
Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Andrea Bargnani had 22 for the Knicks. However, Anthony missed a jumper that could have tied it after Bradley gave Boston the lead, and then he was blocked by Jeff Green with a minute to play.
In other games, Andre Drummond had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons held off a determined Brooklyn rally, beating the Nets 103-99. Eric Gordon scored 25 points as the New Orleans Pelicans won 104-98 over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Also, the Atlanta Hawks edged the Washington Wizards 101-99 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Sacramento Kings 116-107.