Hill leads Pacers over Pelicans 96-84

New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers (25) passes the basketball guarded by Indiana Pacers guard George Hill in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill made an impactful season debut Tuesday night, leading the Pacers to a 96-84 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

After missing the first 28 games with a left knee contusion, Hill had a team-high 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. With their floor general back at the helm, the Pacers had a cohesiveness they haven’t had at any point this season.

New Orleans was led by Anthony Davis, who scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Tyreke Evans finished with 14 points and one rebound. Jrue Holiday also had 16 points.

Hill’s ability to control the game’s flow – and his teammates’ production – made all the difference.

Indiana (10-19) finished with six players scoring in double figures thanks in large part to a synergy that hadn’t existed with Hill on the bench. All night, the Pacers were willing to make the extra pass to get a better shot. And their passes seemed crisper Tuesday. Things just seemed easier on offense with Hill guiding the way against New Orleans (14-14).

David West and Solomon Hill each finished with 13 points. Roy Hibbert scored 14 points and tied a season-high with seven blocks. CJ Miles added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Pacers. C.J. Watson, who started at point guard for Indiana on Tuesday, scored 10 points.

While the end result was Hill providing a much-needed boost, he did have to knock off some rust. His first two passes were bobbled by teammates and he finished the game with two turnovers.

Early in the fourth quarter, Hill awkwardly finished a 2-on-1 breakaway with Miles after bobbling what would have been an attempt at a lob to Miles toward the rim. Hill kept the ball within his reach despite losing control and cautiously guided the ball onto the backboard for a layup.

___

TIP-INS

Pacers: Point guard George Hill made his season debut against New Orleans after missing the first 28 games of the season with a left knee contusion.

Pelicans: Former University of Kentucky star and current MVP candidate Anthony Davis received a rousing ovation during the introduction of starting lineups. Rupp Arena, home of Kentucky basketball, is 188 miles from Indianapolis.

UP NEXT

Indiana plays at Detroit on Friday.

New Orleans hosts San Antonio on Friday.

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