Tyler Hansbrough gave the Indiana Pacers strong indication in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series that he’s willing to do anything he can to get the team past the Atlanta Hawks. It won’t be easy, but Hansbrough gives the Pacers the type of assistance from off the bench the team needs to keep the Hawks at bay.
Indiana slumped toward the end of the regular season and didn’t seem ready for the playoffs. They came through on Sunday in game 1 and Hansbrough played well from off the bench in a 107-90 victory.
Hansbrough came in for 17 minutes and got the ball in key situations and made some key plays for the Pacers. He was 3-of-5 from the floor in 17 minutes of action and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe for nine points. He had two steals and five rebounds.
In the last regular-season game against the Sixers, Hansbrough scored nine points and had nine rebounds, serving notice to the Pacers that he was ready for help this team do well in the playoffs.
For the season, Hansbrough was at 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. The Pacers need him for the 17 minutes he’s been averaging a game.
Quiet contributions from players like Hansbrough will be critical. In his fourth season with the Pacers, Hansbrough has a chance to make the biggest contributions for Indiana that he’s made since joining on the roster. Most observers expect the series to go seven games. If it does, Hansbrough will have to be ready for key minutes each game.