They made the wrong choice.
Tinsley capitalized on the open looks, scoring 10 of his 29 points in the final 4:09 and leading the Indiana Pacers to a 101-95 victory on Sunday.
“I’m always confident when the ball is in my hands. I don’t care if I miss eight or nine shots, I feel like the next one is going to go in,” Tinsley said. “I’ve got to credit my coaching staff for leaving me out there when I miss a lot of shots so that I get an opportunity to take another one. They were doubling down on Jermaine, the guys made the extra pass, and they just went in today.”
O’Neal had 20 points and 15 rebounds despite a sore right shoulder. The six-time All-Star was forced to sit out the final 2:19 of Friday night’s 95-93 loss at Seattle after hurting himself setting a screen.
“Yesterday morning he wasn’t able to get his arm above his shoulder, but we kept on working on it,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “He was doubtful today, and I was actually planning on going without him. But I found out he could go, and he had a great game.”
O’Neal was more concerned about his left knee Saturday morning than his shoulder. He missed five games prior to the Seattle contest because of swelling in the knee and his lower leg.
“Obviously, my knee has been a concern over the last two months, and I’ve been struggling to make moves, make shots, rebound and block shots,” O’Neal said. “The Seattle game was actually the first time I didn’t have pain in my knee in almost a year and a half, and today I didn’t have any pain in my knee at all.
“My shoulder was about 85 percent,” O’Neal added. “We iced it a lot yesterday, I took some Advil, iced it again this morning and was ready to go.”
Chris Kaman had 22 points and 22 rebounds for the Clippers, who are 2-9 since a 104-89 win at Indiana on Nov. 7 that capped their 4-0 start. Sam Cassell, who scored 35 points that night, missed his second straight game with a strained left calf.
The Clippers’ injury woes grew a bit worse when No.1 draft pick Al Thornton sprained his left ankle and left the game with 1:22 to go in the first half.
“It seems like it’s one injury after another for this team,” said Kaman, the only player to start all 15 games for the Clippers. “We can’t make excuses, because every team in the NBA goes through that. But it has been ridiculous.”
Tinsley hit a 3-pointer and a 19-footer 44 seconds apart to put the Pacers ahead to stay, then drained another 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining to put them ahead 96-90 and added a pair of free throws in the final minute.
Los Angeles used an 8-0 run to turn a four-point deficit into an 88-84 lead with 7:08 to play. Tim Thomas’ nine-foot jumper capped the rally, but it would be the Clippers’ last field goal until Corey Maggette’s 3-pointer with 6 seconds left in the game.
Danny Granger beat the buzzer with an 11-footer in the lane to give the Pacers a 77-76 lead entering the fourth.
Indiana opened the game with an 11-0 spurt and extended the margin to as many as 18 on a 3-pointer by Troy Murphy that gave the Pacers a 39-21 lead with 10 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Kaman made one of two from the free throw line with 1.6 seconds left in the half to give the Clippers their first lead, 51-50.
Indiana was ahead 46-38 when Murphy committed a flagrant foul against Thornton with 3:46 left in the second quarter. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien received a technical foul for arguing that Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy was allowed to go out on the court to be a peacemaker while O’Brien was warned to stay in the coach’s box.
The Clippers made only one of three free throws following the foul, but pulled even at 48 on a pair of foul shots by Tim Thomas that capped a 16-2 run with 1:22 left in the half. Thornton helped fuel the rally with eight points.
Maggette missed both free throws after the technical fouls against O’Brien and Tinsley, who got his for arguing a traveling call from James Capers. … Mike Dunleavy Jr., who had 17 points, has been on the winning side in six of the 17 games he has played against his father’s team in the NBA. The only other time in league history that a father coached against his son was Nov. 9, 1976, when the late Butch van Breda Kolff guided the New Orleans Jazz to a 110-99 home win against Jan van Breda Kolff’s New York Nets.