China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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 a poor night from Ge­orge to im­prove its 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 two-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. Ra­sual But­ler, play­ing his most sig­nif­i­cant min­utes (23:47) of the sea­son, scored eight points on three-of-five shoot­ing.

“That’s a good win against a good team that we have re­spect for,” Vo­gel said. “We un­der­stood this would be a bat­tle.”

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

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