Gwen's comment: "Let’s see what Vogel draws up. I hate last second shots. No Reggies."
Last second plays haven't been much fun the past few years when late-game collapses have been far more common. Tonight, though, the Pacers did Reggie proud, generating a game-winning bucket with a little flair.
After the timeout, Danny Granger went to work trying to find room to drive on the right side of the court. When he was stymied, it appeared he was trying to pass the ball across the lane to Darren Collison, but instead hit a cutting Brandon Rush who took the ball in stride and popped up over the defense to slam home the winning bucket. Let's just say, I won't believe Frank Vogel or anyone else that tells me they drew up that play in the timeout, but alls well that ends well and that was as strong a finish at the rim as Rush has ever displayed.
Speaking of rare occurrences, Darren Collison came up big at the defensive end to close out the win. The Pistons had five seconds left and went to a reliable source with Rodney Stuckey trying to take DC to the hole. Collison cut off his path, forcing an awkward shot attempt through contact by Stuckey that never took off. Instead the ball shot out of bounds off Stuckey. Ball game.
The Pacers found a way to win, on a night when they had to rely on Tyler Hansbrough to do everything within his power to keep the lead afloat in the second half. More on Hansbrough and rest of the good and bad after the jump.
- Mike Dunleavy missed the game with a broken finger and his presence was sorely missed right away. Dunleavy hasn't been real consistent this year but he can bail out the first unit offense and keep things flowing when others are struggling. Two early fouls made Danny Granger a non-factor in the first half, in fact, DG finished the half with 1 point and 3 fouls. Brandon Rush started the game, and despite his late-game heroics he didn't bring much else to the table. The Pacers struggle in the first quarter until the bench came in and fueled a late run to put the Pacers up and in control for most of the game.
- Offensive rebounds kept Detroit within touch in the first half until they caught fire for a 30-point third quarter. Rookie Greg Monroe was a beast, grabbing 6 offensive rebounds and finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
- Monroe's Georgetown alum Roy Hibbert didn't fare so well. Hibbert only took 3 shots and finished with 7 points and 8 rebounds. He also had the bone-head play of the game while the Pacers were trying to make things comfortable in the third quarter. Hibbert appeared to have a dunk, but instead tried a behind-the-back pass to McRoberts through traffic that quickly went the other way for two. This drew the ire of his coach and a quick timeout. Not the killer instinct we're looking for there, Roy.
- Tyler Hansbrough on the other hand was an absolute beast throughout the game. He finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, including 8 on the offensive glass. Several times it appeared a Detroit player had a rebound in hand when all of a sudden the ball was loose and Hansbrough was in there mucking it up and getting control of the ball. A few of his effort plays to keep the ball alive literally saved the Pacers in the fourth quarter, including one little tip in traffic to keep the ball alive which eventually found its way to Danny Granger for a 3-pointer.
- Hansbrough and Jeff Foster combined for the hustle play of the year. While Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner were talking with legendary tennis grinder, Jimmy Connors, Hansbrough and Foster combined for five offensive rebounds as they kept tipping the ball in traffic to keep it alive before Hansbrough eventually finished with a strong bucket with strong approval from the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd.
- Paul George finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of steals. He was a bit up and down throughout the game, but did give the Pacers a shot in the arm in the fourth quarter with a couple of flying finishes which helped ward off the collapse for a couple more minutes.
- The Pacers merely kept pace in the East with Philadelphia and New York both winning home games, as well.