Johnson Has Big Night As Pacers Top Bobcats
Indiana 98, Charlotte 92
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 18 (Ticker) -- Anthony Johnson has been one the steady veterans for the Indiana Pacers.
Johnson had career highs of 27 points and 10 rebounds as the Pacers overcame a shaky start en route to a 98-92 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
However, Johnson - a nine-year veteran - has been one of the constants for the Pacers (21-16), who are one of six teams in the conference over .500 despite the adversity.
Johnson stepped up in a big way Wednesday, making 9-of-14 shots and missing just one of eight throws in 41 minutes. The point guard's previous career high was 22 points while with Sacramento - the first of his six teams - in 1998.
"It felt great," Johnson said. "I was trying to be aggressive from the opening tip. I had a size advantage on their point guards, so I tried to take advantage of that, and I was able to knock down some shots and get to the line. It was nice to have a big night."
In the third quarter, Johnson scored nine points as the Pacers used a 14-2 run to turn a five-point deficit into a 69-62 lead. They led the rest of the way.
"It seemed like we were throwing it to the guys in orange the entire first half," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were (lazy) with the ball and on defense and they were able to build a double-digit lead. Second half, we were able to buckle down, get some stops, get the lead, and hold on for a much-needed win."
A 3-pointer by Matt Carroll pulled the Bobcats within 85-83 with 3:50 remaining, but Stephen Jackson answered with a shot from behind the arc and Johnson went down the lane for a dunk to restore some breathing room.
"We made mistakes and paid for them in the third quarter," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We had our opportunities and we just didn't get to the loose balls. Guys get tired and when they do, they make mental mistakes. We just ran out of steam playing a good team on their home floor."
Jackson scored 17 points and Fred Jones added 14 off the bench for the Pacers, who used 50 percent (33-of-66) shooting to overcome 22 turnovers. They also held a 43-29 rebounding advantage.
"Each win is always important," Jones said. "Regardless of who is in the lineup or who we are facing, we are expected to come out and compete and play hard. Charlotte handed it to us earlier this year, so we knew they were going to come to play. Everybody gets paid in this league."
Brevin Knight had 15 points and 15 assists and Primoz Brezec and rookie Raymond Felton added 15 points apiece for shorthanded Charlotte, which led by as many 11 points in the first half but suffered its fifth straight loss.
The Bobcats played without forwards Emeka Okafor (ankle), Melvin Ely (ankle), rookie Sean May (knee) and center Jake Voskuhl (ankle).
"We've been playing on heart for the last two or three weeks, Knight said. "We've got guys playing the 4 (power forward) and 5 (center) slots that are really 3's (small forwards) by nature. We have to keep pushing. We don't come with excuses."
Despite being undermanned, the Bobcats built a 37-26 lead early in the second quarter on Keith Bogans' runner. But Pacers were able to close to 52-48 at the break.
Gerald Wallace added 14 points for the Bobcats, who shot 48 percent (39-of-81) and committed all 14 of their turnovers over the final three quarters.