Collison lifts Hornets over Pacers 107-101
Collison registered his first career triple-double—the first he could remember at any level, in fact—with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and New Orleans beat the Indiana Pacers 107-101 on Friday night.
“It means a lot,” Collison said. “I was just going out there and playing and my teammates were just telling me what I needed and being supportive. … I hope I have a lot more in my career and I was fortunate to have one today. I was just trying to help the team win.”
It appeared getting the win would be easy when New Orleans led by 21 in the second quarter. But thanks in part to Collison’s eight turnovers, Indiana managed to trim its deficit to four points several times in the fourth quarter.
“Our efforts were unacceptable in the first half,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We are not playing a consistent enough game of basketball to win games we should be winning.”
Danny Granger’s(notes) free throws started a 10-2 third-quarter run and his dunk finished it, pulling Indiana to 74-65. In the fourth quarter, T.J. Ford(notes) hit a 3 from the corner, Roy Hibbert(notes) followed with a driving dunk and Granger’s free throws cut the deficit down to 87-83.
The home crowd anxiously implored the Hornets to respond, and they did.
Emeka Okafor(notes) spun into the lane for a short hook shot. Soon after, Collison and Peja Stojakovic(notes) hit 3s. Okafor hit another short jumper to push the lead back to 97-87 with 4:17 to go, then Collison converted a steal into a fast-break layup.
West, 13 of 15 from the foul line, made both free throws and the Pacers did not score again until the final seconds.
West finished with a team-high 29 points and career-high seven assists. Stojakovic scored 17, and Okafor had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“As long as guys continue to play with confidence, we’re going to have a shot to win the games in terms what we have on the schedule,” West said.
Danny Granger scored 29 and Mike Dunleavy 15 for Indiana, which trailed by as much as 21 in the second quarter, but got within four in the final minute before New Orleans held on.
“We have to develop some consistency,” Granger said. “We’ve been battling with that all year. We haven’t gotten a handle on that, but when we do we will win more games than we lose.”
The Pacers combined for 10 3-pointers, but missed 17, and got only six offensive rebounds. New Orleans outrebounded Indiana 56-35. The Hornets had 15 offensive rebounds, six by Okafor, and finished with an 18-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Coming off a five-point performance in New Orleans’ loss to Utah on Wednesday night, West scored five points during an 11-0 first-quarter run that gave the Hornets an early double-digit lead.
West had 12 points in the first quarter alone.
“We knew he would play well tonight,” Hornets coach Jeff Bower said. “We wanted to put the ball in his hands tonight coming out early to give him a chance to get going. … I appreciate his effort an awful lot because not only did he play extremely well, but he plays really hard.”
The Pacers’ decision to settle for outside shots hurt them early. They shot only 33.3 percent (15 of 45) in the first half and were outscored 24-10 inside during that stretch.
NOTES: Collison’s previous high in rebounds was seven. He had 10 in the first half alone. … The Hornets have beaten the Pacers five straight times, including once earlier this season. … Indiana is 6-21 on the road this season, losing all nine road games against Western Conference teams this season. … The Hornets are 4-5 since Paul went out with his left knee injury.