C.J. Miles scores 23 points, Pacers beat Hornets 88-79 in preseason finale



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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — C.J. Miles wasn't too happy with his play this preseason and was eager to gain some positive momentum heading into the regular season.

Mission accomplished.

Miles came out shooting Thursday night and scored 23 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Charlotte Hornets 88-79 in the preseason finale for both teams.

Miles made six of his first seven shots and from the field, and Luis Scola had 15 points and 12 rebounds. David Sloan added 11 points and eight assists.

"As a team and an individual, I felt like we needed a game like this to get some rhythm," Miles said. "I've been kind of off a little bit."

The Pacers played without George Hill (knee), Rodney Stuckey (foot), David West (ankle) and, of course Paul George, who is recovered from a gruesome leg injury this summer.

Coach Frank Vogel offered no timetable for their returns, saying he would know more next week.

"I feel like I want to get guys healthy, but I'm also excited about getting the regular season started," Vogel said.

Indiana (3-4) limited Charlotte (3-5) to 37 percent shooting from the field.

Brian Roberts started for the injured Kemba Walker and led Charlotte with 19 points. Al Jefferson had 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting and added seven rebounds, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in with 13 points.

The Hornets are limping into the regular season as well.

Wallker (foot), Lance Stephenson (groin) and Gerald Henderson (hamstring) and forward Noah Vonleh (ankle) sat out with injuries.

The Hornets trailed by 14 to begin the fourth quarter but cut it to 75-73 with 5:13 left behind rookie P.J. Hairston, who had a fast-break dunk off a steal and a 3-pointer.

But Miles made a driving layup sandwiched in between a pair of free throws and a baseline jumper from Solomon Hill to help the Pacers squash the rally and pull ahead for good.

Hairston, one of the team's first-round draft picks, finished with 11 points.

Charlotte clearly lacked firepower with Walker and Stephenson on the bench.

Coach Steve Clifford wasn't happy with his team's overall effort, calling in "unacceptable" after the game.

"We had guys just show up and get a workout in," Clifford said. "That's not an approach you can have in this league. We don't have a ton of talent. If we don't have the intensity of last year we will have a hard time winning."

TIP-INS

Pacers: Roy Hibbert said he spent time Wednesday night with Stephenson and made his ex-teammate buy him dinner after signing a three-year, $27.4 million contract with the Hornets this offseason. "I had to call him and tell him he was going to pay," Hibbert joked. ... Chris Copeland had 11 points off the bench.

Hornets: Gary Neal has been one of Charlotte's best players during the season, but he had a rough night. Neal was 1 of 11 from the field and was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up two technical fouls for arguing with officials.

PLAYING DEFENSE

Hairston is a guy who'll be able to help the Hornets on the offensive end, but the concern may be if he becomes a defensive liability. "He has to understand how to learn how to play better defense, but that's normal for a rookie," Jefferson said. "I think he's much better off now though than when we first started training camp."

MKG'S JUMPER

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shot has improved to a certain extent as his shooting elbow no longer flails to the side. Kidd-Gilchrist worked with former NBA star and Hornets assistant coach Mark Price extensively during the offseason to alleviate the hitch in his motion. It's a work in progress, but so far things are looking better.

UP NEXT

Indiana hosts Philadelphia in the regular-season opener Oct. 29.

Charlotte hosts Milwaukee in the regular-season opener Oct. 29.

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