The Indiana Pacers used a furious fourth quarter rally to finish off the Milwaukee Bucks with a 115-108 win. The win made for a strong finish to the season and sent the home town fans home hyped about their Pacers.
After the Bucks started the third quarter with a 31-8 run (which is less a run and more a drubbing) the season appeared to be winding down with a whimper. With the New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Bobcats mailing it in, there wouldn't be much consolation in letting the last game go.
Then the fourth quarter happened, or to be more accurate, the final 8:37 of the fourth quarter happened. Suddenly, every little reason why folks who follow the Pacers feel so much better about the team than they did last year surfaced. Yes, the record is the same as last year (36-46), but rest assured, the team isn't.
Now there's no way Jim O'Brien or anyone with the Pacers can convince me this thrilling comeback was by design. See with 8:37 left in the game the Pacers were down 95-78 and JOB inserted Travis Diener, Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush leaving T.J. Ford and Troy Murphy on the bench.
Nothing against Diener or McRoberts, but they haven't played significant minutes of late and in Diener's case, he's hardly played ANY minutes of late. So forgive me if I figured JOB was resolved to let the clock run out while giving a couple of hard workers a little run.
But in a fitting end to the season, the lineup, deficit nor opponent mattered. The team played all 48 and never gave in. Suddenly, Danny Granger and Brandon Rush caught fire. Josh McRoberts was defending the rim and swiping balls off the glass. Diener didn't take a shot but he ran the show, finishing with 4 assists, 3 rebounds a block and a steal and, of course, no turnovers.
The Pacers scored 37 of their 43 fourth quarter points in the final 8:37.
Granger and Rush knocked down seven 3-balls and combined for 31 fourth quarter points. Couldn't write a better finish than to have your two offensive cornerstones come up huge in the waning minuets of a tight game. For the game, Granger had 35 points and 9 rebounds while Rush pitched in 24 points and 5 rebounds.
Yep, that's a great final impression to leave with your home fans. No thoughts of rebuilding this year, instead just building on what is already here.