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Pacers 117, Jazz 97: What a Night

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Dunleavy beats Ronnie Brewer downcourt for one
of the many easy, fast-break buckets for the Pacers.

2007 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Indiana Pacers played 45 minutes of O'B basketball and made most of their open looks to run away from the Utah Jazz for a 117-97 win.

For our family, the win capped a perfect night at the Fieldhouse. Great seats were readily available, so we ended up sitting in half way up the lower level behind Utah's bench. We arrived early, hoping Cornrows, Jr. could bump flesh wih his hero, Deron Williams. Within five minutes, D-Will was signing CJ's jersey. Class act, as advertised. Of course, the game had us jumping out of our seats. Then after the game, CJ was allowed to go on the court to shoot a shot. We all had great feelings oozing out of us as we left the Fieldhouse.

Okay, enough about the fam. The highlight of the night was the play of the Pacers. Here's a few thought:
  • The only negative part of the game turned out to be a positive. The Pacers were up 19 at the half and within a blink of an eye, that lead was down to nine early in the third quarter. Fearing the Pacers had filled their quota of good basketball, there was an uneasy feeling around the Fieldhouse. O'B put in Jeff Foster and Shanwe Williams and before you know it the lead was back to 20. Real nice to see the Pacers face one of their demons (blowing big lead) and beat it back.
  • Did I say Shawne Williams helped stop the Jazz run? Yep. Shawne took his game to another level last night. His 16 points aren't anything new, but his aggressive, all-around game was eye-popping. Shawne finished with 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals. He scored inside and outside, finished a couple of fast breaks with strong dunks. Shawne's +/- rating of +31 shows just how big an impact he had on the game.
  • Jamaal Tinsley ran the game O'B expects and the results were amazing. Tins finished with 13 assists to one turnover. Don't think the one TO means he was playing conservatively. Not even close. Tins was pushing the pace all night, rewarding the likes of Mike Dunleavy, Shawne Williams, even David Harrision, for busting their rear up court, ahead of the defense.
  • The Pacers interior defense was realy strong. When the Jazz did get a shot up around the hoop, Jermaine O'Neal and Shawne were there to make life difficult. When forced to shoot from the perimeter, the Jazz were out of their game. When the shots weren't falling, the Pacers had the game in control.
  • I was hoping to see a more assertive Danny Granger, but instead I saw an assertive Shawne Williams. Granger played well in spurts, but I'd say he had a quiet 19 points.
  • Jermaine O'Neal had some early foul trouble, again. He wasn't able to get his offensive game rolling. But the half-court offense ran through him nicely. He's the inside in the inside-outside game and when he keeps the ball moving, good shots follow.
  • Mike Dunleavy showed up big, scoring 25 points, including three 3-balls. He also had active hands on defense, starting a few breaks with steals.
  • Marquis Daniels played some key minutes off the bench until the game was put away. He actually played the second unit PG minutes in place of Travis Diener. He was great on both ends of the floor. Hopefully, a couple of days off will have him ready for the Pacers next game against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • The game showed how well the Pacers can play. It leaves me longing for efforts like those from Williams and Dunleavy on a consistent basis.
Here is Mike Wells' recap of the game and the Pacers Notebook. You gotta love J.O.'s quote after the game.
"It feels good," forward Jermaine O'Neal said about ending the losing streak. "We played the way coach has been screaming and yelling about over the last week and a half."
I'm sure someone will misinterpret that quote as J.O. being unhappy. Whatever, look at the scoreboard. Pacer player, coaches and fans are all happy today.