Third time was a charm for the Pacers on Wednesday night, as they finally outlasted the scrapping Bucks in double-OT, 136-129. Darrell Armstrong uncharacteristically coughed up the W in regulation. With 30 seconds left and the Pacers up four, the Bucks immediately fouled DA after the inbound. He missed the first, made the second giving the Bucks a little extra opening for hope to slip in. Michael Redd took the ball to the hole for an easy two and then DA received the inbound pass expecting the foul again. The ref raised his hand to initiate the call, but Charlie Bell suddenly had the ball, turned and drained a 3-ball. No call, tie game, 20 seconds left. A blink of an eye is too sluggish to describe how the lead and W vanished.
So the Pacers work for one shot, but got two off. J.O. missed a tightly contested jumper and then Marquis Daniels four-foot put back went in and out - OT. The first OT didn't end quite as dramatically, but the Pacers led throughout and were up by three before Michael Redd hit a 3-ball to tie the game with 19 ticks left. This time Jamaal Tinsley couldn't get the game-winner to fall - double-OT. The Pacers were able to establish a lead and finally finish off the Bucks in the second OT. Other items of note:
- Late in the third quarter, J.O took a nasty 'bow to the head. He tried to shake it off on the bench but had to go to the locker room and at one point his return was in doubt. He was able to return shortly after the start of the fourth quarter.
- Marquis Daniels shook off an early afternoon indictment to play some extremely valuable minutes. I gotta say it every game, the kid's dribble-penetration-somehow-score-around-the-hoop game is a flat out pleasure to behold.
- Big ups to Maceo Baston who made a rare appearance with J.O. out. Despite his lack of burn, Baston was ready to go and played well for about an eight minute stretch.
- Quin Buckner's "Oh, My Goodness" moment of the game came when Maceo Baston was filling in while J.O. was back in the locker room gathering his sense. Marquis Daniels drove baseline under the hoop and flipped a pass out to Baston in the left-middle of the lane. Baston just went up and threw down a startling one-handed dunk over what appeared to be the whole Bucks' front line. Cue Buckner: Oh, my goodness!! Jumped on someone's HAYEED!!! Baston, Basting someone! He later admitted he almost said "basting a turkey" but didn't want to degrade a Bucks' player. No one makes a poultry reference like QB.
- Prior to the All-Star game I noticed Jermaine O'Neal going out of his way in interviews to describe how laid back and family-oriented he expected his All-Star experience to be despite the Vegas location. He is acutely aware of the Pacers' image issues and always did his best to project a mellow image, as if to say, "Don't worry, I'm not going to be clubbing until the cops show up." In a pre-game piece on FSN, J.O. was discussing the All-Star experience and following his familiar script. He really didn't go out that much, spent time with family and friends, etc. Then he says, "I mean, I was in bed by 2:30-3:00AM every night." OK, I know I'm old, but that doesn't sound especially restful or along the lines of the Wally Clever existence he was painting. I have no problem with his comment. Have fun, take care of business, that's all I expect. I just thought it was funny how taking it easy was defined from J.O.'s perspective.
- Not much Carlisle-esque grind it out offense in this game. The Pacers were off and running early, scoring 39 first quarter points and finish the third quarter with 92 points. Good times.
- The Pacers move back to five games over .500 with a percentage points hold on the five seed in the East. Danger is looming as the Pacers have to go north of the border to face a strong, talented Toronto Raptors team at their gym.
- Hopefully there's some security and designated drivers at the indictment surrender after party.