Pacers Drop Out of Fifth, Lose to Bobcats
Charlotte 92, Indiana 91 (OT)
CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 15 (Ticker) -- So much for that favorable schedule.
Fighting for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers dropped a 92-91 overtime decision to the Charlotte Bobcats, who got 18 points from Primoz Brezec.
"It's just too bad, because we really played hard for three quarters," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "The second quarter was really a disaster for us. It put us in a bad position at halftime, but we fought back and really put ourselves in a good position to win."
Starting with this game, the Pacers' final three contests were against teams with losing records. They visit Toronto on Monday before closing the season at home against surging Orlando on Wednesday.
"We don't have to worry about other teams; we have to worry about us," said Pacers forward Peja Stojakovic, who scored 18 points. "They outplayed us, and we have to be more consistent, especially in the playoffs."
After digging themselves a double-digit halftime deficit, the Pacers outscored the Bobcats, 30-12, in the third quarter to take a 65-59 lead.
But Matt Carroll scored 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats to help send the game into overtime.
"Down the stretch, the free-throw line was our nemesis," Carlisle said. "If we can get a couple of stops and make our free throws, it really shouldn't have come down to an overtime. But if you don't play a full 48 minutes, you leave too much to chance."
In the extra session, rookie Alan Anderson split a pair of free throws with 59 seconds left to snap a 91-91 tie and give the Bobcats the lead for good.
After each team came up with empty possessions, the Pacers had a final chance for the win. However, O'Neal missed a baseline jumper and Anthony Johnson misfired on an open 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired.
"It felt good when it left my hands," Johnson said. "I held up my hand and thought it was the bottom of the net. But tonight all of my shots ended up a little short."
Rookie Raymond Felton had 16 points and 13 assists and Melvin Ely scored 14 points for Charlotte (24-56), which has the second-worst record in the East.
The Bobcats split four meetings with the Pacers this season.
"It was about effort and nothing else," Brezec said. "All nine of the guys that played tonight gave 110 percent and that was the key. That's how we've got to play."