Don't believe the text messages or the e-mail alerts. Don't believe the scoreboards on your cell phones.
When the hoards of e-alerts went circling around cyberspace that the Indiana Pacers had seemingly dropped a one-point loss to the Wizards Saturday, fans who believed the initial warning were in for a special treat -- a Pacers win.
In a finale that brought back memories of last year's miraculous finish against the Cavs, it took several replays, a controversial foul and two Mike Dunleavy free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining for the Pacers to nab a 114-113 win in Washington. The win was the team's second in a row and snapped a six-game losing streak on the road.
Are we ready to recap this? Take a deep breath because here we go right into the thick of things in the final seconds. Gilbert Arenas clanks two free throws with 6.6 seconds left in the game and the Wiz up, 113-112. On the rebound, the Pacers are forced to make something happen quickly as the team has no timeouts hanging around in coach Jim O'Brien's pocket, so T.J. Ford decides it's his game to win/lose.
The guard takes it coast-to-coast, flings up a layup that sails beyond the goal, but Washington's Brandon Haywood decides he'd like to keep this game going and tips the ball out-of-bounds with 0.0 seconds on the clock. This is when all those alerts hit the airwaves. Game over. Pacers lose.
But, occasionally there's a deity out there that feels sorry about The Brawl and sends some luck toward Indy. After a referee review, it's determined there are actually 0.5 seconds left in the game. The Pacers pull out a page from their past and lob the ball to Dunleavy in the paint, hoping to draw the foul or luck into an easy bucket. Dun's does what he does best -- draws the foul on Haywood. Wizards fans boo. Pacers fans cheer. After another review to make sure that the foul occurred in regulation, Dunleavy stepped to the line and drained two free throws with 0.1 left on the clock and iced the win.
Wizards fans boo (particularly a nutjob behind the scorer's table). Pacers fans cheer. A new batch of alerts are sent out. The end.
That's a lot of junk that happened in just six seconds, but this game was chalk-full of fun material. Check out the jump for more about the other 47 minutes, 54 seconds of this one.
- T.J. Ford wanted to be the goat of this game, really, really badly. The starting point guard (well, of the first half...Ford was demoted for Earl Watson at the start of the third quarter) had only two assists (eight less than Watson), two turnovers and 6-of-16 shooting from the field heading into the final minutes. Read our game thread and you can see the gang readying with fire-lit torches and heading to Conseco to rid themselves of the point guard monster. And it got worse before it got better. With just under two minutes remaining in the game and the Pacers down four with the ball, Ford circumvented the entire perimeter of the court for an isolated pick-and-roll situation with Troy Murphy. Ford then lobbed the ball to the post to the rolling Murphy. The problem? Murph was still setting the pick. The turnover then led to an Earl Boykins jumper (which was made as Ford tried to recover defensively on the weakside), sending the Pacers back six and into a timeout, their last of the game which would effect the finale and yada, yada ,yada...the Pacers miraculously win the game. Needless to say, this stretch of time resulted hair-pulling, tongue-lashing at Ford from my couch. But, we won, so until next time.
- Troy Murphy had a heck of a game, unloading 28 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 39 minutes. Even more impressive was Mike Dunleavy's line of 24 points, five assists, three steals and two game-winning free throws in 26 minutes. It'll be great to get Mike out there for another 10 minutes per game. His cutting, quick-release shots and leadership are top of the pops right now. Jim O'Brien said after the game: ""Troy (Murphy) was terrific but Michael (Dunleavy)'s line, for not having played many games, was terrific. Those two clutch foul shots didn't even move the net. It says a lot for him."
- According to Pacers.com, Indiana's bench outscored its seventh straight opponent. The blue and gold's second unit toppled the Wiz's bench, 49-29.
- Rookie Tyler Hansbrough was clutch in the fourth quarter tonight and may have cemented his role of being on-the-court during crunch-time moments.He scored twice down the stretch in the final minutes and dropped 13 of his 19 points in the fourth while playing like a controlled madman in the post.
- Dahntay Jones left the game midway through the fourth quarter when he landed hard on a dunk attempt. The Pacers said he was diagnosed with a right shoulder contusion. In his place, JOB implemented a version of last year's Jarrett Jack-T.J. Ford backcourt with a Earl Watson-T.J. Ford lineup. I gotta say, I feel much more at ease watching games with Ford at the two-guard spot and Watson controlling the ball.
- What a difference a quarter makes. After giving up 38 first-quarter points to the Wizards, the Pacers defense made a late-appearance and held the home team to just 14 points in the second, allowing the blue and gold to garner a 66-52 halftime advantage. The bad news, of course, was that the Pacers blew that lead by giving up 38 points again the third quarter.
- Gilbert Arenas torched the Pacers for his first triple-double (22 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) in 5 years.
- Dunleavy crushed a half-court heave at the end of the first quarter to keep the Pacers within two at the end of the first period. The shot helped swing the momentum heading into the Pacers' critical second quarter.