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News » Pacers-Wizards Preview 2009-12-12

Pacers-Wizards Preview 2009-12-12

Pacers-Wizards Preview 2009-12-12Tyler Hansbrough has put up back-to-back efforts that are exactly what the Indiana Pacers need while playing without leading scorer Danny Granger.

Hansbrough and the Pacers look to end a six-game road slide Saturday night when they try to go 2-0 against the Washington Wizards this season.

The rookie scored a season-high 21 points Friday in a 107-91 home win over New Jersey that snapped Indiana's overall six-game losing streak. The Pacers (7-13) improved to 2-1 playing without Granger, who is out at least four weeks with a foot injury and averages 24.4 points.

"He was playing as well as anybody on the team," coach Jim O'Brien said of Hansbrough. "His intensity on the court was something we needed."

In their first game since learning the news about Granger, the Pacers fell 102-91 to Portland on Wednesday despite Hansbrough finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double.

Hansbrough was drafted 13th overall after helping North Carolina win the NCAA title last season, and he missed the first four games with a shin injury. He made his debut Nov. 6 against Washington (7-13) with 13 points in a 102-86 victory.

He wasn't the only Pacers youngster to have a strong game Friday. Second-year center Roy Hibbert scored a career-high 20, making his first 3-pointer.

"They're going to be great players here for a long time," Pacers forward Troy Murphy said. "It's exciting for the fans to see them here. They're going to be the future."

Indiana hasn't won on the road since a 91-83 victory over New Jersey on Nov. 17. The Pacers have lost four of their last five visits to the Verizon Center - all with Granger.

"We can't dwell on Danny being out," Hibbert said. "We just have to put five out there at a time, and everybody work hard and hold the franchise down until Danny gets back."

Washington has lost three straight after falling 104-102 to Boston on Thursday. The Wizards weren't able to overcome a 37-point effort by the Celtics in the second quarter, also failing to get credit for an individual rebound in that period.

"When you get torched like we did in the second quarter defensively, it's very rare for a team to come back," coach Flip Saunders said.

Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points but missed two key free throws down the stretch. Arenas bounced back from an eight-point effort Sunday in a 98-94 loss at Detroit.

The Wizards star believes his club needs to end its habit of playing well only against top contenders.

"We get up for games like this," he said. "It's the other games we have to start getting up for. Right now, we're a bottom-feeder team."

The Wizards are 5-6 since Antawn Jamison made his season debut Nov. 18 after missing nine games with a shoulder injury. Jamison is averaging 14.3 points in his last four games, but he scored 29.7 per game in three meetings with Indiana last season.

The Pacers and Wizards finish the season series March 24 in Indianapolis.

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Added: December 12, 2009


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