INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 26 (Ticker) --
Even when they are running on fumes,
the Indiana Pacers find a way to enjoy the sweet smell of
scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as
the exhausted Pacers somehow turned it on down the stretch for
an 82-77 victory over the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, their
third straight win.
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We won that one on grit," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
"Somehow, we were able to make some plays and get enough shots
to win. Our guys have a lot to be proud of."
Depleted by injuries and the suspensions of their top three
scorers, the Pacers have pressed on. After a narrow home loss
to Orlando six days ago, they have beaten Boston and Minnesota
with inspired efforts from reserves thrust into expanded roles.
However, this was Indiana's first back-to-back contest and the
fatigue factor showed. The Pacers fell behind by 17 points
early in the second quarter and expended plenty of energy
getting back into the game.
"There's no doubt that the second game of a back-to-back is
harder, especially when the other team had the night off and was
waiting on you," Pacers forward Austin Croshere
might have had something to do with it. An expansion team is a
team we're supposed to beat. That could have had something to
do with it, too."
Indiana trailed, 74-68, with less than three minutes to go when
Jones, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, took over.
He made a reverse layup, then came up with a steal and layup,
drawing a foul.
Jones missed the free throw, but Jamaal Tinsley
for the rebound and follow shot to tie the game with 2:03 to go.
"When we tied the game, we knew we were going to win," Jones
said "I was able to make a few plays down the stretch and our
demeanor changed. We knew it was ours to take."
Jones made four free throws around a spin move by Charlotte's
before coming from the weak side to block a drive
by Jason Hart
, leaving Indiana with a 78-76 lead and the ball
with 30 seconds left.
Tinsley, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists,
sealed the improbable win with a lefthanded driving layup over
rookie Emeka Okafor
with 10 seconds to play.
"That was a monster play," Carlisle said.
Croshere shook off obvious fatigue to collect 23 points
and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who begin a four-game road trip
"It's been tough and it's going to get tougher on the road,"
Okafor had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who have
been highly competitie in their first season but have had
trouble closing out games. Four of their losses have come in
the final minute.
"We did some things tonight that weren't very smart," Bobcats
coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Holding a lead has been a
problem. Confidence has been a problem. We were in a position
to win, but we conceded some shots and let them back in the
"They stay with teams for three quarters or so but can't seem to
find a way to win," Jones said. "We're were hoping it was the
same situation tonight."
Indiana trailed, 33-16, early in the second period but fought
back within 43-38 at halftime. A jumper by Jones gave the Pacers
their first lead at 49-48 midway through the third period.
Hart and Keith Bogans
scored 10 points each for the Bobcats.