The Pacers are getting downright comfortable in tight, late-game situations with a win up for grabs. After letting games slip away late during their 1-6 start, the Pacers have closed out wins in four of their last five games after beating the Hornets at the buzzer last night.
It appeared to be one of those nights against the Hornets early, when shots simply weren't falling.
Three-pointers? Boing Free throws? Clank. Mid-range jumper? Thud.
Roy Hibbert kept the Pacers afloat early before shots finally started to fall and Luis Scola, Donald Sloan and Rodney Stuckey gave the offense a boost. Still, the Pacers were just 2-15 from behind the arc and missed eight of 24 free throws. This is the type of game this team should lose, since they were giving a good effort but not playing particularly well.
Yet, they still found a way to win after Solomon Hill put back a Stuckey airball just before the buzzer to wrap up the W in regulation. Hill didn't fill the stat sheet but he had a big impact on the game, remaining a rock solid defender pestering Lance Stephenson much of the night, so it was fitting his grind was rewarded in the final second of the game.
The game-winner was set up by strong team defense over the final two minutes as the Pacers forced someone other than the beast, Al Jefferson to beat them. The results were missed contested, perimeter shots by Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson and finally Marvin Williams. Walker was trying to get the shot Williams took but was hounded so well by Stuckey that he was forced to give up the ball which left Williams with just enough time to heave up an airball before the shot clock expired.
Yep, these are still the Indiana Pacers. When the offense isn't reliable, they can still lean on defense and rebounding to get it done.
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