After losing their first two meetings with the Pacers -- with a
melee marring the second loss -- the Hornets have handily defeated
Indiana in their last two meetings.
New Orleans is the only team to beat the Pacers since the
All-Star break, having won 89-75 in Indiana on Feb. 17.
"Hopefully we'll leave something in their minds if we meet
again" in the playoffs, said Hornets forward P.J. Brown, who had
17 points and helped hold Jermaine O'Neal to 5-of-14 shooting. "We
match up very well. We're both defensive-minded teams ... and I
think the last two games we controlled all phases of the game."
That included rebounding, where the Hornets had a 52-36
"They outrebounded us by 18 in Indianapolis and tonight by 16.
... That's a problem," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "They're
an unusual team. They have a lot of size and a lot of strength on
Indiana never led in the second half. Austin Croshere's
3-pointer pulled Indiana to 78-70 with a little over four minutes
to go, then Davis took control.
He answered with a 3 of his own, drew a charge on Al
Harrington's drive, then slipped a pass underneath to Brown for a
dunk, putting the Hornets up 83-72 with three minutes left.
Mashburn's turnaround fade with 2:16 to go finished off the Pacers.
"When Croshere hit a big 3, I had a pretty good feeling and a
touch from outside, and just seeing how their defense was playing I
knew I was going to take that (3-point) shot," Davis said. "A lot
of people think this was a statement game. Maybe it is, maybe it's
not. Tonight we just came out with the energy and enthusiasm and
that's what propelled us."
Jamaal Magloire, contained for much of the first half, finished
with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets.
"We know what we got to do if we see these guys in the
playoffs," O'Neal said. "We can't try to outscore them. We've got
to hammer them. We've got to knock them down. We've got to do what
got us our two wins. They reversed the strategy on us and that's
how they got their two wins. I'm pretty sure the next time we see
these guys it's not going to happen again."
Another difference in each team's victories were injuries.
Mashburn missed the Hornets' two losses, while Ron Artest missed
The Hornets started to pull away after Harrington's layup pulled
Indiana to 54-49 midway through the third period. Brown committed
his fourth foul on the play and was pulled in favor of David West.
But the Hornets showed no dropoff as West had four rebounds and
played solid defense over the next six minutes.
New Orleans went on 16-4 run that included a 3 by Davis in
transition, a 3 by Darrell Armstrong after two Hornets' offensive
rebounds, and a tip-in by Magloire for a 70-53 lead late in the
Tough defense defined the opening half as both offenses had
trouble getting inside. New Orleans didn't get its shooting
percentage over 40 until the end of the half, and Indiana shot only
Jermaine O'Neal was held to only five points in the half.
"We had two players coming at him," Brown said. "We never
really let him get a rhythm and go one-on-one on me. We forced him
out on the perimeter and he started taking a lot of jump shots, and
I don't think that was what he wanted to do."
In the final seconds of the first half, Mashburn found Davis
cutting through the lane for a one-handed dunk over O'Neal that had
Davis so excited he ripped off his headband.
Austin Croshere threw in a shot from beyond halfcourt at the
buzzer, and the shot initially was called good. But after a video
review, the call was overturned and the Hornets maintained a 46-34
The paid attendance was announced as an overflow 17,218
(capacity 17,200), only the third sellout of the season. ...
Mashburn has scored 20 or more points in each of his last six
games. ... The loss was Indiana's first in New Orleans since the
Hornets relocated here from Charlotte for the 2002-2003 season.