Hornets.com postgame: Pacers 117, Hornets 108 (OT)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Pacers (20-12), Hornets (7-25)

It was over when… Indiana’s Darren Collison threw down a fast-break dunk off a New Orleans turnover to give the hosts a 113-102 lead with 1:44 remaining in overtime. The former Hornets guard’s slam capped an 11-2 Pacers run that opened the extra period. Trevor Ariza helped force OT by draining a difficult jumper on the second-to-last possession of the fourth quarter, but the Hornets were outplayed from there. New Orleans will finish the first half of the 2011-12 regular season on Wednesday with a game in Cleveland, the third game of a back-to-back-to-back.

Hornets MVP: In addition to his clutch jump shot that tied the game at 100 prior to a Pacers miss at the end of regulation, Ariza was again all over the floor, despite logging a team-high 43 minutes of playing time. The starting small forward totaled 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. He was 8-for-15 from the field.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: For the second straight night, Jarrett Jack was a reserve but played starter’s minutes, on the floor for 32 minutes, 11 more than first-stringer Greivis Vasquez’s 21. Jack figured prominently in NOLA’s rally late in the game and finished with 19 points and 10 assists. He drained a three-pointer in both the fourth quarter and overtime.

The buzz on… Hornets power forward. If you had to pick one game that could sum up the story of the 2011-12 regular season, it might be the Feb. 4 overtime defeat in Detroit. The trip to the Palace of Auburn Hills featured two of the most frustrating aspects of the ’11-12 Hornets - key injuries and a narrow loss. On the night before the Super Bowl, both starting power forward Jason Smith (concussion) and backup power forward Carl Landry (knee) were sidelined after making contact by bruising Detroit big man Jason Maxiell. Both players still remain out of action, paving the way for Gustavo Ayon to start at the 4 spot for the past eight games. It wasn’t like Ayon didn’t earn the assignment, however. The rookie from Mexico was completely unknown among the vast majority of basketball fans prior to signing with New Orleans in late December, but he’s been a major bright spot in an otherwise difficult campaign. Prior to his injury, Smith was off to an excellent start, with career-bests in numerous categories, including scoring and rebounding. Landry was shuffled between the starting five and the bench but appeared to finding a groove at the time of his MCL sprain. Over the eight games prior to the loss at Detroit, the fifth-year pro had tallied at least 14 points six times.