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Pacers 105, Hornets 93: Pacers Enjoy Pitch-In

Thanksgiving meals among family and friends are often glorified pitch-ins (potlucks for those non-Midwesterners). Everyone brings their favorite dish, whether it be an entre, side item, or dessert. We all have our specialties and enjoy sharing.

The Indiana Pacers held a hardwood pitch-in Wednesday night, with everyone doing what they do best to earn a W over the New Orleans Hornets, 105-93. With Jermaine O'Neal sitting out to rest a swollen left leg, his teammates all stepped up to seize a nice, and desperately needed, road win.

Here's a closer look at the heaping helpings of hoop dishes the Pacers served in New Orleans:

  • The Pacers tried a new approach by beginning the game poorly, then turning it around for a run away win. The Hornets came out on fire. The beautiful stroke of Peja Stojakovic was raining 3-balls. The Hornets were getting good looks and knocking 'em down, while the Pacers had a bit of the clanks.
  • Take a look at the box and it is obvious each Pacer that played did their part. But, not only did they put up the numbers, they all seemed to make big plays at key moments throughout the game, whether it be a rebound, steal, assist, 3-ball, or dunk. The game was just a big collection of nice basketball plays.
  • Troy Murphy began the game by missing his first four shots. From there he made 7 of 12 including three 3-balls to finish with 23 points. The points were nice, but Murph actually played like a beast inside. Yep, I said a beast. He grabbed 9 rebounds but also had several strong drives to the bucket the resulted in hoops or trips to the foul line.
  • Jeff Foster started in J.O.'s place and made a nice impact on the game. Foster's specialty is rebounding and he didn't disappoint, grabbing 13 carroms. Foster also had a couple of nice offensive finishes around the hoop. Needling back-breakers when the Hornets were closing in on a stop.
  • Who's next? Okay, we'll go with Mike Dunleavy. Dun finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds and was HUGE down the stretch as the Pacers extended their lead and then tried to maintain said lead. With 12 second half points, he seemed to come up with big buckets to repel any runs by the Hornets.
  • Danny Granger is from New Orleans and came up huge in front of his family and friends in attendance. Danny finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds and battled Peja all night on defense. After Peja's hot start, he (Peja) went in a hole, not scoring any second half points until late in the fourth quarter.
  • David Harrison played one of the best games of his career, helping fill the void left by J.O.'s absence. His 10 points and 4 rebounds don't look impressive, but his play was outstanding. He was active inside, played solid defense (only 3 fouls), and forced the Hornets to account for him. His +/- rating of +17 reveals how much impact he had on the game.
  • Last but not least, we turn to the game of Jamaal Tinsley. In cas you haven't noticed, Tins has been playing some incredible ball lately. Tonight in New Orleans he made the whole thing go. During the second half run that saw the Pacers take command with a double-digit lead, Tins was running the show. He's getting the ball to teammates in good spots for open looks. He continues to push the ball up floor and reward anyone who sprints up court ahead of him. The passes may appear risky, but the results have reaped a high reward. Tins finished the game with 18 points, 13 assists and only 2 turnovers. Over the past three games, Tins has 36 assists to 5 turnovers. Yeah, I'd say he's enjoying O'B's system. The turnover number is incredible because it's not like he's being conservative with the ball. Mmmm, the "Good Tins" is so fun to watch!
  • The Hornets were without Tyson Chandler, so I guess that evens out the Pacers missing J.O. Also, Chris Paul played 35 minutes but his ankle appeared a little tender.
  • Clark Kellogg gave us some classic commentary tonight. On one Pacer possession, the Hornets had switched a few times and David Harrison ended up with the ball on the block and Bobby Jackson guarding him. Special K perked up and said, "Oh, go to work David. You got a mouse in the house." DH did just that and scored.
So, the Pacers followed up an ugly loss with a beautiful win. When they play well, it is such a pleasure to watch. Consistent production from Dunleavy and Granger would go a long way to avoiding the clunker losses that seem to accompany games where either Dun or Danny seem to disappear.

With the Dallas Mavericks coming to town Friday, the Pacers will have to play well just to have a shot a the W. Time to clean up from this party and get ready for the next one. Hopefully there will be plenty of leftovers to heat up again on Friday.