It almost seemed like old times. A lively crowd and lots of hustle on the
The Indiana Pacers indeed made opening night seem like there is reason for
hope by out hustling Philadelphia in a pivotal third quarter and cruising to
a 99-86 victory before an announced sellout crowd.
Philadelphia was more than formidable in the first half, and behind Lou
Phillips’ 18 points, went into the locker room at half time tied with
Indiana at 51.
The Pacers would exhibit an exceptional high level of energy in the third
quarter and outscored the 76ers 27-15 and would never look back.
“Our intensity and our energy at times was exceptional and the difference in
the game,” said an obviously pleased coach Jim O’Brien after the game.
“That was an electric third period,” he said.
The Pacers would lead by as much as 16 in the final stanza and Philadelphia
could not get any closer than 10 for the balance of the game.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 22 points, while Mike Dunleavy added 16 for
the Blue and Gold. Darren Collison who was instrumental in the third quarter
with more energy than I have seen from any Pacer in years, scored 15 points
while doing an excellent job setting the tempo offensively.
Roy Hibbert added 13 rebounds and also led the Pacers on the night with 5
Philadelphia was led by Lou Williams who was perfect from the floor in the
first half in route to 18 points. Elton Brand added 12 points and 10 boards
for the 76ers who are winless after three games. Jrue Holiday chipped in 12
Notes: Tyler Hansbrough who was huge in the Charlotte victory earlier this
week again displayed the toughness he is capable of in the process of
tallying 9 points and 7 rebounds. The Pacers played Hansbrough and Josh
McRoberts at the same time during the game, and while that was a first, you
can expect to see that again in the future as the pair are not afraid to
crash the boards, which is something the Pacers need desperately.
While he shot 6 for 13 from the field, Mike Dunleavy was just 1-7 from the
three point arc. For the Pacers to be successful this season, he will have
to regain his old form and be more of a threat from that range.
With ticket promotions galore and a pre game concert, the Pacers virtually
filled Conseco Fieldhouse for the home opener. While there were just a few
scattered seats, it was billed as a sellout and the crowd did indeed make a
difference. For one night anyway, Pacer Pride was alive and well.
With Brandon Rush serving a league mandated five game suspension for
marijuana usage, the Pacers dressed just 11 players. One of those not
dressing was Jeff Foster and I wonder just how healthy his back truly is.
The Pacers need a healthy Foster this season to back up Roy Hibbert and if
he cannot go, they will need to look to make a trade to acquire a big man to
shore up an obvious area of concern. Foster, one of the classiest guys in
the NBA is in the final year of his contract and more than likely the end of
his time here in Indianapolis.
Danny Bridges, who thinks Philadelphia’s young back court of Williams and
Holiday is worth the price of admission, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or