O’Neal, Pacers Rally Past Bobcats
Posted Nov 2 2006 12:31AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 1 (AP) --After dominating the fourth quarter to win their season opener, the Indiana Pacers were still concerned about Gerald Wallace's health.
But the Bobcats, in their first game with Michael Jordan in charge of personnel decisions, were short-handed. Wallace, their leading scorer last season, left in the second quarter with dizziness, neck and back injuries after he hit his head on the floor following a flagrant foul by Danny Granger.
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle came into the Bobcats' locker room after the game to check on Wallace, and Granger was apologetic.
``I didn't want to give him a dunk. I wasn't trying to flagrant foul him,'' Granger said. ``I was trying to go for the ball. He plays above the rim, but I was just trying to stop a fast break. I wasn't trying to hurt him.''
Wallace sat in the locker room with his eyes closed and his warmup jersey over part of his head until Carlisle arrived. He did not speak to reporters and will be evaluated Thursday.
Emeka Okafor had 19 points, 13 rebounds and a team record-tying six blocks for the Bobcats, who began a new era after Jordan became a part owner in the offseason. But Jordan spent the entire game in a suite and was never introduced to the crowd.
The Pacers, trying to move to an up-tempo offense, took their first lead on Jeff Foster's layup midway through the third quarter. They led by as many as 14 in the fourth, overcoming 41 percent shooting, and a tumultuous offseason which saw Jackson charged with a felony after being accused of firing a gun outside a strip club.
``Any legal situation is going to take its toll, but basketball-wise we don't feel like we had any problems in the preseason,'' O'Neal said.
Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the draft, entered midway through the first quarter and hit his first shot, a leaner along the left baseline. Morrison's liability - defense - showed itself early as he picked up two fouls trying to guard Jackson.
Morrison, who shot 5-for-13, brought fans to their feet at the end of the first quarter. Catching an inbounds pass deep on the left side, he spun around and drained a 41-foot shot.
``I played good in stretches, but obviously we are trying to win,'' Morrison said. ``I'm not worried about looks or scoring or anything like that.''
The Bobcats, who led 13-4, couldn't sustain the momentum due to 22 turnovers and the loss of Wallace.
He was going in for a dunk when Granger swiped at the ball from behind, hitting both of Wallace's arms and his shoulder. Wallace's head hit the floor first and he was attended to for several minutes before getting to his feet.
``Gerald was up in the air. I don't think he did it intentionally, but it's a foul he shouldn't have committed,'' Bobcats guard Raymond Felton said. ``He should have just given him the dunk.''
Othella Harrington rushed over and shoved Granger, who was not ejected. No fight ensued, but Harrington and Jasikevicius were called for technical fouls.
Sean May had 10 points and 10 rebounds filling in for Charlotte at center for Primoz Brezec, who will miss about two weeks due to exhaustion.
Notes: New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter attended the game. While the Bobcats never showed Jordan on the big screen, they did show Jeter during a fourth-quarter timeout. ... Pacers president Larry Bird sees some similarities between himself and Morrison. ``He'll learn how to do it,'' Bird said before the game. ``He's a smart player. They said the same thing about me.'' ... Al Harrington, in his first game back with Indiana after being reacquired in an offseason trade with Atlanta, had eight points and five fouls in 20 minutes.
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