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Will Galen
10-21-2005, 04:05 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051021/SPORTS04/510210518/1088

IndyStar.com Sports Pacers
October 21, 2005

pacers 93, timberwolves 76
O'Neal's debut a 'C-minus'

By Mike Wells
mike.wells@indystar.co

BILLINGS, Mont. -- A fake to the middle and a turnaround jumper along the baseline. A drop-step left-handed hook. Jab step, one dribble, up-and-under fake to get the defender off his feet.
It didn't take long to realize how much time Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal spent in the gym during the offseason working on the fundamentals of his game.

O'Neal made his preseason debut by scoring 16 points and pulling down five rebounds in 27 minutes in the Pacers' 93-76 preseason victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Billings, Mont., on Thursday.

"I thought Jermaine did really well, considering the fact he hasn't played an actual exhibition game," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's worked extremely hard. It was a good, hard run for him. He played well and got some conditioning out of it."

O'Neal has been out for nearly two weeks with a right thigh contusion. He could have played earlier, but the team was cautious with him to avoid further injury.

The Pacers wanted O'Neal in the lineup before the preseason ended so they wouldn't have to work him back into the lineup at the start of the regular season.

"I feel like I've been 100 percent the past four or five days. My team hasn't let me get out there," O'Neal said. "It's big to get back because you want to be on the same page. I found myself not doing some of the things I normally do on the court because I haven't been out there.

"My game is a C-minus right now. I missed a lot of easy shots I normally make."

O'Neal's return gave the Pacers their first true low-post player of the preseason. Jeff Foster, David Harrison and Scot Pollard are sidelined with injuries. Forward Ron Artest, who is also a low-post threat, missed the game with a sore right foot.

"I don't want to score a lot of points but (I want to) be dominant down (in the post) when I get the opportunity," O'Neal said. "That's being in the right position to stop drives, block some shots and rebound the ball."

The shortage of big men had O'Neal playing center rather than his normal power forward position. He was matched up with Timberwolves center Michael Olowokandi instead of Kevin Garnett for most of the game.

"I told Rick the other day that I'm going to forget the (power forward) plays because I'm playing center so much," O'Neal said jokingly. "It's not much of a huge adjustment for me. I can guard (centers), but the (centers) have a hard time guarding me."

O'Neal is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 24.3 points, but he wasn't happy with his numbers. He avoided competitive basketball and went back to fundamentals during the summer.

Instead of settling for jumpers, O'Neal caught the ball in the post and attacked the basket. He shot just two jumpers and was 6-of-9 from the foul line.

"I didn't shoot a 3, but it's coming," he said. "I'm not going to shoot a lot of 3s. I'm a mid-range shooter. That's what I rest my hat on. It wasn't quite there tonight."

O'Neal resorted to his left hand a lot because his right shoulder, which caused him to miss 22 games last season, still bothered him when he returned to the lineup late last season. Now he's using both hands effectively.
O'Neal, who said his right shoulder is about 97 percent healthy, had two left-handed dunks and attempted several hooks with his left hand.

"I feel very comfortable using my left hand," he said. "I'm getting my cardio back, my timing back, my reads back and catching up with the other guys."

Will Galen
10-21-2005, 04:07 AM
This is the only boxscore I could find. I'm posting it because I figure others will be interested.

Pacers 93, Timberwolves 76

MINNESOTA -- Hassell 1-5 2-2 4, Garnett 4-9 3-3 11, Olowokandi 9-13 0-0 18, Frahm 0-4 0-0 0, Jaric 2-7 0-0 4, McCants 3-7 1-2 7, Griffin 3-8 2-2 9, Tskitishvili 3-6 0-0 6, Carter 1-6 1-3 3, Wright 1-6 3-6 6, Lucas 1-3 1-2 4, Madsen 0-2 0-0 0, Ebi 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 30-78 13-20 76.
Indiana 23 24 20 26 -- 93
Minnesota 18 27 16 15 -- 76

PACERS -- Jackson 3-7 4-4 10, Croshere 4-6 5-5 13, O'Neal 5-13 6-9 16, Tinsley 4-6 2-2 10, Johnson 0-3 2-2 2, Bender 3-4 1-2 4, Granger 1-6 9-12 11, Jasikevicius 4-6 1-1 10, Brown 1-5 2-2 4, Hunter 0-0 2-2 2, Walker 3-5 0-0 6, Gill 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 29-63 34-41 93.

3-Point Goals--Indiana 1-7 (Jackson 0-1, Croshere 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Granger 0-1, Jasikevicius 1-3), Minnesota 3-17 (Hassell 0-1, Frahm 0-4, Jaric 0-2, Griffin 1-2, Tskitishvili 0-1, Wright 1-4, Lucas 1-2). Fouled Out--McCants. Rebounds--Indiana 42 (Granger 11), Minnesota 33 (Garnett 5, Tskitishvili 5). Assists--Indiana 17 (Jasikevicius 5), Minnesota 22 (Jaric 7). Total Fouls--Indiana 22, Minnesota 33. Technicals--Indiana defensive three second, Minnesota defensive three second. A--5,682.
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Benders boxscore isn't added correctly. His line says he should have 7 points, and since the totals only add up to 90 instead of the 93 the Pacers scored, it's obvious he has 7 points.

317Kim
10-21-2005, 06:24 AM
Nice to hear JO's doing ok. Also thanks for posting the box score...I needed that. Still cant believe he said he could shoot 3's :-o .

Kaufman
10-21-2005, 08:28 AM
Bracey Wright, fillin it up!!!

Fool
10-21-2005, 09:23 AM
Did J'O still shoot his average number of turn arounds or did he stay mainly with low post stuff? I couldn't quite tell as Wells talks about him scoring mostly down low (thus not shooting midrangers much) but Jermaine says that he's a midrange shooter who's shot was off tonight (which I took to mean he's still going to shoot his fades just didn't as much tonight, or wasn't as successfull with them tonight, because of the time off).

Bball
10-21-2005, 10:25 AM
Did J'O still shoot his average number of turn arounds or did he stay mainly with low post stuff? I couldn't quite tell as Wells talks about him scoring mostly down low (thus not shooting midrangers much) but Jermaine says that he's a midrange shooter who's shot was off tonight (which I took to mean he's still going to shoot his fades just didn't as much tonight, or wasn't as successfull with them tonight, because of the time off).

5-13 isn't exactly awe inspiring so I can see why he gave himself a C- ... But it is his first game of the preseason.

-Bball

Bball
10-21-2005, 10:29 AM
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Benders boxscore isn't added correctly. His line says he should have 7 points, and since the totals only add up to 90 instead of the 93 the Pacers scored, it's obvious he has 7 points.

No, it is correct... Due to Bender's impending greatness, superiority, and breakout season the league has mandated that Bender's FG's will count one less than that of a mortal player's (IE: 2 point basket = 1, 3 point shot= 2). This is simply to try and keep it fair for the other teams.

-Bball

Hicks
10-21-2005, 11:36 AM
I keep thinking of Peck when I read this:


"I don't want to score a lot of points but (I want to) be dominant down (in the post) when I get the opportunity," O'Neal said. "That's being in the right position to stop drives, block some shots and rebound the ball."

Sounds a lot better than his old talk of how special his ppg was, eh?

Destined4Greatness
10-21-2005, 12:15 PM
Yay I am so happy that JO is back in the post

Bball
10-21-2005, 12:33 PM
I keep thinking of Peck when I read this:



Sounds a lot better than his old talk of how special his ppg was, eh?

I don't know... JO, for the most part, has reminded me of Isiah when it comes to saying the right things but then not following thru.

Look at last season when JO said he was going to comeback but didn't want to disrupt what the Pacers had going offensively... and instead he returned and it was the JO Show all over again (players throw it into JO and then head to the concession stand while he finally clangs a heavily defended shot never to consider passing it back out (or even going strong to the basket))... only JO was injured so he was even less effective.

But saying the right things is a start.

-Bball

wintermute
10-21-2005, 01:03 PM
this:


The shortage of big men had O'Neal playing center rather than his normal power forward position. He was matched up with Timberwolves center Michael Olowokandi instead of Kevin Garnett for most of the game.


and this


Olowokandi 9-13 0-0 18


doesn't bode well. jo's 5 boards isn't awe-inspiring, either. granted though, it's jo's first game in the preseason. and incidentally, it's kandi man's contract year... not that it would have anything to do with his inspired play lately ;)

Roaming Gnome
10-21-2005, 03:46 PM
I don't know... JO, for the most part, has reminded me of Isiah when it comes to saying the right things but then not following thru.

Look at last season when JO said he was going to comeback but didn't want to disrupt what the Pacers had going offensively... and instead he returned and it was the JO Show all over again (players throw it into JO and then head to the concession stand while he finally clangs a heavily defended shot never to consider passing it back out (or even going strong to the basket))... only JO was injured so he was even less effective.

But saying the right things is a start.

-Bball
:nod: 100%

MagicRat
10-21-2005, 03:56 PM
incidentally, it's kandi man's contract year... not that it would have anything to do with his inspired play lately ;)

Somebody should've tazered the Kandi-man early........

Arcadian
10-21-2005, 04:04 PM
As far as the JO show.

It is really hard for a big man to be a ball hog because players have to throw it him. If the players and coach did not believe in JO they would stop getting him the ball.

It might not be the best stratagy but it isn't strickly JO's fault either. It's not like a peremiter player who shoots quickly or brings the ball up and holds it too long.

SoupIsGood
10-21-2005, 05:38 PM
As far as the JO show.

It is really hard for a big man to be a ball hog because players have to throw it him. If the players and coach did not believe in JO they would stop getting him the ball.

It might not be the best stratagy but it isn't strickly JO's fault either. It's not like a peremiter player who shoots quickly or brings the ball up and holds it too long.

Exactly. Besides, I'd rather go with the JO show than the "Watch Jax and Reggie chuck 20 threes" show. :twocents:

Pacers#1Fan
10-22-2005, 10:23 PM
I wonder how Carlisle feels about JO shooting those 3's. Hey, if he makes them, no one can complain.

Destined4Greatness
10-22-2005, 10:50 PM
Exactly. Besides, I'd rather go with the JO show than the "Watch Jax and Reggie chuck 20 threes" show. :twocents:

As I recall when JO got hurt. We were out of the playoffs. When he got back we were tied for 4th. Obviously Jax and Reggie were onto something.