'He looked great out there'

Point guard George Hill didn't have much to say after his season debut, but others spoke volumes about his solid play.

Before most reporters could file into the Indiana Pacers’ locker room Tuesday night, George Hill was already finished talking.

And he didn’t want to rehash his 15-point season debut anymore.

Others were more than willing to discuss Hill’s impact on the 96-84 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“George’s IQ is very high,” forward David West said of the seventh-year pro. “He’s a multi-dimensional guard up top, he can shoot the three and he’s got that world-class speed. He’s just going to add to what we’re doing.”

The Pacers (10-19) prevailed in back-to-back games for just the third time this NBA season. Hill missed 28 games with a left knee contusion suffered near the end of preseason. That’s why the point guard came off the bench in his first action, but he played 21 minutes and 15 seconds. And his 15 points led the team.

“He’s going to work his way into better shape,” West said. “He’ll be able to contribute more as he gets more comfortable as his body gets adjusted to playing.”

Center Roy Hibbert spoke of Hill’s defensive length.

“Just his defensive prowess,” Hibbert said of what Hill brings to the court, “to be able to guard and get his hands on a lot of loose balls and be on the break.”

Coach Frank Vogel also praised Hill’s performance on both ends.

“He looked great out there,” Vogel said. “Great return for him, everything George Hill gives us, length and quickness and speed on the defensive end, size at the point-guard position defensively and really made a lot of heady offensive plays.

“He made some big shots. He had a good-shooting night, and his shooting is going to come and go in the next two or three weeks or so as he fights through soreness and stuff he’s not used to. He just played a great basketball game on both ends.”

Hill hit 5-of-8 shots, 2-of-3 3-points and 3-of-4 foul shots. He also had four rebounds, three assists and one steal.

“I thought he played well,” Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday said. “He’s a leader for them and a scorer and he was able to put some numbers (up) for them.”

The Pacers had a 44-40 lead on the Pelicans (14-14) after the first half. But Hill scored 11 of his points in the second half, when Indiana outscored New Orleans 26-21 in the third quarter and 26-23 in the final quarter.

Ahead just 52-51, Solomon Hill hit a 3-pointer to start a pivotal stretch. A C.J. Watson layup, West 19-foot jumper, Lavoy Allen layup off a Rodney Stuckey steal and West hook shot built a 63-53 lead. Watson added another layup and a 15-footer, then Hill entered for him and hit a couple of foul shots, then another. The Pacers led 70-61 after three.

After two Luis Scola free throws, Hill scored on a layup and then hit a 3-pointer for a 12-point lead. New Orleans eventually closed its deficit to nine, but Hill banked home another 3-pointer from 27 feet.

When Hill did speak afterward, he admitted there was the expected fatigue, that he wasn’t yet 100 percent, but also about the importance of bringing his teammates together.

“I think any team is better when it plays as a team,” Hill said. “That showed in the (NBA) Finals last year as (champion) San Antonio played a complete game. We’re just trying to figure out what lineups work, who plays well with each other, and continue to help each other try to win a game.”

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

scoutpacers Top Stories