JAMAAL TINSLEY
Asserted himself in a big way after a slow start, scoring just two points in the first half, and wound up flirting with a triple-double: 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as well as three steals and just one turnover.
JIM O'BRIEN
"I was really proud of Jamaal Tinsley. He didn’t make a shot the first half, didn’t force things and let the game come to him. And down the stretch, he hit big shots. After the game, I told them I was proud of them and Jermaine (O’Neal) presented me with the game ball. It was nice to get a game ball in front of guys who have worked so hard.”
  • Points in the paint: Wizards 32, Pacers 28
  • Fast-break points: Wizards 14, Pacers 9
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 18, Wizards 17
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 22, Wizards 22
  • Starters scoring: Wizards 93, Pacers 84
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 35, Wizards 17
  • The Pacers snapped losing streaks of three games overall and three in a row against the Wizards at Conseco Fieldhouse.
    The Pacers' blue-and-gold opening week celebration continues Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse against Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat (7 p.m.)
  • Postgame notes & quotes
  • Pacers plus-minus rankings
  • Game recap
  • Box Score
  • INDIANA 119, WASHINGTON 110 (OT)
    Pacers open season with a thriller

    By Conrad Brunner | Oct. 31, 2007


    They may have been built for the run-and-shoot but the Pacers showed another side to their personality Wednesday night, pulling out a victory more through grit and determination than glamour.

    Forget the 41 percent shooting and the 17 turnovers; this was a thing of beauty.

    Despite the absence of starting post players Jermaine O'Neal and Troy Murphy and foul trouble that handcuffed all three of the remaining big men at various points in the game, the Pacers found a way to pull out an inspiring 119-110 overtime victory over the Wizards Wednesday night in the first game of Coach Jim O'Brien's tenure.

    "A terrific win for our franchise," said O'Brien. "I'm very, very proud of our guys. That’s all I've seen from this team, that they fight. This is what everybody's going to come to expect from these guys. They're never out of the game. They don't care if people are banged-up, you're going to have to win with the people who play."

    With O'Neal out due to soreness in his left knee, the Pacers needed a number of players to fill the void. Mike Dunleavy was a factor throughout and produced 25 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Danny Granger scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and two blocked shots and hit the 3-pointer with 42 seconds in overtime that gave the Pacers room to breathe. Ike Diogu and David Harrison took O'Neal's minutes and combined to produce 26 points and seven rebounds.

    But the biggest difference was made by Jamaal Tinsley, who shook off a sluggish first half (two points, 0-of-4 shooting) to take over the game down the stretch. He finished with a near-triple-double fo 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, adding three steals and just one turnover.

    “The first half was kind of slow," Tinsley said. "We picked up the pace and were playing basketball on both ends of the court. When we turned it up like that, we give ourselves a better chance to make our shots and to go into our regular game plan. I am moving up and down the floor, letting the game come to me and having fun."

    The Wizards scored the first six points of the first quarter, the first eight of the second and the first eight of the third on their way to a 58-50 lead but the Pacers fought back and forged a 70-all tie entering the fourth. That's when the game took a turn for the dramatic as the teams combined for 66 points, 13 lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter.

    Tinsley made a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds left for a 103-100 lead but was victimized by Gilbert Arenas' game-tying 3-pointer – his first trey of the night after missing six -- as time expired. O'Brien said he bypassed the option to foul in order to prevent the 3-point shot because the Wizards' quick shooters and the Pacers' lack of practice time on that particular scenario increased the chance of a four-point play.

    Rather than being deflated, the Pacers simply dug in and turned in a surprisingly strong defensive effort, holding the Wizards to 0-of-7 shooting for more than 4 minutes as they seized the game. Granger and Dunleavy hit 3-pointers sandwiching a Tinsley drive that put the Pacers up 111-106 with 2:42 left. Granger then hit the decisive 3-pointer to make it 116-108.

    “We have 15 guys that have practiced and played together," said Dunleavy. "We will go out there and fight to the end."


    NOTEWORTHY
  • There was a confusing and potentially controversial moment late in regulation. With the Pacers ahead 101-99 in the closing seconds, they appeared to be in position to seal the game after a defensive stop when official Derrick Stafford signaled a foul on the Wizards' Brendan Haywood. As the Pacers headed downcourt, Stafford quickly caught his mistake and corrected the call to the other No. 33 on the floor – Granger. Washington's Caron Butler stepped to the line with 8.9 seconds left and missed one of two. O'Brien said Stafford made the right call but originally pointed the wrong direction, causing the confusion.
  • Haywood wound up with a career-high 11 offensive rebounds.
  • O'Neal (sore left knee), Murphy (sore left Achilles tendon) and Shawne Williams (team suspension) were the Pacers' inactives. The Wizards were without center Etan Thomas (heart surgery).