November 18, 2007

Pacers notebook
Williams' best plenty good
By Mike Wells and Mark Montieth

Shawne Williams learned about putting a bad night behind him before training camp even began. So forgetting about an off-game in Toronto was no big deal.

Williams turned in season highs of 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks off the bench in the Indiana Pacers' 117-97 victory over Utah at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday.

All but two points, one rebound and one block came in the first three quarters, before the Jazz had surrendered.

"If he plays like that we're tough to beat," said Jeff Foster, the only teammate to outrebound Williams (nine).

"When you have a guy like that coming off the bench and playing (shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center) he's tough to match up with."

Williams had gone scoreless and managed just one rebound in 141/2 minutes in Friday's loss at Toronto.

Since sitting out the first three games because of a team suspension, Williams has averaged 8.7 points while shooting 48 percent, including 43 percent from 3-point range.

That's a giant step forward from last season, when the 20-year-old rookie wound up averaging 3.9 points in 46 games.

"He's come a long way," point guard Jamaal Tinsley said. "He got the opportunity and he's taking advantage of it."

Versatility is turning out to be the strong suit for the 6-9 Williams.
He played four positions Saturday, even getting some time at center late in the first half when foul trouble benched all the big men.

"I want to keep playing multiple positions," he said. "That means more playing time. We've got a lot of wings and we've got a lot of bigs, but somebody might go down and I've got to be ready to step in.

"I feel better playing every position (than just one), it's just hard learning the plays."

Attack, attack, attack

Pacers coach Jim O'Brien wants his players to have a shoot-first, pass-second mentality when they have the ball.

"That way you put the most pressure on the defense," O'Brien said.
"I think good offensive players attack. Attack with the mind-set that I can get a good open shot, put pressure on the defense. If that's not there, hit the open teammate."

Tinsley, who has been aggressive late in games the Pacers were losing, took only five shots while dishing out 13 assists against the Jazz, but O'Brien doesn't want his point guard to hold back if he can take over a game with scoring.

"We have individuals that can attack and create their own shot," O'Brien said. "Whatever someone's individual strengths are, we need them to play to their strengths."


Backup G Travis Diener suffered a bruised knee when he collided with Utah's Jason Hart with seven seconds left in the game. Diener had a noticeable limp walking off the court but said he should be fine. . . . Troy Murphy moved back into the starting lineup in place of Foster after scoring 20 points off the bench against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. . . . Saturday was just the second time this season that the Pacers have shot at least 50 percent from the field.