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View Full Version : Conrad: Why Do Pacers Struggle To Win Close Games?



Raskolnikov
03-13-2006, 01:06 PM
Monday, March 13, 2006 <HR> </B>
<TABLE borderColor=#003366 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=90 align=left bgColor=#ffcc00 border=2><TBODY><TR><TD align=left>http://www.nba.com/media/pacers/conrad_brunner.jpg QUESTION
OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
Q. Looking at the Pacers scores this season, it seems that in most of the games that were decided by five points or less, the Pacers lost. Come playoff time, a team needs every bit of clutch ability to win close games. Of course, the fact that Reggie is no longer in the team has its own effect. Do you think the Pacers suffer from an inability to win close games? How can the team improve this? Does it mean team is not mature to win a title yet? (From Marc in Tel Aviv, Israel)

A. Though the Pacers have a respectable 4-5 record in games decided by three points or less, when the margin expands to five the record takes a nosedive. They're 6-16 in games decided by five points or less, with losses in 13 of their last 16. Five of the last six games -- all on the road -- have been decided by a total of 12 points. The Pacers lost three of those (at Toronto, Houston and Boston) but won two (at Philadelphia and the Hornets). Of course, three of those games probably shouldn't have been nail-biters, as the Pacers blew double-digit second-half leads in all three of the aforementioned losses.

It does seem as if the team is still searching for their most reliable go-to options in clutch situations. For much of the season, Fred Jones was called upon because of his ability to get to the rim and either create a shot or draw a foul. With Jones out, the options have become Peja Stojakovic, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson, with decidedly mixed results. Stojakovic has hit some big shots but, when faced with an isolation situation against Chris Bosh late in Toronto, was unable to make anything happen and lost possession. Jackson has struggled with his shot in those situations and Johnson came up empty the last two times the ball was put in his hands with a game on the line.
In a one-shot situation, teams generally devolve into one-on-one isolation plays, which is not the Pacers' strength. They are at their best when executing a flowing offense that involves a lot of passing, screening and cutting. So perhaps the answer is not to spend too much time looking for a go-to savior to bail the team out in those scenarios. Maybe the solution is to simply trust the system, continue to run the offense and get a good shot from team play, rather than relying strictly on an individual.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question.html

Raskolnikov
03-13-2006, 01:09 PM
I know there already has been much talk on the subject and it seems silly to start another thread about it, but just for this piece below I think it deserves it's own thread:



In a one-shot situation, teams generally devolve into one-on-one isolation plays, which is not the Pacers' strength. They are at their best when executing a flowing offense that involves a lot of passing, screening and cutting. So perhaps the answer is not to spend too much time looking for a go-to savior to bail the team out in those scenarios. Maybe the solution is to simply trust the system, continue to run the offense and get a good shot from team play, rather than relying strictly on an individual.
That's exactly how I feel.

I hope Rick reads QOD.

PacerMan
03-13-2006, 01:11 PM
In a one-shot situation, teams generally devolve into one-on-one isolation plays, which is not the Pacers' strength. They are at their best when executing a flowing offense that involves a lot of passing, screening and cutting. So perhaps the answer is not to spend too much time looking for a go-to savior to bail the team out in those scenarios. Maybe the solution is to simply trust the system, continue to run the offense and get a good shot from team play, rather than relying strictly on an individual.
[/QUOTE]


Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Raskolnikov
03-13-2006, 01:13 PM
Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Well yeah, one would think that, but apparently it's not that evident.

Lithfan
03-13-2006, 01:16 PM
I know there already has been much talk on the subject and it seems silly to start another thread about it, but just for this piece below I think it deserves it's own thread:


That's exactly how I feel.

I hope Rick reads QOD.

That's exactly how I feel too.

Any sane should IMO.

D-BONE
03-13-2006, 01:24 PM
Well, I don't disagree with this. It does merit mentioning that there comes a minmum time limit within which some type of set, set-play, or offense takes too long to develop. The very strict parameters of say 5-8 seconds remaining or less. Max you could get in here would be, maybe, one pass beyond an inbounds at the upper limits. I believe UB has mentioned this regarding some late game situations recently.

Peck
03-13-2006, 01:29 PM
Monday, March 13, 2006 <HR> </B>
<TABLE borderColor=#003366 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=90 align=left bgColor=#ffcc00 border=2><TBODY><TR><TD align=left>http://www.nba.com/media/pacers/conrad_brunner.jpg QUESTION
OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
Q. Looking at the Pacers scores this season, it seems that in most of the games that were decided by five points or less, the Pacers lost. Come playoff time, a team needs every bit of clutch ability to win close games. Of course, the fact that Reggie is no longer in the team has its own effect. Do you think the Pacers suffer from an inability to win close games? How can the team improve this? Does it mean team is not mature to win a title yet? (From Marc in Tel Aviv, Israel)

A. Though the Pacers have a respectable 4-5 record in games decided by three points or less, when the margin expands to five the record takes a nosedive. They're 6-16 in games decided by five points or less, with losses in 13 of their last 16. Five of the last six games -- all on the road -- have been decided by a total of 12 points. The Pacers lost three of those (at Toronto, Houston and Boston) but won two (at Philadelphia and the Hornets). Of course, three of those games probably shouldn't have been nail-biters, as the Pacers blew double-digit second-half leads in all three of the aforementioned losses.

It does seem as if the team is still searching for their most reliable go-to options in clutch situations. For much of the season, Fred Jones was called upon because of his ability to get to the rim and either create a shot or draw a foul. With Jones out, the options have become Peja Stojakovic, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson, with decidedly mixed results. Stojakovic has hit some big shots but, when faced with an isolation situation against Chris Bosh late in Toronto, was unable to make anything happen and lost possession. Jackson has struggled with his shot in those situations and Johnson came up empty the last two times the ball was put in his hands with a game on the line.
In a one-shot situation, teams generally devolve into one-on-one isolation plays, which is not the Pacers' strength. They are at their best when executing a flowing offense that involves a lot of passing, screening and cutting. So perhaps the answer is not to spend too much time looking for a go-to savior to bail the team out in those scenarios. Maybe the solution is to simply trust the system, continue to run the offense and get a good shot from team play, rather than relying strictly on an individual.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question.html




Hmmmmmmm...............

Well first off it's nice to be somewhat vindicated in this as U.B. has been telling us that we haven't run this play that often lately even though I feel as though it has been more & more every game.

Second it feels even better to have the Pacers P.R. staff even agree with us on this. Well agree with us would be some of us minus U.B.

Third & this is probably the most important. What he is describing as being not our strong suite is exactly what is Rick Carlisle's strong suite. When push comes to shove he will resort to this offense.

I now really really wonder if there isn't more of a rift between Rick & Larry than what we know. My gut feeling is that if Conrad knew that the half-court isolation play was what Larry wanted as well as what Rick wanted there would be no way he would make this statement. But my guess is he feels comfortable in the fact that Larry wants a more open offense & thus is able to disagree with the head coach's decision making.

Remember, when you read anything by Conrad Brunner it is a P.R. piece. Now he may put his own flavor on things but at the end of the day he is an employee of the Pacers & he will not bring controversy to the forfront without knowing he is safe in doing so.

This makes me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................

DeS
03-13-2006, 01:30 PM
Well, I don't disagree with this. It does merit mentioning that there comes a minmum time limit within which some type of set, set-play, or offense takes too long to develop. The very strict parameters of say 5-8 seconds remaining or less. Max you could get in here would be, maybe, one pass beyond an inbounds at the upper limits. I believe UB has mentioned this regarding some late game situations recently.
The game before AJ started offense with 24-25s. remaining, which he ended iso with 6-9s. left (don't remember exactly).

D-BONE
03-13-2006, 01:38 PM
The game before AJ started offense with 24-25s. remaining, which he ended iso with 6-9s. left (don't remember exactly).

I had in mind the Philly and Boston games for example. There have definitely also been situations like the one you point out where what Conrad is suggesting could work. Whenever possible I favor the idea that we get most scoring opportunities, final possession or otherwise, through the natural progression of a ball movement and player movement-oriented offensive scheme.

Raskolnikov
03-13-2006, 01:42 PM
Whenever possible I favor the idea that we get most scoring opportunities, final possession or otherwise, through the natural progression of a ball movement and player movement-oriented offensive scheme.
yup, well said.

That's how basketball offense should be played IMO.

Bball
03-13-2006, 02:09 PM
Here's how I see it... Run some motion. The same motion we should be running the majority of the game. Try and catch a defender behind a screen or get the ball to a guy cutting to the basket. It can be a set play and you can hold the ball to kill clock before you run it if you absolutely must.

This crap of giving the ball to one guy and "letting him go to work" gets us a shot we can get anytime. You can get a heavily defended prayer anytime you want in a game. It's so freaking predictable it makes me sick when we continually do it at the end of quarters and it's only worse when it's a game winning/tying situation that we are blowing.

Of course teams defend it well- they know what's coming by simply seeing who gets the ball on the inbounds.

As for a difference of opinion between management and coaching... I don't think they are about to come to blows but I think there is a growing divide between where TPTB want the team heading and where Rick Carlisle feels comfortable taking them. I think there's too much respect for 'orders' to come down from above but I don't think there's too much loyalty for the "3 year rule" to be put into play.

I'm hesitant to say two years of Carlisle's time we were wasted because the last half of the season last year was fun to watch (just not for the reasons we'd envisioned at the start of the season). ...And the book is still being written on this season. OTOH.... the mold has still been cast.


-Bball

Diesel_81
03-14-2006, 12:34 AM
I think the easier way to answer this question is we don't have a closer on this team.First off other then Tinsley and Fred Jones (in some instances) we don't have anybody who can break you down off the dribble. Also not having Reggie around hurts because he's taken 80% of the big shots over the past 18 seasons. We just don't have a guy with under 6minutes left in the game who can carry us and close the game out.

rabid
03-14-2006, 12:52 AM
I honestly think Peja can be that guy, if we set the right plays for him. He can create his own shot, and he can get even better shots off of screens.

D-BONE
03-14-2006, 08:12 AM
I honestly think Peja can be that guy, if we set the right plays for him. He can create his own shot, and he can get even better shots off of screens.

I'm rather ambivalent on Peja as the late-game go to guy. He's not convinced me of this, although maybe he needs more opportunities to prove what he's got.

On one hand, there's no denying he's the best shooter on our team and one of the best in the league. So the plays where he works open off screens have some legitimacy.

On the othe hand, the amped up D of the late-game situation I think affects his performance a lot. For instance, I don't know how well he can free himself even with a series of screens, when the D turns up the pressure. Likewise, I think his ability to drive the ball/create his own shots is much more noticeable early in games for the same reason.

Plus, I just don't know how much he WANTS to always be option #1 down the stretch. The reputation for the mental toughness many SAC fans harped on. This is probably the most important variable in the success equation in pressure circumstances.

Only time, and his performance, will tell I suppose.

BillS
03-14-2006, 09:04 AM
Running a motion offense and passing the ball around in a situation where you want to use up clock unfortunately makes me think "turnover" with this team.

Yeah, doing an iso and missing the last shot has the same effect, but at least you don't let the other guys turn it into a 2-posession game with scant seconds left, leading to a foul-fest that seems only to work against the Pacers.

Bball
03-17-2006, 05:58 AM
Running a motion offense and passing the ball around in a situation where you want to use up clock unfortunately makes me think "turnover" with this team.

Yeah, doing an iso and missing the last shot has the same effect, but at least you don't let the other guys turn it into a 2-posession game with scant seconds left, leading to a foul-fest that seems only to work against the Pacers.

I'd rather take my chances with the turnover and a motion offense with some type of play setup off a screen than to see another Pacer ISO/held ball/forced shot.

If we have a player(s) that can't seem to find the handle on the ball in the clutch then we have some prospects for dropping down in the rotation and certainly not being on the floor in the clutch. ...and on the trading block come summer.

-Bball