Rookie A.J. Price sealed the deal with seven seconds remaining, making two free throws and snuffing out the Bobcats once and for all. Credit to Charlotte for playing this one for all 48 minutes. The visitors had plenty of opportunities to pack it in during the fourth quarter when the Pacers were able to push back a couple of runs by Charlotte to maintain a double-digit lead.
The Pacers couldn't push back the final run, though and simply had to hang onto the W for dear life. With three minutes left in the game, the Pacers were up by 12. Charlotte then went on a 9-0 run as the Pacers pitched in with their own mistakes.
Nothing was going right.
Dahntay Jones nearly had the NBA's highlight of the night when he attempted to jump over a pile of players for a follow dunk. He couldn't quite reach it and in the ensuing scrum for the ball under the rim, Jones inadvertently jacked Danny Granger with an elbow which eventually led to Granger staggering back to the locker room with assistance.
Somehow, the Pacers averted the ultimate implosion, though. Between bad fouls, bad shots and a key turnover by Earl Watson, the Bobcats were primed to swipe the win. However, Stephen Jackson missed an open 3-ball and then Boris Diaw literally threw a pass to Troy Murphy to keep the Bobcats from ever catching the Pacers.
After the jump, more thoughts on the win.
- Charlotte appeared to be cruising early, but a huge second quarter put the Pacers in control of the game. A.J. Price sparked the offense off the bench, pumping in a quick seven points. Price finished with 11 points including the two big free throws to close it out.
- Mike Dunleavy had his best game in, well, I can't remember when. For whatever reason, he seemed to have an extra pep in his step as he seemed to be moving all night. After Brandon Rush picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, Dunleavy really made his presence felt. He knocked down three second half 3-pointers and finished with 15 points in 27 minutes.
- The Pacers second quarter was solid at both ends of the court as they hit the Bobcats with separate runs of 14-0 and 9-0.
- The second quarter seemed to frustrate old friend, Stephen Jackson who had a frustrating night. Maybe it's the Fieldhouse but aside from a couple of buckets in the fourth quarter, Jack seemed out of sorts all night. He even picked up a classic technical with 25 seconds left in the half after he compared a foul called on him to a certain type of farm excrement.
- Speaking of former Pacers, the anti-Jack, Stephen Graham hit up the Pacers for a career-high 19 points. The Pacers caught a break with Gerald Wallace sidelined by a foot injury, but Graham did his part to fill the void left by Wallace's absence.
- Danny Granger seemed to relish the chance to go at Jack and had the upper hand for most of the night. Before being knocked out of the game, Granger hit a pair of big threes to push the Pacers lead back to 12 with three minutes left in the game. Not the most efficient night for Granger as he had 26 points and 8 rebounds on 25 shots. He also had a horrible turnover late in the game when he aborted a shot attempt before it really started.
- Troy Murphy did what he does, putting up a typical 19 point, 13 rebound double-double. Murph didn't do much of that late in the game, but he did help secure the win by stepping in to steal a pass from Boris Diaw.
- Solomon Jones jumped back into the playing rotation after his solid outing late in the Milwaukee game. With Solo back in action, Josh McRoberts took the DNP-CD. Jones was active inside defensively blocking a couple of shots and altering others.
- Roy Hibbert started the game by taking Theo Ratliff off the dribble (enjoy the visual) for a bucket. He struggled to get much going after that though, scoring only nine points on nine shots.
- Ratliff was a big reason Charlotte started out so strong. He had three blocks in rapid succession on Danny Granger in the first quarter, but Ratliff couldn't sustain the effort past the solid start.