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.
- Box Score (with highlights)
- Cliff Brunt's AP Report
PACERS: Inside the Game: Pacers 122, Suns 114
Bruno's post-game report has all the notes, quotes and numbers along with highlights.
Pacers recover from 24 down to top Suns
Mike Wells reports on yet another game where the Pacers are dominated early and then recover for a win. Nice quote from Troy Murphy: "I haven't been a part of something like this since when I played AAU and we would play like five games in one day," Pacers forward Troy Murphy said. "This is great, but it would be nice if we actually got a lead on a team early in the game."
Suns blow another big lead in loss
Paul Coro reports on the Suns blowing another big lead in loss.
Pacers 122 Suns 114 - Another Conseco Fieldhouse Comeback
Jeremiah Johnson recaps all the action along with video reaction from some key players.
Pacers rally from 24-point deficit to stun Suns
John Oehser recaps the Pacers win for NBA.com.
Suns Forget to Continue Winning, Lose to Pacers 122-114 - Bright Side Of The Sun
Will Cantrell recaps the game from a Phoenix perspective and finds a disturbing trend emerging for the Suns.
Pacers Notebook: Jones shows no rust
Wells touches on Dahntay Jones coming back strong after not playing against Toronto, Hibbert bringing it off the bench and Mike Dunleavy finding his stroke.
Shawne Williams hopes to revive his career
Former Pacer, Shawne Williams has another chance to revive his NBA career since being traded from Dallas to New Jersey.
Indiana Pacers Memorabilia on Sale at Hollywood Collectibles
Speaking of Wililams, I couldn't help but chuckle at this promo for items from Pacers greats like Larry Brown, Reggie Miller and Shawne Williams. For the second time in the history of the world I put those three names in a sentence together as Pacer greats. The link has the first.
- The Pacers took care of three of the four factors of winning last night. More on the Four Factors.