Hansbrough scores 23 as Indiana edges OKC
By Mark Long
ORLANDO, Fla. ó James Harden and Tyler Hansbrough are giving a glimpse of what to expect from them this NBA season, and it’s exactly what the teams that drafted them hoped to see.Harden and Hansbrough enjoyed solid performances for the second straight night, creating matchup problems, making shots and doing everything that made them sought-after stars in college.
Harden, the third pick by Oklahoma City in last month’s draft, had 19 points and five rebounds Tuesday in the most anticipated matchup of the Orlando summer league.
Hansbrough, the 13th pick by Indiana, was even better. With team president Larry Bird watching from the baseline, Hansbrough scored 23 points, hit two 3-pointers and led the Pacers to a 91-88 victory.
Hansbrough, who sealed the win by making two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, went 6-for-10 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the line in 25 minutes off the bench.”It’s not really about showing for me,” said Hansbrough, who has 40 points and nine rebounds in two games. “It’s about getting a feel for what we like to do and how we run things. I’m still trying to expand my game. The Pacers, all their guys can shoot, so I’m really working on that.”
Hansbrough, who took about 250 shots a day from 3-point range earlier this year, was 2-for-2 on Tuesday.
“He can really shoot,” said Pacers teammate Roy Hibbert, who had 24 points and eight rebounds. “People don’t really know that. Obviously, with me in the post, it sucked people in, and he hit 3s. That’ll widen up the floor for us.”
Hansbrough takes offense to anyone who questioned his long-range shooting ability heading into the draft. He made a dozen 3-pointers in four years at North Carolina.
“I didn’t need to go out and shoot 3s,” he said. “I just dominated inside.”
Hansbrough also wants to prove he’s athletic enough to play in the NBA. He put the ball on the floor several times Tuesday, finishing once with a two-handed baseline dunk.”That’s what I proved in my workouts, things like that,” he said. “People were just saying that and people bought into it. I still get the job done, whether it’s athletic or not. I think I’m athletic.”