Tyler Hansbrough is excited about his Indiana Pacers taking on the Miami Heat in Florida on Sunday. But to his credit, Hansbrough didn’t look past the Orlando Magic Friday night. Neither did his teammates.
The Pacers are going to give the Heat a battle not only this Sunday but potentially in the playoffs if they meet, because they have enough depth to do it.
Hansbrough proved it by coming off the bench and having 18 points and six rebounds in a 115-86 NBA whipping of the Magic.
The Pacers don’t miss a beat when Hansbrough comes into the game. He got 20 minutes of action again the Magic and hit 7-of-10 shots from the floor and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe. He grabbed three offensive and three defensive rebounds, dished out two assists and had one blocked shot.
Hansbrough went well above his season averages against the Magic. He’s averaging 6.3 points and 4.0 rebound a game. But he’s only averaging 15.8 minutes a game. Friday night he showed Indiana coaches why he deserves more playing time. His season totals are below his career averages of 8.9 points. 4.6 boards and 19.7 minutes per game.
This game should give Hansbrough the confidence he needs to reestablish his game and be more of valuable contributor for the Pacers. Prior to the game against the Magic, Hansbrough was 2-of-5 in his last three games. He needed to make a case for his playing time and he did that Friday night.
Sunday, Hansbrough hopes to get another chance against Miami. It’s a perfect place for him to show the Pacers he can be one of their top bench players.