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IC Cold Links: Pacers Come Ready For Comeback

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It was fitting that Dahntay Jones showed up with a strong effort off the bench in last night's win for the Indiana Pacers just one game after logging his first DNP-CD.

Jones was brought in this summer to be a utility player with a defensive mind set but has struggled settling into that role after beginning the season as a productive starter playing heavy minutes. Now that the roster is healthy, Jones has to adjust to that utility role and last night he played it perfectly which Jim O'Brien acknowledge after the game.

"I thought Dahntay, after not playing the other game, showed his professionalism by coming ready," O'Brien said. "You have a guy like that, who did not play last game, was up on every play, rooting his teammates on. He gave us a tremendous jolt of energy."

Jones also brings things that have nothing to do with statistics, half-court sets or defensive rotations but have a lot to do with developing a team. He's emerged as a leader among his teammates, never hesitating to communicate. When he didn't play against Toronto, he was indeed up pushing A.J. Price and his other teammates to continue the comeback.

Prior to the opening tip, Jones can be found where the halfcourt line intersects with the scorer's table. He offers each starter some "Let's go!" words of encouragement and hug before they take the court. This ritual has expanded as last night the starters went through similar greetings from Roy Hibbert and Solo Jones before reaching Dahntay.

On the court, Jones is at his best taking shots that come to him in the lane, but otherwise focusing on the little things. Helping on defense, moving on offense, crashing the boards, deflecting pass and oh, yeah, adding a little edge to the game. Last night, he was right there getting chesty with Amar'e Stoudemire when things got testy, agitating the Suns' star forward and luring his attention away from the game at hand as the Pacers were closing in on a win.

The Pacers have a thin margin for error even when healthy, so they need all 12 to "come ready" as JOB would say. Dahntay did just that last night. Now if the Pacers can get all 12 to play all 48 minutes in that mode, we might be onto something.

After the jump, more links from the win last night.

NBA