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Pacers rip Charlotte

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INDIANAPOLIS — Roy Hibbert was limited, and David West didn’t play.

But it didn’t matter.

The Indiana Pacers still had plenty of frontcourt firepower, and All-Star Paul George played like, well, an All-Star.

George tallied his first career triple-double, and big men Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Pendergraph and Ian Mahinmi combined for 39 points to power Indiana to a 101-77 rout of the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

With the victory, the Pacers — who were coming off two overtime home losses — enter the All-Star break on a high note.

Winners of five of their past seven games and 21 of their past 31 overall, they have a half-game edge on Chicago for the Central Division lead and boast the third-best record in the Eastern Conference heading into All-Star weekend.

George, who is making his first All-Star appearance, finished with 23 points, 12 assists, 12 rebounds and two steals. The performance was a stark contrast to his five-point outing in Monday’s 89-84 overtime loss against the visiting Brooklyn Nets.

Indiana also got a collective lift from Hansbrough, Pendergraph and Mahinmi.

Hansbrough started at power forward for West, who sat out with a scratched left eye suffered against the Nets. Hansbrough responded with 19 points and five rebounds.

Pendergraph and Mahinmi scored 10 points each off the bench and grabbed eight and five rebounds, respectively. They had two blocks each and filled a second-half void when starting center Hibbert drew his fifth foul with 7:01 left in the third quarter.

Hibbert, who finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, did not return after going to the bench. By that point, the Pacers didn’t need him.

Indiana (31-21) extended a 49-46 halftime lead to 70-60 at the end of the third quarter. The advantage was 21 with 7:15 to play. The final score was the Pacers’ biggest lead.

All 13 players on Indiana’s roster, including rookie Miles Plumlee, played three or more minutes.

George Hill was one of six Pacers in double figures with 11 points. He also had four assists and two steals.

Charlotte (12-40), which has the NBA’s worst record, shot only 31.7 percent from the the field and was outrebounded 53-45.

Byron Mullens led the Bobcats with 19 points. Gerald Henderson 14 and Ramon Sessions scored 13 off the bench. Bismack Biyombo had game-highs of 16 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Indiana’s next game is Feb. 20 against the visiting New York Knicks.

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