No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis is already a good player and, barring injury, will probably one day become one of the best players in the entire NBA.
But in the last 3:40 of the Pacers' 81-75 win over the Hornets on Saturday night he was merely David West's bitch. West, who only had 5 points in the first half as the Hornets raced to a 46-29 lead at the break, scored 20 more in the second half, including 8 points on 4-4 shooting in the final 4 minutes, all over the outstretched hands of Davis.
It was the same thing over and over. Catch the ball on the block. Drive, create contact, contested fadeaway, jumper or baby hook. Worked every time no matter how tightly he was being guarded by his former team.
Thanks to David West beast mode, which has saved the Pacers in probably half a dozen games already this season, the Pacers were able to come all the way back from a 22-point deficit to secure their 7th win in 8 games, moving up to 16-12 for the year.
The other big contributor of the night was Lance Stephenson, who scored 6 of his 10 points in the last 5 minutes, including massive putback from a Paul George miss that put the Pacers up by 4 with less than a minute to go.
George Hill was again solid. He had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists but hit some big shots during the Pacers comeback. Roy Hibbert had 5 blocks but only had 6 points as he was frequently embarrassed by Robin Lopez, who led the Hornets with 24 points, at the other end. Yes, Robin Lopez.
Paul George had 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, but he was clearly tired towards the end of the game and missed a bunch of shots badly -- though he did hit two big free throws to ice the game. In fact, the entire Pacers team was probably feeling a bit of fatigue on the second night of a back-to-back and apparently being stranded in Cleveland overnight.
Gerald Green missed the game with a sprainked ankle and the bench didn't do a whole lot. Mahinmi had 6 points, while Tyler Hansbrough had 4. DJ Augustin hit a free throw and that was it.
The Pacers get a bit of a break now as they don't play again until Wednesday night at home against the Bulls. It will be a HUGE game because they are currently tied for the lead in Central, with the Bulls holding the edge in percentage points. The last time the two teams met Paul George scored 34 points in an 80-76 win for the Pacers in Chicago, so no doubt the Bulls will be trying to get one back.