Bench puts Pacers in-and gives hope-for playoffs

Indiana PacersGeorge HillDarren CollisonFrank VogelTyler HansbroughCleveland CavaliersLeandro Barbosa

INDIANAPOLIS - No streamers or ballons fell from the raftors nor any extended cheers or ovation. 

They didn't in 2011 when the Pacers clinched one of the eight spots in the Eastern Conference post-season bracket, but the resounding sentiment to ending a half-decade playoff drougth was equal. 

Fast forward a season later and only an announcement with some cheers greeted the team when Bankers Life Fieldhouse public address announce Michael Grady told the crowd of the news following the Pacers' 102-83 win over Cleveland Friday night.

At 37-22, the though of just "being there" is no longer something to celebrate. 

"We haven't accomplished anything yet," said head coach Frank Vogel bluntly following the Pacers' win Friday. "Nothing has changed for us. We felt for a while we would be in the playoffs but until we get home court advantage there is still work to be done."

At the very least it appears Vogel will have plenty of people to do so as the game against the Cavaliers showed the teams ability to get production deep into their bench. 

That started with George Hill, who filled in again for Darren Collison who continues to nurse an injured foot. The first-year Pacers guard burst out of the gate with 15 first half points, then picked up five assists in the second half to finish with seven.

Hil's performance came off two other solid efforts this past week in the starters role, when he combined for 32 points and 12 assists in wins over Toronto and the Cavaliers in Cleveland. 

"In San Antoinio I was doing both, starting sometimes and coming off the bench. So its just being ready," said Hill of his strong starting performances. "Just being ready and keep pounding that rock, even though its been an up-and-down season for me-playing good sometimes, playing bad sometimes.

"Just keep pounding that rock until you finally break."

Such a statement sumises those who didn't start for the Pacers on Friday who came back in the second half with a vengence. Eight players combined to score 41 first half points-13 of which came in a 34-point Pacers quarter that turned a two-point Cavaliers halftime lead into a 19-point advantage for the home team with 12 to play.

"I think our depth helps us, especially this season and hopefully it will carry us to the playoffs," said forward Tyler Hansbrough, who led teh bench players with 16 points. 

Leandro Barbosa chipped in 13 points as well, joining the 12 Pacers players who scored at least a point in Friday's game. 

"That's the great thing, so many guys have an opportunity to play," said forward Danny Granger.

If they keep doing the same, that opportunity could go through late May. 



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