Murphy-- 10.0 ppg/4.0 rpg/22.0 mpg
O'Neal-- 12.0 ppg/6.3 rpg/4.3 apg/1.3 bpg/25.7 mpg
Granger-- 21.0 ppg/7.5 rpg/1.5 apg/1.5 spg/1.5 bpg/35.0 mpg
Dunleavy-- 20.5 ppg/8.8 rpg/2.8 apg/38.5 mpg
Tinsley-- 10.5 ppg/4.8 rpg/6.8 apg/33.8 mpg
Jeff Foster, David Harrison, Kareem Rush, Marquis Daniels, Travis Diener, Shawne Williams
Brezec-- 1.3 ppg/1.7 rpg/16.0 mpg
Okafor-- 11.0 ppg/11.3 rpg/2.3 bpg/1.5 spg/31.8 mpg
Wallace-- 14.3 ppg/5.5 rpg/2.5 apg/35.5 mpg
Richardson-- 16.3 ppg/5.5 rpg/1.3 apg/1.8 spg/35.3 mpg
Felton-- 19.0 ppg/7.3 apg/2.3 rpg/1.3 spg/36.0 mpg
Matt Carroll, Jeff McGinnis, Jared Dudley, Jermareo Davidson, Walter Herrmann, Derek Anderson
Jim O’Brien doesn’t place a lot of importance on the numbers in the box score beyond those that reflect the outcome. Which is why the Pacers’ coach isn’t concerned his team, despite his emphasis on a more up-tempo style, is averaging just 8.5 fast-break points per game – more than three fewer than last season.
Coming off a season-low three fast-break points in a 104-89 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday in Conseco Fieldhouse, Indiana hopes to regain its pace Friday in Charlotte against the Bobcats.
“We don’t go by what the stat sheet says,” O’Brien said, “… but we did not have a good tempo game (Wednesday).”
The Pacers have been outscored in the fast-break points category in all four games this season by a 49-34 total. The statistic O’Brien tracks is the number of quality shots generated in the first six seconds of the shot clock; the expectation is around 20 per game. But increasing the transition opportunities for the offense will depend heavily on tightening things up on the other end of the floor.
“We couldn’t fast break,” said Danny Granger, “because we couldn’t get stops.”
Charlotte (2-2) will pose a major challenge for the defense with its perimeter trio of Raymond Felton, Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace; those three have combined to average nearly 50 points per game.
The Pacers (3-1) could benefit by a return to full-time status by inside anchor Jermaine O’Neal, whose playing time has been restricted by the team’s medical staff while he regains his conditioning after missing substantial preseason time due to a hyperextended left knee. O’Neal could play no more than six minutes at a stretch in the first two games. His limit has been raised to 32 minutes.
“He’s at 32 (minutes) and I don’t anticipate him playing 40 minutes a night so we’re getting closer to where he needs to be,” O’Brien said. “The more he practices, the more he’ll get closer.”
O’Brien also has some rotation issues to settle, particularly at the wing spots. Starters Granger and Mike Dunleavy are playing well, combining for 41.5 points and 16.3 rebounds per game. With Shawne Williams’ return from a three-game suspension, he joins a group including Marquis Daniels and Kareem Rush battling for the backup minutes.
“Any time you sit out practice it puts you behind whether you end up being out on the court or you don’t,” said O’Brien. “We have guys challenging each other for wing spots and not everybody’s going to play. The guys that practice the best and produce the best will get the most playing time. … The sooner I can get into a set rotation the better off we’ll be.”
This will be Rush’s first game back in Charlotte since his unceremonious
release by the Bobcats in April of 2006.
The Pacers lead the overall series 7-3 and are 3-2 in Charlotte. Last season Indiana won two of three high-scoring games, averaging 106.7 points to the Bobcats’ 104.7.