/media/playerfile/sarunas_jasikevicius.jpg" align="left"/> SARUNAS JASIKEVICIUS
Matched his career high with 20 points in 21 minutes off the bench, adding five assists while making 5-of-6 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.
/media/playerfile/rick_carlisle.jpg" align="left"/> RICK CARLISLE
“Sarunas is a gamer, we know that, and most people in this league should know that. He came through for us in many games last year. He played effectively at both positions tonight, but his minutes at two-guard were very critical. He gave us play-making and shot-making. His play was big.”
Points in the Paint:
Bobcats 52, Pacers 48
Fast-break points:
Pacers 23, Bobcats 21
2nd-chance points:
Pacers 15, Bobcats 15
Points off turnovers:
Pacers 35, Bobcats 24
Starters scoring:
Bobcats 64, Pacers 58
Bench scoring:
Pacers 48, Bobcats 35
The Pacers won on opening night for the fifth consecutive season, the last four coming on the road.
/media/playerfile/chris_paul.jpg" align="left"> The Pacers return to Conseco Fieldhouse for their 2006-07 season home opener Friday against second-year sensation Chris Paul and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (7:00).
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    Saras, J.O. Spark Opening Victory

    at Charlotte, Nov. 1, 2006

    Here's what was wrong with Sarunas Jasikevicius' jump shot: it was the preseason. When the lights came on, so did Jasikevicius' game as he matched his career high with 20 points in 21 minutes off the bench to spark the Pacers to a 106-99 victory over the Bobcats in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night in Charlotte.

    Jermaine O'Neal shook off first-half foul trouble to score 18 of his 20 points in the second half. He and Jasikevicius combined for 10 points in a pivotal 14-6 third-quarter run that pushed the visitors to a 75-67 lead that they maintained the rest of the game.

    The Pacers (1-0) picked up their first victory in three tries in Charlotte Bobcats Coliseum and won their fifth straight opener.


    There were important performances from a variety of players, as most every reserve had an impact. Beyond Jasikevicius, Darrell Armstrong made a trio of 3-pointers and had nine points and four assists. Jeff Foster pulled 11 rebounds. David Harrison scored seven points in a strong and significant first-half burst while O'Neal and Al Harrington were benched by foul trouble. Marquis Daniels had six points, four assists and three rebounds as the Pacers enjoyed a 48-35 advantage in bench scoring. Stephen Jackson supported O'Neal in the starting lineup with 18, scoring nine from the line.

    Though the Pacers didn't run much in the second half, scoring just three of their 23 fast-break points, they did control the tempo. They outrebounded Charlotte 50-46 and committed just five turnovers after intermission.

    The starters combined to shoot 18-of-60 (.300) overall and 1-of-10 from the 3-point line. Jamaal Tinsley struggled against Brevin Knight and managed five points (2-of-9), four assists and three turnovers. Jackson shot 4-of-15, Danny Granger 2-of-10 and Harrington, limited to just 20 minutes because of foul trouble, was 3-of-10 but did contribute nine rebounds.

    Charlotte was sparked by Emeka Okafor, who racked up 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. Knight and Adam Morrison had 14 apiece for the Bobcats, who shot .474 but were outscored 30-21 from the free-throw line at home.

    The first half offered up plenty of hurdles as the Pacers fell into a 13-4 hole while both O'Neal and Harrington picked up two fouls in the opening minutes. Foul trouble plagued both big scorers in the half as they combined for just four points and six fouls. But strong bench play allowed the Pacers to hang around as Jasikevicius scored 10, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that cut the halftime deficit to 50-49.

    The third quarter didn't start much better as Harrington quickly picked up his fourth, then replacement Harrison headed to the bench with four. But O'Neal heated up and Jasikevicius stayed hot. The two combined for 20 in the third period, 10 in a 14-6 run that pushed the Pacers into a 75-67 lead.

    Charlotte closed to 77-73 entering the fourth but the Pacers opened the final period with a 17-7 run to build a 94-80 advantage with 7 minutes remaining. Harrington scored five of his points in that run and Armstrong hit a pair of 3-pointers.

  • Danny Granger was called for a Flagrant Foul 1 for hitting Gerald Wallace from behind in transition, causing the Bobcats player to fall hard to the floor, where he remained for several minutes. Wallace shot the free throws, missed both free throws and headed straight to the locker room. He did not return.
  • Orien Greene, Shawne Williams and Josh Powell were on the inactive list. Greene is still recovering from a broken finger on his left hand.
  • The Bobcats were without starting center Primoz Brezec, who'll miss the first two weeks of the season recovering from exhaustion and dehydration after spending most of the summer with the Slovenian national team preparing for and competing in the World Basketball Championship.