PDA

View Full Version : Reflecting on the 1st Half of the Season and A Look Ahead



7-Layer Burrito
01-21-2004, 03:48 PM
Well, we're 3 games past the half-way point of the season. Seems like a good time to reflect on the first half of the year and what may be in store during the second half of the season.

We're sitting at 33-11, a good 3.5 games up on the Pistons and the East, not to mention we already own the season-series between the two teams. We've won at NJ (twice) and at Detroit. We've lost some tough games on the road against the West's upper-echelon teams, but held our own at home against some of these same teams (SA and Minny).

It's no secret that coaching can do wonders for an NBA team, assuming the players buy-in to the system. That said, the introduction of Rick Carlisle has, so far, proven to be the difference between last year and this year. Granted, we had a similar record at this point in the season last year, but this year just feels different. We have a confident team, no doubt; and that attitude has translated into the expectation of winning every game we play. I think this is partly attributable to the maturation of a young team, and is mostly the cause of an excellent coaching staff. Our "sytem" is outstanding for the team management has put together. Everything starts with defense this year, and it is beautiful.

Individually, we've received contributions from almost every player on the team, and it seems everyone has stepped up their game from a year ago (as should be expected). O'Neal seems to take it to the next level every year. Artest has quickly become my favorite player to watch in the entire league. It seems like he's "figured it out" this year. Not to mention Tinsley, Al, and Foster, who have all made significant contributions so far. Even Reggie seems to be getting his legs back. It's too much to get into detail on each player, but this has truly become a fun team to watch. Again, the coaching staff deserves credit, but so do the players.

I was of the opinion that the loss of Brad Miller would significantly hurt the team. I miss Big Ugly and I'm still a little upset at his departure, but I'm finally ready to move past that. (It still sucks to watch him put up near triple-doubles night after night, though).

Even after a successful first half of the season, there is much work to be done. Actually, we haven't done squat yet, and I don't want this post to seem like some sort of celebration. I hope to see the same attitude and cohesiveness as we saw in the first 44 games in the next 38. I trust Rick to keep them on that path. I think Shade posted that we will need 58 wins to match the club record. That is a legitimate goal for this team right now. That means we would need to go 25-13 the rest of the way to break the record . . . and that is attainable. I'd be happy with 60 and, if we continue to play solid ball against a weaker 2nd half schedule, I think we'll get there.

The playoffs are an entirely different demon. Our style of play is conducive to playoff-type games. Will that translate into playoff-series victories? It better. There's nothing worse than a terrific season being wiped out by a poor showing come post-season. And, no matter how you look at it, success will breed expectations. To me, nothing short of a Finals appearance would be acceptable for this team. That's saying a lot about a team that has failed to get out of the first round in 3 years, but that must be our goal.

:cool:

Ragnar
01-21-2004, 04:01 PM
People keep talking about how last season we started strong and colapsed so the strong start is suspect. Remember that strong start was a carryover from the strong series against the Nets.

This year we started well AFTER colapsing last year. One thing changed Rick Carlisle. He has installed a system that is not smoke and mirrors and the players can see that if they stick with it they are going to go deep into the playoffs.

Last years Pacer team is a lot like this years New Orleans team. Lots of early wins because the offense is new and exciting and they are not expending any real effort on D. Now that teams have adjusted to their offense and their D is routinley being beaten they are falling apart. Too bad for them Rick wont be arround to pick up in the off season :pepper:

Arcadian
01-21-2004, 04:08 PM
I though at the beginnig of the season we'd be around 48 wins. Had anyone said 60 I'd think they were crazy. That said I think we should get 60 wins and if we don't that would be a let down.

A lot of the perdiction talk was tied to what the team needed to do to justify the coaching change. At the time for me to be convienced all that had to be done was past the 1st round. Now I think the move has already proved itself to be the right move. The team is playing much, much stronger has the best record and all of this minus an All-star.

This is a great time to be a Pacer fan.

ROCislandWarrior
01-21-2004, 04:14 PM
all of this minus an All-star

we may have lost one in brad...but we gained one in the new and improved Ron Artest

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

Ragnar
01-21-2004, 04:20 PM
all of this minus an All-star

we may have lost one in brad...but we gained one in the new and improved Ron Artest

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

Ron was an All star until the Miami game. He simply needed direction and discipline. Something IT clearly could not provide.

Arcadian
01-21-2004, 04:27 PM
Ron was a borderline all-star last year partly because we had Brad to split up Pacer votes and partly because it was his break out season on a good team. I don't think his behavior was what cost him a spot. In fact, though I'm not entirely sure, the votes were all ready in when the Miami game happened.

This year Ron is a much stronger All star selection because the above reasons against his selection no longer apply and mostly because his level of play has improved. Which I think Rick has a bigger part of than he takes credit for not only because of disipline but he asks Ron to do more such as play Team D and play within the offense.

Ragnar
01-21-2004, 05:04 PM
Ron is not being voted in by the fans this year either. It is the coaches vote he lost with the Miami incident.

I do believe the coaches would have given us Ron last year and that Brad was the replacement for Ron because of his behavior.

bulletproof
01-21-2004, 05:06 PM
I predicted 56 wins at the beginning of the season. I was going to be bold and predict 58, but I let you all get inside my head. :annoyed:

I did, however, predict a trip to the finals with us beating either SA or LA. Doesn't seem so preposterous now.

Arcadian
01-21-2004, 05:13 PM
Ron is not being voted in by the fans this year either. It is the coaches vote he lost with the Miami incident.

I do believe the coaches would have given us Ron last year and that Brad was the replacement for Ron because of his behavior.

Yes I realize that Ron wasn't being voted in by the fans.

I believe that the coaches cast thier votes the day of the Miami game so that they were in before the Miami incident.

Who knows who the coaches thought was better, Ron or Brad, when they voted in Brad. I just know they voted in Brad.

Ragnar
01-21-2004, 05:19 PM
I remember the announcers saying that the coaches voting was the next day and that outburst had probably just cost him the all star game.

ROCislandWarrior
01-21-2004, 05:22 PM
I did, however, predict a trip to the finals with us beating either SA or LA. Doesn't seem so preposterous now.

I hope you are right...but there is a LONG way to go

ABADays
01-21-2004, 05:23 PM
There is no question in my mind his antics last year cost him an all-star berth. To leave him off this year would absolutely unforgiveable.

Arcadian
01-21-2004, 06:20 PM
Here's what I was thinking of (http://espn.go.com/nba/columns/stein_marc/1500101.html)

"Coaches' votes for All-Star reserves were due at 1 p.m. Monday and Indiana's Artest snagged the seventh and final slot on my pretend coach's ballot. Then the Pacers played the Miami Heat a few hours later and made me wish I could take my pretend vote back."


I know its Stein but I'm not imaging it.

ChicagoJ
01-21-2004, 07:18 PM
I thought the coaches' votes were already submitted before the Miami game last year. :confused:

Ragnar
01-21-2004, 08:49 PM
I guess so. Imagine that an announcer talking out of his @ss

Either that or my memory sucks worse than I think it does.