Talent and ability does not always lead to success in life; equally important is having the proper mind-set. One has to have the confidence that they can get the job done; otherwise they will always be doomed to failure no matter how gifted they are. Sometimes all it takes is having a person in authority that believes in you; that certainly appears to be the case with Indiana Pacers starting center Roy Hibbert. A year ago the former Georgetown Hoya, played tentatively under his former head coach Jim O’Brien; always fearing being berated once again by the Indiana bench boss. That came to an end when O’Brien was replaced by his former assistant Frank Vogel; who knew the 7’2″ center had talent he just needed some encouragement.
Vogel’s assessment of Hibbert turned out to be spot-on and so far in the young campaign the 25-year-old center has blossomed helping his team get off to a strong start to the regular season. Saturday night the Pacers hosted the Charlotte Bobcats at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hibbert led the way with 20 points as the Pacers blasted the Bobcats 99-77. Indiana had six players in double figures as the club shot 50.6% (39-77) for the night while holding their opponents to an anemic 32.6% (29-89) for the game.
The Bobcats looked like they were on the verge of blowing their hosts out of their own arena in the first 12 minutes of play as they dominated the entire period. Charlotte backup center Byron Mullens hit a shot with 32 seconds left in the first and his team was on top 30-22 at the conclusion of the quarter. The visitors offense slowed to a trickle during the second, but the Pacers were not much better. Indiana forward David West dropped a shot three feet away from the hoop with 32 seconds to play and he would help cut his team’s deficit at the half. When the two clubs went to their locker rooms the Bobcats still held a 49-43 advantage.
Charlotte’s shooting woes continued in the third; however the Pacers found their shooting touch as they came back from their locker room. Darren Collison sunk a four-foot bunny with 9:03 in the period and the game was knotted up at 51-51. Momentum at that point switched over to Indiana and they spurted ahead as far as holding an eight point lead. Charlotte would rally and get back tow within two points, however they could get no closer. The Pacers pulled ahead once again just as the period was winding down this time it was Indiana with the upper hand with score 71-63. The Bobcats never came close to challenging the rest of the night and the Pacers sent the home-crowd with smiles on their faces.
Hibbert knocked down 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal while Tyler Hansbrough came up strong off the bench with 15 points, 6 rebounds and a steal. Darren Collison had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a block while his backup George Hill added 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Danny Granger also chipped in 13 points while West added 10 points.
D.J. Augustin once again had a strong game for Charlotte despite the loss; the point guard also scored 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal while Gerald Henderson racked up a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Tyrus Thomas and Mullens each added 10 points in the loss. The Pacers now have a 6-2 mark and travel to Philadelphia to face the Sixers on Monday while the B-Cats are at 2-6 and will head to New York as they take on the Knicks Monday.