Game 2 vs. New Orleans/Ok City Hornets
The Pacers misfired down the stretch, dropping their home opener to the Hornets, 100-91. Here are a few things I noticed from my lay-z-boy:
- The Pacers would be dangerous if someone, anyone, could shoot the ball consistently. My God, Reggie spoiled us for all of those years. I never find myself uttering 'Boom, Baby!' when anticipating an open 3-ball from any of these guys. Saras could be that guy but he has trouble getting clean, open looks. The Pacers shot 40% from the field and 7-26 (27%) from 3 land.
- Despite the poor shooting, the Pacers mounted another second half rally and took a lead into the fourth quarter until the clanks returned and the Hornets took over down the stretch.
- The key stat tonight was rebounds. The Hornets didn't shot better than the Pacers, but not much better. The turnovers were minimal for both teams (15 NOK, 12 IND). On the glass, Tyson Chandler (15 REB) and the Hornets held a 53-34 advantage. Ouch, that's a lot of extra possesions for the Hornets.
- Good News for the Pacers: Marquis Daniels did a nice job off the bench. He was still a little tentative making moves with the ball, but also showed some assertiveness by getting into the lane to create a shot. Danny Granger was real active on defense and even hit a couple of threes. These guys are fun to watch. JO was JO with 25 points and 5 blocks, although he was part of the front court that was outworked for rebound opportunities.
- Bad News for the Pacers: Jamaal Tinsley struggled a bit tonight. Chris Paul certainly isn't a good matchup for Tins or anyone for that matter. Like most teams, the Hornets left Jamaal open for threes he couldn't convert. Al Harrington is STRUGGLING, plain and simple. He seems to be in the mix but can't get a call and his shot is out of rhythm. He looks like good ol' Baby Al with his mind going a little faster than his body. I'd be in favor of bringing him in off the bench at this point. Start Foster and then bring in Al for an energy boost.
- The crowd seemed indifferent to Peja. He sure was a courteous guest only shooting 3-10 from the field and 1-3 from the line for 8 points. Peja gave Pacer fans a reason to cheer their team for not coughing up $13 mil/yr for him.
- With only 6 home games in the first 19, I was hoping for a 10-10 record after the first 20 games. At 1-1, at least the Pacers are still on target.
- This Pacers head back out on the road tomorrow to meet up with Zeke and the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Maybe some of the Pacers will capture the shooting spirit of Reggie lingering around MSG from heroic moments past.