• The Bobcats got back backup center Bismack Biyombo, who had missed the previous two games with a sprained ankle. Biyombo’s return has value, not just in itself, but because coach Steve Clifford wants to avoid playing starter Al Jefferson more than around 33 minutes per game.
Clifford said that’s the range where Jefferson is most effective, and he has had a couple of games lately where he was up around 38 minutes.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
• Clifford said pre-game he needs to trust his bench more to avoid wearing down the starters. He seemed to put that into practice in the first half, when four reserves played nine or more minutes.
• Interesting dynamic in crowd factions at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday: This was the first time former Indiana star Cody Zeller played in his home state as a pro. There were plenty of Hoosiers fans cheering whenever Zeller scored, and a comparable number of Pacers fans annoyed that people weren’t treating Zeller like the opposition.
• The Pacers post defense makes it a chore to score points in the paint, but the Bobcats were effective Friday on the offensive boards, with 14 second-chance points in the first half.