Hornets Fall to Pacers For Fifth Straight Loss
Indiana 92, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 90
OKLAHOMA CITY, March 10 (Ticker) -- If the New Orleans Hornets are going to make the playoffs, they are going to have to win games like this.
En route to their season-high fifth straight loss, the Hornets were pushed around and held scoreless for the final 2 1/2 minutes of a 92-90 setback to the Indiana Pacers, who got some clutch play from Peja Stojakovic.
Down the stretch, the Pacers showed the grit that is lacking in the Hornets (31-30), who were sixth in the Western Conference before their slide. They are now eighth, one game ahead of Sacramento for the final spot.
"If you allow them to play the way they want to play, they are going to knock you around," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We told them all day what the Pacers were going to do and we didn't react to it well."
"I give our guys a lot of credit for hanging in through some tough stretches," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "we found a hot hand late with Peja hitting shots and getting to the rim."
Stojakovic scored 10 points in the final eight-plus minutes. His two free throws snapped an 83-83 tie with 5:23 to go, and he added a driving layup 29 seconds later.
Foul-plagued David West returned and provided a spark for the Hornets with two free throws, a three-point play and an inside hoop for a 90-89 lead with 2:41 to play.
But the Hornets did not score again. With 1:39 left, Stojakovic drained a rainbow 3-pointer to give Indiana a 92-90 lead.
"Peja is like a 6-10 Reggie Miller," Jackson said. "His ability to knock down big shots is amazing, especially in the fourth quarter."
The teams traded empty possessions into the final seconds before a fan threw a ball on the court, forcing a stoppage with 6.1 seconds left.
"The crowd was great, besides the fans throwing stuff on the court," said Jackson, who was a big part of the brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills last season. "I think that always leads to bad things."
The Hornets could not get the ball inbounds and called timeout, then inbounded to West, who was trapped and called timeout with 3.1 seconds remaining. Indiana's Anthony Johnson was called for a technical foul, but Hornets rookie Chris Paul missed the free throw.
"I think that it was a high school call," Johnson said. "I'm trying to get back to the bench and (Paul) is in the way. There was a little altercation but it wasn't anything that warranted a technical."
West took an inbounds pass above the arc and launched a 3-pointer that clanged off the rim. The power forward is 3-of-11 from 3-point range this season.
"We got a little fortunate tonight, but you have to hang in and make plays," Carlisle said. "We dodged a hand grenade at the end there, but we're a tough team, and we proved it tonight."
"When we get into the last couple minutes, we want to get out and run," Scott said. "We would get stops and then walk it up the court. That's not what we want to do. We've forgotten how to put two halves of basketball together."
Johnson scored 12 points and Jeff Foster grabbed 12 rebounds for Indiana, which played rugged defense and held a 22-6 advantage in second-chance points.
"We just didn't match their intensity tonight," West said. "Scot Pollard and Foster are always in your back and hustling to loose balls. That's how they win games."
West scored 20 points and Kirk Snyder and Desmond Mason added 16 apiece for the Hornets, who stayed in the game by making 30-of-40 free throws.
The Pacers played aggressively on the pick-and-roll and cut off Paul, who made just 1-of-9 shots and had seven points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He was fouled hard on several occasions.
"He's not Superman," Scott said. "He's not going to have a great game every night, but other guys have to pick up the slack."
The Hornets trailed, 56-48, at halftime but used a 12-0 run to take a 62-60 lead midway through the third quarter.