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Unclebuck
03-25-2004, 08:52 AM
No big deal, but when I read this article I was confused. Sekou Smith is generally very good, and he may have had to write this at the last minute since Mark Montieth's computer was destroyed.

However, to suggest the Pacers after 70 games finally played a game with force and anger is just dead wrong. I can only assume he was misquoted.




http://www.indystar.com/articles/3/132285-5643-036.html



Pacers show Mavs how tough they are
They overcome deficit, absence of O'Neal to win


By Sekou Smith
sekou.smith@indystar.com
March 25, 2004


They waited 71 games to play with the kind of anger and force that their coaches and fans wondered if they possessed.

Seventy-one games to show the kind of resiliency and ability to trade blows with another one of the NBA's heavyweights.

That they did it without their franchise player might come as a surprise to some.

That the Indiana Pacers were able to do it all in their 103-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse is what pleased coach Rick Carlisle.

Playing at times with reserve forward Austin Croshere at center, the Pacers overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to improve to 52-19.

They also overcame themselves (20 turnovers that led to 23 Dallas points), a relentless Dallas team that outscored them (25-24) in the final quarter and a sloppy game that included eight technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and an ejection.

"This was a topsy-turvy game. When you play Dallas, you have to deal with a lot of different things," Carlisle said. "The first half we were sluggish, the second half we were really great. We had to overcome some tough situations out there tonight. Finally in the second half we were able to play with some force and anger."

Six players scored in double figures, including all five starters, as the Pacers won for the third time this season without Jermaine O'Neal in the lineup.

The earliest he will return is Sunday's home game against Miami, the bruised left knee he suffered in Monday's win over Chicago likely to keep him out of Friday's game at Orlando as well.

But as they have all season, the Pacers compensated for the absence of one of their stars with excellent depth.

Croshere turned in perhaps his finest effort of the season, scoring a season-high 16 points. He made 6-of-10 shots from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and added six rebounds while causing fits for Dallas' ever-changing defensive schemes.

"They show zone and go man and just throw a lot of gimmick defenses at you," said Croshere, who scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. "When it's a gimmick defense, there's usually a way to beat it. You have to be decisive and aggressive. You can't be on your heels. You have to make them react to you."

The Pacers attacked the zone repeatedly in the second half, using their guards to feed easy passes into the post, where Croshere and the other frontcourt players converted them into easy baskets.

Croshere looked particularly comfortable banging bodies in the paint, something he hadn't been asked to do very much this season in his limited role.

"I've actually been playing (center) a decent amount this year," he said. "It's interesting; usually when I'm at the five, it forces other teams to go smaller. And that give us an advantage because we can spread the floor a little bit.

"They played a zone a good amount of the game, and a big part of beating a zone is playing behind it on the baseline and swinging the ball around and catching them sleeping."

Of course, the Pacers didn't play with that kind of direct approach until after halftime. It wasn't until Reggie Miller's high-arching 3-pointer from the corner with 23.7 seconds to play that they had secured the win. It was his second dagger in the final three minutes of the game, the first coming with 2:47 to play to give the Pacers a 95-86 lead.

"We didn't want to zone him in the game," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "He got his two 3s in our zone. They had six in double figures that play well and played pretty good team ball."

The Pacers beat the Mavericks for the second time this season, marking the first time since the 1993-94 season that they've swept the season series against the Western Conference team.

"It was a pretty rough game," Nelson said after watching his team pile up a franchise record five technical fouls. "We just have to learn how to buckle down and play a physical game. I can take the loss as long as everyone gives their all."

Ron Artest made sure the Pacers did just that. He had a career-high tying eight steals, while also leading the Pacers' balanced scoring effort with 20 points. He added eight rebounds and five assists and played a strong defensive game against Dirk Nowitzki.

"I think Ron set the tone, especially at the defensive end," said Pacers forward Al Harrington, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds subbing for O'Neal in the starting lineup. "We were pretty disappointed with our effort in the first half. We said at halftime that we had to turn it up and we did."

wintermute
03-25-2004, 09:10 AM
maybe he was just quoting carlisle? :whoknows:

"This was a topsy-turvy game. When you play Dallas, you have to deal with a lot of different things," Carlisle said. "The first half we were sluggish, the second half we were really great. We had to overcome some tough situations out there tonight. Finally in the second half we were able to play with some force and anger."

Hicks
03-25-2004, 10:52 AM
This might be the first time we treated a big West team like any other team: We just fought. I think against the Lakers and to a lesser extent the Kings we start to play tight/scared. We just flat out went for it last night, and I don't think I've seen them really fight or play "mad" THIS much this season. They've played HARD plenty of times, but last night you could tell they just kinda wanted it more, with a bit of an edge to it.

Slick Pinkham
03-25-2004, 11:21 AM
I think the 2 game home-and-home against San Antonio a couple of months ago was the most intense, physical, playoff-style basketball of the year for the Pacers.

Last night's second half was close, but the overly dramatic statement that they showed a "kind of anger and force that they waited 71 games to play" is silly, even Bill Walton-esqe.

Unclebuck
03-25-2004, 11:47 AM
I think the 2 game home-and-home against San Antonio a couple of months ago was the most intense, physical, playoff-style basketball of the year for the Pacers.



Thank you, I was just going to post the same thing. I still think the game at San Antonio has been the best game I have seen this season, that was NBA Finals caliber.

JOneal7
03-25-2004, 11:48 AM
Man harrington was pumped after the game! I went nuts on that reggie shot! he's still got it! :P

Chambizzle
03-25-2004, 02:18 PM
I just had a weird feeling after this game.. like the pacers are becoming stronger as a team.. maybe it's just the magic jerseys :laugh:

Anyways, impressive showing by the pacers in the second half.

I felt like I was watching the playoffs :) I spilled my drink when reggie hit the three :)

Southside_Pacer
03-25-2004, 02:36 PM
I can't think of a single player currently in the NBA that has such a signature shot like Reggie does with the three pointer.

Everytime he's behind the arc and he shoots, you can just see all of the fans in Conseco Fieldhouse with their arms up in the air making the sign for a good three point field goal. Then once it goes in the crowd roars and Reggie gets that little hop in his step.

It's as if you always get a feeling a three pointer from Reggie in clutch situations are always going to go in. Last night he had two daggers and boy were they fun to watch. :dance: :pepper:

Suaveness
03-25-2004, 03:05 PM
I can't think of a single player currently in the NBA that has such a signature shot like Reggie does with the three pointer.

Everytime he's behind the arc and he shoots, you can just see all of the fans in Conseco Fieldhouse with their arms up in the air making the sign for a good three point field goal. Then once it goes in the crowd roars and Reggie gets that little hop in his step.

It's as if you always get a feeling a three pointer from Reggie in clutch situations are always going to go in. Last night he had two daggers and boy were they fun to watch. :dance: :pepper:

And it's not just Conseco, too. You can hear the crowd hold their breath at other arenas. It's fantastic.