Pacers use second-half surge to beat Bobcats
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal scored 18 of his 20 points in
the second half as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Charlotte Bobcats, 106-99,
in the season opener for both clubs.
Sarunas Jasikevicius added 20 points and Stephen Jackson scored 18 for the
Pacers, who used a 19-6 run in the third quarter to take a lead they never
Emeka Okafor had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Bobcats,
who didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with Indiana.
Charlotte rookie Adam Morrison, the third overall pick in this past June’s
draft, came off the bench and scored 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
Brevin Knight also scored 14 points and added eight rebounds and seven assists
for Charlotte, which led for most of the first half only to fail to hold on to
its lead in the second.
Down 57-51 early in the third quarter, the Pacers went on a 10-2 run to go
ahead 61-59. Jeff Foster’s basket capped the run, which saw O’Neal and Foster
combine for eight points.
Then, after Knight tied the game at 61-61, O’Neal hit two free throws with 5
1/2 minutes left to start a 9-2 run and put Indiana ahead for good. O’Neal
scored five points during the surge, capping it with a bucket with three
minutes left in the quarter.
Charlotte made a little run at the end of the quarter, drawing within 77-73
after three quarters, but the Pacers quickly put the game out of reach. Ahead
82-77, Darrell Armstrong drained a three-pointer and Al Harrington connected
for two points extending the lead to double-digits for the first time, 87-77,
just over two minutes into the frame.
The lead later ballooned to 14 points, 94-80, on a Marquis Daniels bucket
nearly five minutes into the quarter, before the Bobcats drew within single
digits late in the contest. However, Charlotte never made it a single
possession game and Indiana cruised to the final buzzer.
Harrington ended with eight points and nine boards and Armstrong tallied nine
points. Both players were acquired in offseason trades.
The Bobcats held a 27-23 lead after one quarter, thanks to a buzzer-beating
three-pointer by Morrison. But the Pacers went into half time down just 50-49
as Jasikevicius hit a trey of his own just before the buzzer sounded.
Bobcats starting forward Gerald Wallace was injured late in the second
quarter when he was fouled from behind by Danny Granger on a breakaway dunk
attempt. Wallace, who landed hard flat on his back, stayed on the floor
for several minutes, remained in the game to take the ensuing foul shot, both
of which he missed, and then went to the locker room and did not return with
dizziness and neck and head injuries. Had Wallace not taken the free
throws, he would not have been allowed back in the game.
Granger was handed a flagrant foul on the play and Charlotte’s Othella
Harrington and Jasikevicius were each given a technical for their actions
following the foul. Harrington pushed Granger and Jasikevicius pushed
Indiana has won five straight season openers…Charlotte fell to 0-3 in season
openers…Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle tied Larry Brown for second on the
Pacers all-time win list with 147…The Bobcats announced before the game
that center Primoz Brezec will miss two weeks with exhaustion and dehydration.
Brezec played for Slovania in the World Championships this summer…Raymond
Felton had 12 points and Shawn May had 10 points and 10 boards for the