Where do I begin to explain this one? The Pacers should've been down 30 in the first half, were down 17 in the second half, but scored 46 fourth quarter points to run past the Golden State Warriors, 125-117. You want more numbers? I have plenty. This game bred startling numbers like rabbits.
11,501 - The paid attendance, although it appeared there were plenty of no shows. For once, the Pacers had a serious home court advantage due to the thousands of empty seats. Follow me here. The Pacers were inept in the first quarter, allowing the Warriors to jump out to an 11-0 lead and settle into a double-digit lead throughout the first quarter. The Fieldhouse was as quiet as a church on Monday. Meanwhile, the Warriors were playing the second of back-to-back games and their third game in four days. Things were coming so easy to them, they had to feel they could impose their will at any time. With the juice-less arena, it was only natural for the Dubs to relax as the game took on a pick-up feel. The Warriors are an emotional team. They thrive on the electric environment of a crazy home crowd or hostile road arena. Since the Fieldhouse turned more hostel than hostile, the Warriors had nothing to latch onto to energize their game. With the Dubs on cruise control, the Pacers stayed close enough to turn a supernatural fourth quarter into a W.
200- Congratulations to Jim O'Brien for earning his 200th win as an NBA head coach. His post-game quote:
46 - The number of fourth quarter points the Pacers scored. So, who were the heroes down the stretch? Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley weren't around, so Kareem Rush, Mike Dunleavy, and Danny Granger combined to make the plays down the stretch. Can't forget Jeff Foster keeping possesions alive and executing some timely fouls to put Andris Biedrins and his foul free throw form at the line.
17-17 - The Pacers made all l7 of their free throw attempts in the fourth quarter (36-38 for the game), including eight in the final 34 seconds which kept it a two possession game and denied the Warriors an opportunity steal the game back. Danny Granger made the first six of those final eight to seal the deal. Honestly, I can't remember the Pacers salting a game away at the line since Reggie used to make it look routine.
32 - Number of minutes Travis Diener played at point. Jamaal Tinsley was unable to go and Andre Owens struggled after starting the game. Diener only shot 2-12 from the field, but did get himself to the line. He also kept the offense flowing with his handle and passing. Considering the shooting numbers, Diener proved a ton tonight. He can make an impact by just playing.
29 and 9 - Danny Granger put up 29 points and 9 rebounds, never gave in and lead the charge from behind in the fourth quarter.
24 and 9 - Mike Dunleavy scored 24 and grabbed 9 rebounds. Most of Dun's points were scored after the half, as he rose up down the stretch.
14 - Number of points Kareem Rush scored in the fourth quarter. Kareem was feelin' it, dropping four of his five 3-balls in the deciding quarter.
Hopefully word of this incredible finish will create plenty of buzz now that the Colts no longer hold the city's attention. This team is well worth watching (most of the time). As the first quarter showed, the team has its flaws. But, they also don't give up and will grind until the final buzzer. The spirit of the team is strong as evidenced by how the bench hyped up the players throughout the fourth quarter. After the game, O'B mentioned that after the third quarter with the Pacers down 14, J.O. implored his teammates to keep fighting, saying, "We're gonna have our run. We're gonna have our run." J.O. was right, they had their run and man, was it fun.