The Indiana Pacers dropped another game on the road, letting a late lead slip away when Monta Ellis scored the game-winner with 0.6 seconds left in the game to give the Golden State Warriors the 110-108 win.
This was a wild one and really what else did you expect?
This game ebbed and flowed like the waves in the Pacific hitting the coastal rocks not far from where the game was played. Both teams took turns in the roll of both the waves and the rocks with wild momentum swings and scoring bursts that made no lead safe at any point in the game.
Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough had the Pacers off and running in the first half as they built up an 11-point lead, erasing an early deficit with a 19-2 run. But there was enough sloppy play thrown in to keep the Warriors hanging around and a late defensive lapse in the second quarter led to an 10-point scoring burst from Ellis to cut the lead to 5 points at the half and put ol' Mo on the Dubs' side of the floor.
While Granger truly led the team in the first half by digging out rebounds and scoring in the flow, it appeared he may just give the game away in the third quarter. His three quick turnovers were part of seven turnovers that put Golden State in control for much of the third quarter. Granger was taken out of his game by Dorell Wright who was giving it to him at both ends.
Yet another late quarter run, this time by the Pacers, with Paul George making plays and scoring six late points left the Pacers up two heading into the fourth quarter. The Pacers played with the lead for much of the final period, taking a four-point lead to the court following a timeout with 2:41 left in the game.
As crunch time continued the Pacers offense became more of a grind. The Pacers went small with Granger, Dunleavy and Rush playing alongside Collison and Foster. Rush played the final 9 minutes but didn't have any interest in being a threat offensively which forced the offense to rely on jumpers from Granger and Dunleavy. Dunleavy missed a great look at 3 and Collison and Granger both turned the ball over on other key possessions in the final 2:41 while the Warriors were converting at the other end to take a lead.
Darren Collison finally took control of a possession with a nice drive and finish while getting fouled by a surprised Stephen Curry. Those three points tied the game leaving the final outcome in the hands of Monta Ellis.
Ellis put a sweet cross-over move on Brandon Rush to create enough space to knock down the dagger and leave the Pacers enough time to attempts a lob to Tyler Hansbrough that never had a chance. Ellis finished with 36 points, playing the role of stone-cold killer, closing out the Pacers who have no such answer on their roster.
A few more thoughts after the jump, including more on Jim O'Brien turning to the future with his playing rotation.
- Roy Hibbert stayed back at the team hotel, sick with an upper respiratory infection. Josh McRoberts started in place of Hibbert at center and played 18 minutes. McRoberts was up and down, but did have one sweet flush on a feed from Granger. Jeff Foster ended up playing the bulk of the minutes in the post and all of the minutes down the stretch.
- A.J. Price took over the second-unit minutes at point guard which explains T.J. Ford's tweet earlier in the day about being ready for anything or something like that. Price was shaky for his two stints on the floor with three turnovers that were all simply careless ball handling. He finally settled down late in his third quarter run, but no one will be happy overall with the effort. Big deal, he needs to play those limited minutes for several games. I've certainly seen worse from Ford at times.
- Paul George looked great off the bench as well. He defended and rebounded until some opportunities to score came his way. He was able to take the ball up the court a couple of times and end up drawing a couple of trips to the line. George was in the game for the deciding possession for defensive purposes but I wish he would've been on Ellis. Hindsight as it is.
- Danny Granger finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists. He was monstrous at times and played with great energy throughout. He just couldn't close things out at crunch time and his 7 turnovers were lapses that fueled the Warriors at various points in the game.
- Tyler Hansbrough came out strong and finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds. He saw minimal minutes in the second half as the Pacers stuck with a small lineup. When the offense bogged down, it would've been nice to have him out there for Collison to run a couple of pick n' rolls with to get something different going on the offensive end. Obviously he doesn't have that trust from Jim O'Brien and I can't say I blame JOB in this case.
- Once again, the Pacers struggled to score right around the basket. Jeff Foster grabbed 15 rebounds but missed some bunnies that would've helped tremendously. He wasn't the only one though.