View Full Version : QOD...Sounds like Bruno thinks it is RM deferring

05-10-2005, 03:40 PM
Q. It seems to me the team plays a lot better when the swingmen are successful. Are the perimeter players and their ability to hit outside shots a key to victory? Of course, Jermaine O'Neal is the best player, but he's also fighting an injury, not to mention one of the best front lines in the game. J.O. is also a safety net, meaning he's usually going to get about 20-10 each night, no matter what. But we were most effective (against the Celtics) when J.O. became a passer and the subsequent ball movement allowed those shooters to get those open threes.

Will (Rick) Carlisle call upon that perimeter offense he utilized so effectively after the melee? Do J.O. and the staff recognize the team's success when J.O. is used as a diversion and looks to distribute first, score second? Do the younger shooters have the confidence needed to properly execute this game plan? (From Adam in Tallahassee, FL)

A. It is not coincidental that O'Neal has averaged 4.3 assists in the team's four playoff victories and 1.0 assist in the four playoff losses. No matter whom the Pacers play, the opposing defense is going to make O'Neal the top priority. While it would be defeatist to suggest O'Neal can't score against the Pistons, neither is it logical that he continue to force the action against the best defensive front line in the game. Too frequently, he gets drawn into a mano-a-mano duel with Rasheed Wallace, a superb post defender. When the Pistons send help, it is incumbent upon O'Neal to find an open teammate.

Of course, those teammates then have to hit their shots. The Pacers' wing players (Reggie Miller, Stephen Jackson, Fred Jones and James Jones) were a combined 9-of-35 (25.7 percent) overall and 2-of-11 from the arc (18.2 percent) in Game 1. Miller, in particular, must get more involved in the offense. He seems to have settled back into his old mode of deferring to O'Neal, and that isn't what the team needs.

It's all about striking a balance. O'Neal and Stephen Jackson combined to attempt 41 of the Pacers' 76 shots in Game 1. When two guys take most of the shots, a team becomes exponentially easier to defend. Detroit won a championship last year, and is a contender to do it again this year, because it adheres to the team concept better than anyone else in the league; rarely do you see one of their players erupt for a huge scoring night. As a result, you never really know where the big shot is coming from, or who's going to take it. It's an example the Pacers, not to mention the rest of the NBA, would do well to follow.

Hmmmm...so is it Rick or Reggie calling the no-shot?

But it is a good point about JO and Jax2 taking the heavy load of the shots. It does ned to be more diverse.