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Bobcats 96, Pacers 87: High School Effort Won't Work in NBA

The Indiana Pacers played pretty good ball for 32 minutes Friday night. Unfortunately, that only gets you a win in high school. Ws in the NBA require a team's full attention for 48 minutes.

The Charlotte Bobcats kept grinding for all 48 and strolled to a 96-87 win without any fourth quarter resistance from the Pacers.

The Pacers were never fully in sync but managed to secure a 10 point lead midway through the third quarter, and went to the fourth up 73-65. But from there, the Bobcats went on a 20-2 run and no one wearing Gold could step up to stop the damage.

Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal fed all of their critics plenty of fodder down the stretch. The more they tried to assert themselves, the worse they executed. The job of go-to-guy down the stretch is still open.

J.O. had played a great first half, especially on the defensive end. He acted like an eraser around the hoop picking up charges and blocking a shot. Then early in the second half, he inexplicably jumped on top of Gerald Wallace, who was corralling a turnover. They were 93 feet from the Bobcats hoop! J.O.'s brain lock sent him to the bench with his third foul. He returned and quickly picked up his fourth toward the end of the third.

The worst thing I saw from J.O., though was his effort and body language over the final four minutes of the game. It was obvious the game had slipped away and J.O. appeared to have no intention of fighting to the bitter end. Very disappointing. He wasn't the only one, but he is supposed to be the franchise player and leader, setting the tone. O'B promised his team would never give up. Looks like O'B still has some work to do.

Positive thoughts from the game are hard to come by right now, but here are some other items of note:

  • Emeka Okafor absolutely destroyed the Pacers inside finishing with 25 points and 23 rebounds. The ugly trend of opposing big men dominating the glass continues.
  • Another ugly trend is opponent's free throw attempts. The Pacers were lucky the Bobcats only made 31 of their 44 FTAs.
  • Have to give credit to Charlotte. Along with Okafor, Gerald Wallace and Ray Felton gave the Pacers fits. Matt Carroll also hit several key shots.
  • Somehow, J.O. was named Player of the Game on the TV broadcast. After his second half, he was not worthy. Jeff Foster would've been a good choice for his hustle on the glass. He had several offensive rebounds that delayed the inevitable in the third quarter.

  • Jamaal Tinsley started the game off strong with an assertive floater on the first possession of the game. Not many highlights after that opening bucket. Tins was whistled for a cheap T after a hard foul on a Gerald Wallace break away. The ref thought he threw Wallace down but that was not the case at all. I'd say, Tinsley's reputation earned him that T. It seemed to throw 11 into a funk and left us with "Bad Tins" for the rest of the game.
  • Travis Diener played quite a bit and did a nice job of pushing the ball up the court. If only he could shoot the ball as advertised. He was 0-4 from 3-land and even passed up a wide open look, which is shows serious lack of confidence. Again, he played well despite the shooting woes. Still, I may start referring to him as Saras Diener until he starts lighting it up.
Simply put, the Pacers have very little margin for error. If they don't play hard and smart for 48 minutes, they aren't going to win. Peaking ahead, the Pacers have to tighten things up quickly. The loss tonight was their first of six games over a nine day stretch.

Next up: The Denver Nuggets visit the Fieldhouse tomorrow night.