The Toronto Raptors' T.J. Ford and the Indiana Pacers' Jamaal Tinsley matched up last month in a showcase of just how good the two point guards can be. Ford, however, can't stay on the court, and Tinsley can't keep out of trouble.
With Ford expected to miss another game, the Raptors look to win four straight for the first time this season Friday night in a matchup with the Pacers, who continue to receive news about Tinsley's latest off-the-court incident.
Ford was released from an Atlanta hospital Wednesday and flew home to Toronto one day after being removed from the court on a stretcher after his head struck the floor in a win over the Hawks. He received a loud ovation when he walked to the Raptors' bench during a second-quarter timeout in a 92-76 win over Dallas later that night.
The point guard, having one of his better overall seasons, spent Tuesday night in the hospital for observation. The Raptors said Ford had feeling in his extremities when taken off the court.
Ford, averaging 14.1 points and 6.8 assists per game, was injured when Atlanta's Al Horford struck him in the head and knocked him down as Ford tried to score on a breakaway.
No timetable has been set for his return. Ford has now missed six games - the previous five for various other injuries.
Tuesday's game was the first time the Raptors (13-10) had Ford, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani in the lineup since Nov. 20. Now, Toronto coach Sam Mitchell must again make do without one of his stars as the Raptors try to win four straight for the first time since a six-game run from April 4-15.
"I can't remember the last time we had our team intact," Mitchell said. "It's been a while."
The Raptors beat the Pacers 110-101 on Nov. 16 in the teams' first matchup this season, getting 15 points and seven assists from Ford. He matched up with Tinsley, who had 20 points and five assists for the Pacers (11-11).
In his first home game since being shot at, but unhurt, early Sunday morning in downtown Indianapolis, Tinsley had 18 points and eight assists as Indiana beat Chicago 117-102 on Wednesday night. He was booed in pregame introductions for being in his third late-night incident in about 14 months.
On Thursday, it was reported that a new security camera video shows a silver Chrysler 300 shadowing a Rolls-Royce belonging to Tinsley shortly before someone fired an assault rifle at him. Indianapolis police say they want to identify a woman who is seen in the video getting out of the Chrysler.
Tinsley is averaging 14.7 points, 8.6 assists and 2.0 steals a contest.
The Pacers also had an on-court incident Wednesday, with Indiana's Troy Murphy and Chicago's Tyrus Thomas getting ejected from Wednesday's game after an altercation in the second quarter. Murphy may end up being suspended for Friday's game after swinging at Thomas in response to a shove to the face.
Kareem Rush, though, benefited from Murphy's early exit, scoring a season-high 22 points. Rush, who was selected No. 20 overall by Toronto in the 2002 draft, had been averaging 3.2 points per game.
"It has been tough, because I expect a lot out of myself," said Rush, who was traded by the Raptors to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft day. "It's been kind of frustrating the first 20 games not playing well."
Indiana has won eight of its last 10 home games against Toronto.
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