Pacers 108, Blazers 95: Tin Man Does the Damage
With JO on the bench wearing his Sunday's best, Jamaal Tinsley imposed his will on the game and the Pacers ran by the Blazers, 108-95. The Pacers jumped out to a 13-2 lead to start the game, on to start coughing up ugly turnovers which gave the Blazers life as they turned it around on the Pacers to go up by as many as 13 points before the half. Maceo Baston started in place of JO and played well. But to start the second half Carlisle went small, starting Saras instead of Baston. JT took it from there as the Pacers erased an eleven point deficit in seemingly no time. Other observations:
- The first half turnovers were excruciating to watch. I mean, the careless passes seem to become contagious with these guys. 12 turnovers in the first half gave the Blazers 20 points and they all seemed to happen in about a six minute stretch.
- Tinsley had five of those turnovers early but came out a different player in the second half, scoring 18 of his 20 and finishing with 8rebs, 8 assists and 4 steals. JT's highlight play was a one on four break. When no one stopped his dribble he kept taking it to the hoop and threw off any block attempts by taking the ball around his back once before laying it off the glass.
- Stephen Jackson and Danny Granger did a nice job filling the scoring void in JO's absence. Both made an effort to drive to the bucket several times. In fact, Jack had at least five buckets after slicing through the lane including a couple of and 1s. One of Jack's drives ended in a feathery finger roll that would've made Ice Gervin smile. The ball dawdled around on the rim for awhile but never gave any indication it wasn't going to fall. Beautiful.
- I'm pretending I didn't see Tins wincing and favoring his left leg at any point in the game. He played too well tonight, so I don't want to think about him joining JO for a couple of games. Kind of like hearing a rattle in you car while your driving and just turning up the radio until you get home.
- Zach Randolph had a rough game tonight. He finished with 29 points, but had to scratch and claw for every one of them before fouling out late in the game. He did have a gorgeous middle finger salute to a heckler as he strutted off the court after his sixth foul. It really came out of nowhere, completely in stride. Now, I did see Nate McMillan wince as he saw that move from his star player.
- The Pacers jump back over .500 at 11-10 as pop over to Cleveland to take on the Cavs on Saturday night.
(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)