Bobcats fall short of a win to Indiana, 101-98

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Troy Murphy needed only one shot to find his rhythm.

The Indiana forward went 10 of 13

from the field and made five 3-pointers, finishing with 26 points to

lead the Pacers to a 101-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on

Wednesday night.

Murphy hit a 3 less than two minutes

into the game to give Indiana a 6-2 lead. He made his next four from

beyond the arc and finished 5 of 7.

“We ran a play early in the game, the

defense collapsed and T.J. (Ford) found me for a 3,” said Murphy, who

also grabbed 15 rebounds. “It feels good to get that first one down.”

His shooting performance didn’t come as a surprise to his teammates.

“Murph is a heck of a player, he’s a

weapon,” said Indiana guard Mike Dunleavy. “He can space the floor and

make shots. He’s been playing really well lately.”

Murphy’s offensive production has

been even more important since the Pacers lost All-Star swingman and

leading scorer Danny Granger to injury. Murphy had a season-high 28

points in a victory over Washington on Dec. 12.

“I’ve been watching a lot of film

with the coaches and trying to find different places where I can get

shots,” he said. “I got open looks and was able to knock them down.”

Ford had 15 points and 13 assists,

and Dunleavy scored 15 in his second start of the season for the Pacers

(9-14), who have won three of four after a six-game losing streak.

“We just hung in there,” Dunleavy said. “It was enough for the win, so we’ll take it.”

Gerald Wallace had 29 points and 12

rebounds, Stephen Jackson scored 22 and Tyson Chandler added 13 points

and 13 rebounds for the Bobcats (10-14), who dropped to 1-11 on the

road. Charlotte fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter and

trailed by as much as 18.

“We have to play better at the

beginning of games,” Jackson said. “We always start slow and use all

our energy to get back into the game. You can’t do that on the road

against any team.”

The Bobcats rallied late in the

fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 101-98 after D.J. Augustin’s

3-pointer and Wallace’s two free throws. After a Pacers shot-clock

violation, Wallace’s attempt at a tying 3 bounced out with less than

five seconds left.

Dahntay Jones missed both free

throws for the Pacers, giving Charlotte another chance with 1.4 seconds

remaining. Augustin made a 3 from the top of the key, but it came just

after the buzzer.

“We got him to take a shot with his

back to the basket and he didn’t have time to get it off,” Jones said.

“We weren’t even worried about the shot.”

The Pacers shot 55 percent in the

first quarter and raced out to a 21-7 lead on Murphy’s layup. Charlotte

got within 24-23 later in the period, but Indiana controlled the second

quarter and took a 56-46 halftime advantage.

“The first five minutes of the game were terrible,” said Bobcats coach Larry Brown. “You can’t do that on the road.”

Roy Hibbert’s dunk early in the

third quarter gave the Pacers their biggest lead, 64-46. The Bobcats

trimmed the deficit to 10 entering the fourth.

NOTES: Granger missed his fifth

straight game with a torn right plantar fascia. Granger is expected to

miss at least four weeks and will not require surgery. … Brown

coached the Pacers from 1993-97. … Jackson played for the Pacers from

2004-07 and was part of the brawl between Pacers players and Detroit

Pistons fans in Nov. 2004. Jackson’s turbulent days in Indiana ended

when the Pacers traded him to Golden State in January 2007. He was

booed by fans throughout the game. “I hear it, but what effect does

that have on my life? None at all,” Jackson said. “I’m used to it. I

get booed four or five other places. It’s good to know they’re thinking

about me.” … Charlotte’s only road win came at Washington on Nov. 28.

Updated December 17, 2009