INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets got a lot of
attention for picking up Peja Stojakovic, Bobby Jackson and Tyson Chandler this summer. It was their lesser-known players who carried
the load in the fourth quarter of a 100-91 victory over the Indiana
Pacers on Friday night.
Rasual Butler scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter
as the Hornets' bench scored 21 of New Orleans' 31 points in the
final 12 minutes.
"It took the guys to come off the bench to kind of help us
out," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "That's why it's a team
effort. The bench came in and did a heck of a job, and when I put
the starters back in, they kept the momentum going."
Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal, who led all scorers with 25
points, said the Pacers let down against the New Orleans bench.
"This is a very talented league," he said. "You've got to
respect each and every person who checks into that game because
they're checking into the game for a purpose. They bring something
to the table that can help their team win."
Stojakovic, who played for the Pacers for the second half of
last season before signing with the Hornets in July, was booed
during introductions and several more times throughout the game. He
finished with eight points on 3-for-10 shooting and had five
Stojakovic's teammates made up for his subpar effort by
dominating the glass. The Hornets (2-0) outrebounded the Pacers
53-34 with Chandler grabbing 15.
The rebounding difference bothered Indiana coach Rick Carlisle.
"We got killed," he said. "Chandler was huge on the boards
for them. Generally, rebounding is an effort statistic, so it's
something we've got to look at. Maybe it's something we address via
a lineup change, or maybe it's got to be an adjustment in our
Indiana reserve guard Darrell Armstrong scored 11 points. The
38-year-old played 19 minutes.
"We're asking a guy who's almost my age to be the spark every
night," Carlisle said. "We can't have that."
The Pacers led 72-69 heading into the fourth quarter, and
increased that to 74-69 on a basket by Marquis Daniels.
New Orleans responded with a 14-0 run, highlighted by a dunk by
Cedric Simmons, to take an 83-74 lead halfway through the final
The Pacers cut the deficit to 91-84 on a 3-pointer by Danny
Granger with 2:28 remaining, but Paul scored two late baskets to
keep the Hornets in control.
New Orleans led 48-40 at halftime despite two of its stars
struggling. Paul was held to four points and Stojakovic scored just
five points in 11 minutes while playing through foul trouble.
Indiana forward Al Harrington was shut out in the first half,
but he scored four quick points in the third quarter in an 8-0 run
that tied the score at 48. The Pacers held the Hornets scoreless
for the first 3:30 of the quarter.
The Hornets quickly responded with a 9-0 run that included
Chandler's highlight-reel one-handed jam down the lane over Stephen
Jackson came back with a 3-pointer, then scored a basket to tie
the game at 63. The Pacers scored 32 points in the third quarter to
take a 72-69 lead into the fourth.
O'Neal said he felt the Pacers have been too focused on offense,
and it showed most in the fourth quarter.
"We can't have more energy on the offensive end than the
defensive end. We can't be tired on the defensive end and all of a
sudden have a burst of energy on the offensive end."
The Pacers celebrated the start of their 40th season by
introducing several original team members before the game. ...
James White, a rookie the Pacers picked up in a draft-day trade,
signed with San Antonio days after Indiana cut him.