Hornets.com postgame: Pacers 94, Hornets 93

Monday, December 20, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Pacers (13-14), Hornets (16-12)

It was over when… Mike Dunleavy tipped in a Danny Granger missed jump shot at the buzzer, giving Indiana a dramatic victory and handing New Orleans a gut-wrenching loss. The ball appeared to still be partly touching the rim when Dunleavy converted his tip-in, but after reviewing the play, the bucket was allowed. The Hornets dropped to 5-9 on the road, losing a second straight game that could’ve gone either way.

Hornets MVP: Emeka Okafor turned in one of his best games in a New Orleans uniform, totaling 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. His 7-for-8 shooting was outstanding, as was his defensive effort against Indiana’s Roy Hibbert (2 points, 1-for-10 shooting), who’s had success vs. New Orleans in the past.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Jarrett Jack made several big plays and was on the court in crunch time, part of a small lineup that paired him with Chris Paul. Jack led the bench with nine points (2-for-3 on treys), but perhaps more importantly, he handed out six assists and had three steals.

The buzz on… extremely sad news in the family of Hornets guard Willie Green. The team’s backup shooting guard experienced unimaginable tragedy early Monday morning, when a car accident in Michigan claimed the lives of his older sister, as well as one of Green’s cousins. Hornets players were informed of the news at a breakfast meeting earlier today. Green returned to his native Detroit to be with his family and mourn the deaths.

“They were shocked,” Monty Williams said of his players’ reaction to the news. “No one expected that. This isn’t something you just sweep under the rug and say, let’s play ball. It’s something I think we need to deal with. I think the best way to deal with it is to support Willie, talk to him and be available to him.”

“We’re going to pray for Willie and keep him in our thoughts,” David West said about 90 minutes before Monday’s game in Indianapolis. “It puts things in perspective, in terms of knowing there’s life outside of basketball. When this happens, it puts life in perspective, knowing that no moment is guaranteed.

“The hardest thing is trying to block out things like this. In our hearts, we’re feeling for Willie and his family. It’s something that’s part of life and you have to deal with it. We have to keep him in our thoughts and prayers.”

It’s uncertain when Green will return to the club, but that’s the least of anyone’s concerns at the moment. Green has quickly become one of the most respected players in the locker room.

“We’re going to have support him and make sure that we give him the time he needs to mourn,” Williams said.

Blog question of the night: This was the initial meeting of the season between the Hornets and the Pacers, who had two former New Orleans players, Darren Collison and James Posey, on the floor in crunch time. What’s your view now of the four-team, multi-player trade the Hornets made in August that landed Trevor Ariza? Ariza (1-for-13 shooting) had perhaps his worst game of the season Monday, though he’s perhaps the No. 1 reason NOLA has improved defensively in 2010-11.