INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 24 points, and Roy Hibbert added 16 rebounds and seven blocks, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 97-87 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.
The two-man tandem looked every bit as dominant in the season opener as they did leading the Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals last season.
George’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter gave Indiana a 69-64 lead and sparked the decisive 17-4 run to open the fourth.
Hibbert nearly matched his career-high for rebounds (17) in the first half. He had eight points but left the game midway through the fourth quarter after injuring his knee in a spill underneath his own basket. Team officials said it was not serious and he could have returned.
But it was George’s 3 that provided the spark Indiana needed to seize control.
Victor Oladipo, the ex-Hoosiers star and No. 2 overall draft pick, had 12 points and three turnovers for the Magic.
Fans gave Oladipo a warm reception in his return to his adopted home state. More than 90 minutes before tipoff, one section was almost full of fans decked out in Indiana University colors or fans wearing new Magic jerseys.
KNICKS: The starting lineup still isn’t finalized and the bench will be weakened. Not the ideal way for New York to start a season, which begins tonight against Milwaukee at Madison Square Garden
Carmelo Anthony will perhaps be back at the power forward spot and J.R. Smith won’t be in the arena while he serves a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program.
Coach Mike Woodson said he wouldn’t decide on his lineup until today, though hinted that he was leaning toward moving Anthony back to the position he’s played most of the last 1½ seasons, after previously planning to go with a conventional lineup that would have the NBA’s leading scorer at his normal small forward spot.
WARRIORS: Harrison Barnes will miss at least the first two games of the regular season with a left foot injury.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson told reporters following Tuesday’s practice that shooting guard Klay Thompson will start in the season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Jackson also said that Thompson already had earned the nod and will start even when Barnes returns.
MAVERICKS: Gersson Rosas resigned as general manager on Tuesday, just three months into his new job.
Rosas was hired Aug. 1 to fill a position that had been vacant since former coach and GM Don Nelson left the franchise eight years ago. Most of those duties fell to Nelson’s son, Donnie, the president of basketball operations.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban asked the younger Nelson to find an addition for the front office with stronger organizational skills, and Nelson came back with Rosas, who had been an assistant to general manager Daryl Morey in Houston.
The 35-year-old Rosas, who reported to Nelson, said in a statement issued by the team that the job “was not the best fit for me at this point in my career.”
“The decision was made solely by me, as I firmly believe this change is in my best interest,” Rosas said. “Mark Cuban asked me to reconsider my decision, but graciously accepted my decision and we part as friends.”