The Charlotte Bobcats were simply too much for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, handing the Pacers their tenth straight road loss, 103-94.
Charlotte? Too much?
On this night, factoring in the status of both rosters, definitely. For starters, the Bobcats had their full compliment of players. With the players acquired in recent trades settled into their roles and Larry Brown coaching them up, Charlotte is formidable.
As for the Pacers, they started the game without Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Foster and then lost Danny Granger early in the second quarter. Granger sprained his left foot and was unable to return. The lack of firepower would require the Pacers to execute quite efficiently on offense and instead they struggled throughout the second half at the offensive end.
While both teams made 41% of their shots from the floor, the Pacers were a rim rattling 5-22 from 3-land (3-19 minus Granger's 2-3 effort) and worse, 13-23 from the free throw line. So, it's pretty easy to see how the Pacers left plenty of meat on the bone offensively.
On defense, the Pacers couldn't keep Charlotte away from the rim. Unlike Tuesday night against Philly when the Pacers protected the rim and forced Philly outside, the layup line was open for Charlotte.
Leading the way, Gerald Wallace was flying at the hoop all night. In fact, looking at Wallace's shot chart, he only had 4 of 17 FGAs that weren't at the rim. Wallace only made five shots but his constant effort to attack the bucket earned him 17 free throws of which he made 15 to personally outscore the Pacers from the line. Wallace finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
Obviously, this is a tough loss for the Pacers as they hoped to string together a few wins in order to keep an eye on the playoff. They continued their pattern of winning a game, feeling good and then turning around and losing the next game. At least in this game, the effort was not an issue. From the start, the Pacers showed plenty of energy and they kept battling the whole game, but again, they just couldn't make the plays there to be made or get anyone hot enough down the stretch to steal the win.
So the Pacers move on to Minnesota where they will try to keep their pattern of alternating wins and losses alive while at the same time ending their road losing streak. Something's gotta give. Hopefully, it's the Timberwolves.
Here are a few more individual thoughts on the game:
- Sometimes I just marvel at Jarrett Jack. The guy has far from a perfect game, but he's all in every night. With Dunleavy out and JOB utilizing a small lineup, Jack has morphed into a hybrid shooting/point guard, often playing with T.J. Ford or Travis Diener. Tonight he had to play over 40 minutes and kept the Pacers hanging around with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
- Troy Murphy has been shooting the ball real well lately but came up a little chilly from 3-land tonight. He did finish with 18 points and 16 rebounds but also had five fouls, most of which were to prevent a Charlotte dunk at the rim.
- Roy Hibbert had a familiar battle with foul trouble early. His three first quarter fouls limited his action, but JOB did let Roy play in the second half while trying to avoid fouling out. It would be great if JOB just left Roy out there until he finished the game or fouled out. Might as well squeeze as many minutes as possible out of the big guy.
- Brandon Rush played more than expected after Granger went down. If he was hitting some shots he may have played even more. The good news was that Rush actually took some shots and looked to drive. But his 2-9 effort from the floor, including 1-6 from 3-land, was not pretty. Considering Billy Keller was tinkering with his shot mechanics while Brandon was riding the pine, it will take some serious minutes and game reps before his shot improves any this season.
- Speaking of riding the pine, Stephen Graham was the only real DNP-CD tonight (Josh McRoberts was sick). Unless I missed something regarding his health, the Pacers sure could've used the spark Stevie has been known to provide.