Feb. 21, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison (2) dribbles the ball around the back court against the New Orleans Hornets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated New Orleans 117-108. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE
Key segment of the game: Out of timeout with 4:25 left, New Orleans has the ball up 89-86 after Roy Hibbert turned the ball over. Momentum was with New Orleans as they had be back another Pacers rally and now had a chance to go up by two possession. The Hornets got just what they wanted out of the time out with an open three-point shot for Marco Belinelli. Instead of going up by six points, the ball rims out for Hibbert to rebound. Monty Williams quickly turned around and walked back toward his bench grimacing at the missed opportunity, knowing that would come back to bite them. At the other end, Darren Collison hit a three-pointer to tie the score and Williams' intuition was quickly confirmed.
Veteran savvy: In the first half, with the Pacers trying to rally, down six, a travel call gave the Pacers the ball. With Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison returning to the floor after the whistle, New Orleans quickly applied a little full-court pressure and the Pacers didn't have enough guys back to help break the press as ball was about to be handed to David West. So as West called for reinforcements, he stepped onto the court so the ref couldn't hand him the ball. Savvy little move to gather a couple of seconds needed to handle the pressure. The Pacers handled the pressure and Roy Hibbert eventually finished the possession with a bucket and foul, converting the three-point play.
Frank Vogel rode his starters for heavy minutes even if you take off the five overtime minutes. Once again the bench struggled to produce, save for A.J. Price who single-handedly kept their collective head above water in the second unit's second half rotation, going on a personal 6-0 toward the end of the third quarter. Tyler Hansbrough, who averages 22:30 minutes per game, continued struggling to convert scoring opportunities and played season-low 15:49 minutes.
Darren Collison had a nice, aggressive and productive game with 18 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds and only one turnover. Maybe the pending return of George Hill and Vogel's mention of Hill pushing for a starting job added a little edge to DC's game, although I actually don't think DC is wired to react to such public prodding. He did have a big ice pack on his shoulder courtesy of those eight rebounds which included three big ones in overtime. "I was trying to help Roy Hibbert board a little bit and get some rebounds," Collison said of the ice pack. "That's what happens when a little guy tries to go inside."
The Pacers benefited from three technical fouls on the Hornets. Unfortunately they didn't do a good job of cashing in on the freebies. Danny Granger missed the first technical free throw. So Frank Vogel turned to Darren Collison to try to start a new streak, but he missed the second technical. Finally, after Bennie Adams baited Chris Kaman into saying the magic words, A.J. Price took advantage of the technical and made the free throw.
Former Pacers big man Solomon Jones is on a 10-day contract with New Orleans and played some solid minutes off the bench including a monster slam over Hibbert at one point. In all Jones played over 24 minutes and finished with nine points and three rebounds before fouling out. It was Solo's most productive night at the Fieldhouse since scoring 10 points and collecting three rebounds while playing 13 minutes off the bench last season in a loss to Atlanta last on November 16th, 2010.
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