NBA Playoffs: Indiana Pacers Take Big Step Forward with Blowout Win in Charlotte

No NameAnalyst IMarch 23, 2011

The Indiana Pacers had about the best Wednesday they could imagine. Not only did they crush the Bobcats in Charlotte, but they also got help from the Sacramento Kings, who defeated the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers entered tonight's game with a two-game lead over the Bobcats and Bucks, and after tonight, that lead has become a three-game advantage.

The Pacers got a great game from both Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough. Granger led all scorers with 33 points, while Tyler added 24 points and five rebounds. Both of them shot the ball well tonight, as Danny hit 11 of his 19 shots, and Hansbrough was on fire, hitting eight of his 10 attempts.

Roy Hibbert also had a solid game for Indiana with another double double. Scoring 13 points, pulling down 14 rebounds, dishing four assists, blocking two shots and getting a steal is all in a day's work for big Roy.

The Pacers won the game by dominating the second half, mainly the third quarter. They outscored the Bobcats by 14 points in the third, and by another eight in the fourth. Final score from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte: Indiana 111, Charlotte 88.

The Pacers turned a 12-point second-quarter deficit into a rout behind the hot-shooting of Granger, who scored 25 points in the 16-minute stretch bridging the second and third periods.

There were flagrant fouls by both teams in this game, but they were not related. Darren Collison had a collision in the first half and went down grabbing his knee, but later returned in the second half.

The Pacers already had the tie-breaker advantage with the Bobcats, if it were to come down to it. Not only did they sweep the four-game series with the Bobcats this year, but they have now won two games in a row on the road. Now, they will head home where they will host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Tonight's win was a really big step forward for the Pacers, but they know they still have a long road ahead of them. They now have 10 games left in the regular season, and will look to close it out down the stretch by holding on to their three-game lead in the East.

The schedule looks pretty favorable when you first look at it. They will get seven of the 10 games at home, and they will face the Kings, the Pistons twice, the Bucks and the Wizards, with a few probable losses mixed in with the Celtics and the Hornets. The last three games all look tough, but all three teams (Hawks, Knicks, Magic) might be resting for the playoffs.

The Pacers have now won five of their last seven games, and improved their record to 32-40 on the season. Friday night's game at Conseco Fieldhouse against the Sacramento Kings is set to tip at 7:00 p.m.