The Indiana Pacers look lost at times when Jamaal Tinsley isn't on the court to orchestrate their offense. They'll get plenty of time to learn to adjust to their starting point guard's absence.
With Tinsley expected to miss at least a week, the Pacers look to snap a three-game losing streak as they continue their season series with the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.
Indiana will be without Tinsley - sidelined with a hamstring injury - for a second straight game as it tries to end its longest skid since dropping six in a row from Nov. 7-16. Tinsley is having perhaps his best season, averaging 13.8 points, 8.7 assists and 1.8 steals while managing one of the league's top offenses.
In a 98-92 loss to Detroit on Friday night, the Pacers (15-16) struggled to get good shots in the fourth quarter without their best distributor. Indiana managed just 41 points in the second half.
"We've got to learn from this and move on and get better," said Marquis Daniels, who is splitting time with Andre Owens at point guard in Tinsley's absence.
Daniels and Owens combined for 18 points versus the Pistons, but had just four assists while committing four turnovers as the Pacers were swept in a home-and-home series.
The Pacers were able to keep the game close with a second straight outstanding effort from Jermaine O'Neal, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds Friday after a 25-point game the previous day. The veteran forward is averaging 23.0 points and 9.8 rebounds in his last six games against the Bobcats (10-18).
O'Neal had 18 points and eight rebounds versus Charlotte on Nov. 9, but Indiana lost 96-87. That was perhaps the best game of the season for Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor, who finished with 25 points and 23 rebounds for his second career 20-20 game.
Okafor, however, is coming off a terrible offensive game, scoring only four points on 2-of-6 shooting in Charlotte's 104-95 loss to Orlando on Saturday night.
It was the 10th straight road loss and fourth straight defeat overall for the Bobcats. They will try to bounce back at home, where they are 9-8.
After a 99-85 loss to New Orleans on Friday night, Charlotte coach Sam Vincent made some changes to the starting lineup against the Magic and it led to a strong first quarter. He put point guard Jeff McInnis in the starting lineup and moved Raymond Felton to shooting guard, Jason Richardson to small forward, Gerald Wallace to power forward and had Okafor starting at center for Nazr Mohammed.
The move was made mainly to get McInnis on the floor early. He had just three points on 1-of-6 shooting, but helped set the tempo as the Bobcats led 29-28 after the first quarter.
"He just provides energy and spark on the floor and he's so vocal getting the guys and letting them know what we're in," Vincent said of McInnis.
Richardson, meanwhile, finished with a season-high 34 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. After struggling for most of December, the veteran swingman is averaging 29.0 points while shooting 51.3 percent from the field during Charlotte's losing streak.
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