Solomon Wins It

Solomon Hill grabs the air ball from Rodney Stuckey and makes the timely putback to win the game for the Pacers over the Hornets, 88-86.

Pacers-Hornets Postgame 141119

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Solomon Wins It

Solomon Hill grabs the air ball from Rodney Stuckey and makes the timely putback to win the game for the Pacers over the Hornets, 88-86.
Nov 19, 2014  |  00:00

Hornets vs. Pacers

Solomon Hill put back a miss by Rodney Stuckey as time expires, and the Pacers overcome an early 18-point deficit to beat the Hornets 88-86 Wednesday night.
Nov 19, 2014  |  00:00

Postgame: Pacers-Hornets Wrap Up 141119

Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss wraps up Indiana's 88-86 win over the Hornets on a buzzer-beater by Solomon Hill at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 19, 2014  |  03:01

Postgame: Solomon Hill

Solomon Hill speaks postgame after hitting the game-winning putback bucket to lift the Pacers over the Hornets on Wednesday night.
Nov 19, 2014  |  00:00

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room 141119

November 19th, 2014: Donald Sloan talks about his balanced night (11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists), and Solomon Hill describes his game-winner in the Pacers' 88-86 victory over the Hornets.
Nov 19, 2014  |  01:34

Postgame: Frank Vogel 141119

November 19, 2014 - Pacers head Coach Frank Vogel discusses Indiana's dramatic 88-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Nov 19, 2014  |  04:01

Postgame: Hornets Locker Room 141119

November 19, 2014 - Hornets head coach Steve Clifford and players Lance Stephenson and Cody Zeller discuss Charlotte's 88-86 loss to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 19, 2014  |  02:19

Pacers Find Drama in the Strangest Place

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The game ended in the most appropriate manner possible.

Not because the Pacers went at former teammate Lance Stephenson on their game-winning possession – they didn't, really – but because they won it with an offensive rebound. Solomon Hill's weakside, reverse, off-balance, buzzer-beating put-back of Rodney Stuckey's missed jump shot was the difference in their 88-86 win over Charlotte at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, bringing their fourth win over the last five games.

Stephenson's return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse was the obvious subplot of this game, but the between-the-lines and far less scintillating topic of rebounding – particularly the offensive aspect of it – was the plot twist.

The Pacers grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in the game and scored 16 points as a result – none, of course, more important than Hill's, which set off a joyous oncourt celebration and provided the Pacers' first game-winning buzzer-beater since Mike Dunleavy got one at the same basket on Dec. 20, 2010 – also on an offensive rebound, also against the Hornets (the New Orleans version of them).

It enabled the Pacers to win a game in which they hit just 2-of-15 three-pointers and 16-of-24 foul shots, and raised their record to 5-7, following a 1-6 start.

“These are the games you have to learn how to win, when you're not shooting the ball well, do other things, find a way to win the game,” coach Frank Vogel said. “The final play exemplified that.”

Offensive rebounds weren't just crucial in Wednesday's victory, they've been crucial over the entire NBA history of the Pacers' franchise. Byron Scott's game-winning three-pointer in Game 1 of the playoffs against Orlando, which inspired the historic playoff run to the conference finals in 1993, came off an offensive rebound. Reggie Miller's game-tying three-pointer against New York in 1998, which forced overtime, set up a Pacers' playoff victory, and inspired a 30 for 30 documentary, came off an offensive rebound.

We could go on, but you get the point. They're important.

They've been absolutely vital to this injury-riddled collection of Pacers. Despite playing four would-be backups in the starting lineup, they ranked third in the NBA in rebounding heading into the game, and third in offensive rebounding. They have collected 38 more offensive rebounds than opponents this season, leading to who-knows-how-many bonus points. It represents an area of significant improvement over last season, when they led the NBA in defensive rebounds but ranked 22nd in offensive rebounding.

Eight of the offensive rebounds against the Hornets came in the fourth quarter, leading to seven points. AJ. Price hit a three-pointer on the opening possession, courtesy of Lavoy Allen's rebound of Rodney Stuckey's missed jumper. Stuckey later hit a jumper that provided a six-point lead after Ian Mahinmi rebounded two Price misses. The Pacers grabbed four offensive rebounds on their next possession, but couldn't score. Finally, there was Hill's rebound and basket off Stuckey's airball on the game's final play – the perfect denouement to a most inoffensive effort.

The Pacers had the ball out of bounds with 18 seconds left, the game tied. Vogel put the ball and the outcome in the hands of Stuckey, who had missed the previous seven games with a sore foot, figuring he was the best isolation threat. The fact Stuckey was guarded by Stephenson, who had been received with a mixture of boos and cheers by the fans, wasn't a factor in that decision, Vogel said. Stuckey let the clock run down to a precious few seconds, drove and put up a 17-foot jumper that failed to find the rim. Stephenson said he got a piece of it. Stuckey said he didn't think so, but wasn't sure. Either way, Hill came rushing in from the left baseline and coaxed it through the rim, ballet-like.

Hill scored just six points, grabbed five rebounds and committed three turnovers in the game, but played standout defense on Stephenson and others, before making the biggest play – a typical contribution of effort and maturity for this overachieving group.

“Usually in a situation like that, everybody is kind of ball-watching,” Hill said. “It’s the last shot of the game, a potential game-winner. Guys turn their head. I took advantage when (defender Gerald Henderson) turned his head and just tried to get to the rim. It came off and I was able to get it up in time.”

It appeared Hill was shoved in his lower back on the play – which might not have been a bad thing.

“I think that probably propelled me to throw it up a little bit more and felt like he helped me,” Hill said. “So we both got a game-winner.”

Hill also was the primary defender of Stephenson, who played a calm controlled game in which he finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Stephenson hit just 4-of-12 shots, though, and was limited to two foul shots in the fourth quarter. It made for an anti-climactic return to The Fieldhouse, short of the sort of drama that had made him a polarizing figure with the Pacers last season.

The drama in this game came on the offensive glass.

Boring, but true.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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