PDA

View Full Version : Kravitz is right, playoffs have started now for the Pacers



Unclebuck
05-11-2004, 09:00 AM
I could not agree more with this.






http://www.indystar.com/articles/4/145435-2824-036.html



Bob Kravitz
Numbers don't add up for Indiana



May 11, 2004


MIAMI -- Ron Artest just stood there, bent over at the waist, looking long and hard at the stat sheet on the seat of his locker. Soon, a crowd of media surrounded him in the corner, a little bit like the Miami Heat trap, but Artest still stood there, his face impassive, looking for more clues.

What did he see?

Ugly numbers. Losing numbers. And, really, troubling numbers, especially on the boards.

The kinds of numbers that have to change by Game 4 Wednesday night, before the Pacers turn a walk-over into a heart-pounding two of three.

"We'll be all right," Artest said quietly, finally turning his attention to reporters. "We'll be fine, I think."

Then he finished dressing, grabbed his belongings, and walked into the sultry Miami night.

The truth is, they should be all right, and there shouldn't be any reason for the Pacers to panic.

If you've watched the other NBA playoff series, you know this wasn't entirely unexpected. This is the way the NBA seems to work. The surest bet in sports might be taking the home team in Game 3, especially when they're down two games to nothing. There's a whole lot to be said for desperation.

One team wanted to win Monday night.

The other team needed to win, or their fairy-tale season was all but finished.

But those numbers.

Troubling numbers.

They tell a story, one the Pacers don't necessarily want to hear.

Indiana still leads this series two games to one. But they are being consistently out-worked so far, especially on the rebounding end. They have more size than Miami, more depth, more everything, but the Heat has played with a lot of heart and a singular passion, and that's what makes them dangerous now.

"Tonight was more effort," Jermaine O'Neal said. "Their guys wanted the game more than we wanted it. We had a lot of breakdowns. Our focus wasn't there. We didn't have a sense of urgency."

So why is this happening?

Here's a pretty good reason.

Until Monday night, they hadn't really played a playoff game.

They stepped over Boston. They beat Miami twice at home despite admittedly substandard performances. It would have been shocking if they hadn't gotten a little bit fat and sloppy.

Well, those days are done.

Let me be the first to welcome the Pacers, though, to the NBA playoffs.

Finally.

How long did it take? Three weeks? Six games? Six victories? Six double-digit victories?

Here they were, halfway to the NBA Finals, and they hadn't even been challenged, much less forced to play a tough game. The best competition had come from one another, during those interminable intrasquad games they played to pass the time between series.

Who knows? Maybe they felt left out.

Now, though, they've got a series. A real-life playoff series. With a worthy opponent.

Suddenly, the Miami Heat are again buying into the firm belief they can't possibly lose at home.

Suddenly, Eddie Jones, the subject of so much media scrutiny during his two-game disappearance, has shown up.

Suddenly, somebody named Malik Allen, a backup big man, is driving the Pacers crazy.

And while all of this is happening, we're discovering that maybe Dwyane Wade deserves a place in the same paragraph with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

It's not just a matter of reestablishing dominance on the boards. (And by the way, if you're getting killed on the boards, wouldn't you like to see a little more of Jeff Foster? Just asking).

It's a matter of getting good games from O'Neal and Artest at the same time.

It's a matter of making free throws, which really shouldn't be that difficult.

And it's a matter of getting more than -- get this -- two shots for Reggie Miller. He may not be the Miller of old, even if he woke up the echoes in Game 2, but two shots is just wrong.

"Obviously, what he did in the last game, they were paying extra attention to him," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Some of that is my fault. When you have a Hall of Fame player, you've got to get him some shots. We have to give Reggie the ball more."

Again, not to panic. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned, plenty of reasons to wonder why the Pacers haven't put together a decent 48 minutes yet against this team.

The NBA playoffs have finally begun.

Time for the Pacers to start playing like it

Suaveness
05-11-2004, 09:03 AM
They had better get their act together, and start playing like a team deserving to go to the NBA finals. Otherwise they won't. They will be swept by NJ or Detroit.

TheSauceMaster
05-11-2004, 09:06 AM
I hate to admit it but I agree with him also :blush:

sweabs
05-11-2004, 09:06 AM
Good article.
We haven't played a good game yet in this series, so maybe this loss will finally wake up the players. Look at how deep, and big our team is compared to the Heat - yet they have outworked us in all 3 games. We were fortunate to even win playing like this in the first 2, but finally in Miami we were not as fortunate...we have to step up because THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS NOW.

indygeezer
05-11-2004, 09:20 AM
I can't get too upset by the loss. One, streaks have to end sometime and I'd rather it did now than at some crucial time v. Detroit or NJ. Second, we've gotten by playing soft for 6 games, I'd hate for them to go thru 2 rounds and THEN suddenly find they have to play hard. At least now they will have to wake up and play hardnosed basketball before coming up against Detroit.

bulletproof
05-11-2004, 09:23 AM
Good article, but I'm sorry, there's such a thing called momentum and the damn league with their pandering to the networks and 11 day layoffs killed ours. It's going to be difficult to get that back.

Indyfan
05-11-2004, 09:45 AM
I had the same feeling going into the game last night. I'm not glad we lost by any means but we finally have been challenged and come up short. All season this team has responded to losses, thats why we only had 2 or 3 2 game losing streaks and no more. This is still a young team and they are learning as they go, most of them haven't ever been to the second round and they have to adjust to the extra intensity.

The layoff really did kill our momentum! We were playing great against Boston, our bench was great too. We were finally putting together complete games and I was thinking no one can stop us if we play like this. After the wait it has been a different story. I also don't want to have another long wait after this series so I am glad it will go at least until Saturday.

I have great confidence in this team to respond and I think we will win the next two, but I am so glad Miami is making us work for it! Detroit or NJ will be very tough and if we aren't ready we'll never beat them. We definitely can beat them, but we have to be playing at a high level to do it. I hope this loss is what we need to get back to playing a complete game!

:gopacers:

ChicagoJ
05-11-2004, 12:44 PM
Good article.
We haven't played a good game yet in this series, so maybe this loss will finally wake up the players. Look at how deep, and big our team is compared to the Heat - yet they have outworked us in all 3 games. We were fortunate to even win playing like this in the first 2, but finally in Miami we were not as fortunate...we have to step up because THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS NOW.

Last weekend, I went to two easy double-digit wins at home, where we essentially cruised to victory because of JO's dominance and some excellent opportunistic play by Artest (both games), Tinsley (both games, game #1 with his shot and game #2 with his floor game) and Reggie (game #2) ...

Yet you think we were fortunate to win.

:confused:

I don't buy into the argument that the Heat are outworking us. Their only hope is to compensate for thier lack of size by swarming defense and aggressive defensive rebounding. And they've been exectuting thier gameplan pretty well. Our gameplan is to work it inside and we did a better job in games #1 and #2 than we did last night, but we were tied at 72 before we turned selfish for a few possessions and then it was over.

Sure it would be easier for us to win if we shot 100%, held them to 0% shooting, allowed no offensive rebounds, committed no turnovers, etc. etc. But the object of the game is to outscore your opponents - nobody really cares about 'who outrebounded who?' once the dust settles - and the Heat's gimmick defense may help them win the rebounding battle but not the war.

Once JO's shot begins to fall, this series is over. Even with his shot apparently still on vacation, we're easily up 2-1 and blew a chance to go up 3-0.

Kravitz made some good points - that was our first playoff game this season even though we're now 6-1 in the playoffs - but I just don't agree with the insinuation that we've been outworked? They just executed their game plan at home a little better than we executed our plan in the fourth quarter on the road. We're good, but we're also young and learning, so there will be occasional bumps along the road.

sweabs
05-11-2004, 01:12 PM
They are outworking us - in terms of rebounding. On paper, and statistically we should be working the Heat on the boards but they are just working their butt's off down low getting every rebound they can. These are guys that aren't getting much rest during the game (due to lack of bench), and haven't had a lot of rest since the playoffs began. This is just my opinion.

Arcadian
05-11-2004, 01:28 PM
I agree with geezer's sentiments. I'm glad that we had a tough game before the conference finals. I am even glad that we lost one before then.

Miami is a good team. They shouldn't be swept. Boston was a bad team, one of the worst ever to make the playoffs. They should have been in the playoffs. It isn't fair to compare our success against the two teams.

On another note I like watching this Miami team. I think they play hard and together. Odom is my favorite non-Pacer and I love his game. Most versitile player and best point forward in the game today.

DisplacedKnick
05-11-2004, 01:48 PM
Kravitz made some good points - that was our first playoff game this season even though we're now 6-1 in the playoffs - but I just don't agree with the insinuation that we've been outworked?

The Pacers have been outrebounded by a substantial margin in each of the first three games. More than anything else, rebounding numbers reflects effort. Especially when it happens three times in a row to a smaller team.

So yeah, I think the evidence that the Heat are giving more effort is pretty strong.

sweabs
05-11-2004, 01:56 PM
Kravitz made some good points - that was our first playoff game this season even though we're now 6-1 in the playoffs - but I just don't agree with the insinuation that we've been outworked?

The Pacers have been outrebounded by a substantial margin in each of the first three games. More than anything else, rebounding numbers reflects effort. Especially when it happens three times in a row to a smaller team.

So yeah, I think the evidence that the Heat are giving more effort is pretty strong.

Thank you.

But now, after this loss, I think our guys will really take a good look at themselves and come out strong in game 4 and giving a strong effort.

DisplacedKnick
05-11-2004, 02:05 PM
Kravitz made some good points - that was our first playoff game this season even though we're now 6-1 in the playoffs - but I just don't agree with the insinuation that we've been outworked?

The Pacers have been outrebounded by a substantial margin in each of the first three games. More than anything else, rebounding numbers reflects effort. Especially when it happens three times in a row to a smaller team.

So yeah, I think the evidence that the Heat are giving more effort is pretty strong.

Thank you.

But now, after this loss, I think our guys will really take a good look at themselves and come out strong in game 4 and giving a strong effort.

Same here. I thought all along that Indy would lose game 3. It's another level of competition.

Boston and the Heat on the road suck. But the Heat at home are a very, very solid team. Time to answer.

If the Pacers play their game - make it a grinding affair, get more physical on the inside, make the guards pay when they drive the lane, etc., this should be their series.

The Heat'll make you work though - I have a LOT of respect for Miami.

ChicagoJ
05-11-2004, 03:41 PM
I don't agree with the cause-and-effect here.

In the case of Miami v. Indiana, Miami's rebounding advantage can the effect of out-hustling a team. Or it can be the effect of a gameplan, player positioning, etc.

I don't believe we're getting outhustled. I tend to cringe when people say professional athletes aren't hustling - like you really know? We're not talking about Shawn Kemp's Portland days here where the player is just patently lazy.

I believe Miami's gameplan - because they are undersized, involves crashing the boards more than the Pacers' gameplan. Miami can only keep it interesting if they dominate the boards and everything else falls into place. We can still easily beat this team even if we're outrebounded by a large margin.

Remember, on the offensive end of the court, our guards never crash to the basket to rebound because Rick wants them in position to stop any potential fast break. But Miami isn't really leaking anybody out, they're sending five guys to the defensive glass against our three. Thus, they've got an advantage without even considering "hustle".

Now we've also missed some assignments. On the FT that Odom missed and rebounded himself, AJ didn't block him out (Reggie was leaking out because we were desparate for points and AJ chose to try to double team against, I believe, Malik Allen). That also wasn't a lack of hustle - somebody wanted that particular rebound bad enough to really bloody up Brian Grant's face.

fwpacerfan
05-11-2004, 04:35 PM
I don't agree with the cause-and-effect here.

In the case of Miami v. Indiana, Miami's rebounding advantage can the effect of out-hustling a team. Or it can be the effect of a gameplan, player positioning, etc.

I don't believe we're getting outhustled. I tend to cringe when people say professional athletes aren't hustling - like you really know? We're not talking about Shawn Kemp's Portland days here where the player is just patently lazy.

I believe Miami's gameplan - because they are undersized, involves crashing the boards more than the Pacers' gameplan. Miami can only keep it interesting if they dominate the boards and everything else falls into place. We can still easily beat this team even if we're outrebounded by a large margin.

Remember, on the offensive end of the court, our guards never crash to the basket to rebound because Rick wants them in position to stop any potential fast break. But Miami isn't really leaking anybody out, they're sending five guys to the defensive glass against our three. Thus, they've got an advantage without even considering "hustle".

Now we've also missed some assignments. On the FT that Odom missed and rebounded himself, AJ didn't block him out (Reggie was leaking out because we were desparate for points and AJ chose to try to double team against, I believe, Malik Allen). That also wasn't a lack of hustle - somebody wanted that particular rebound bad enough to really bloody up Brian Grant's face.

I said in another thread that I'm glad this happened when it did. This team needed a tough game before the conference finals. I think this team hasn't necessarily lost momentum. They need to play hard the next 2 games and close out this series and they will have won 8 of 9 in the playoffs - that is momentum in my book.

On your effort point Jay, I agree with your gameplan points overall. I think that the Pacers gameplan to counter the Miami quickness is causing the players to be in poor rebounding position. There were several times last night that I didn't see a single Pacer battling for a board, but there were 3 or 4 Heat players there.

I do, however, think that the Pacers were very apathetic last night and they did not put forth much effort. They seemed to have the 'Laker' mentality and felt they could turn it on whenever they felt like and they would win. Well, it didn't happen and they better not come out complacent tomorrow or this could be another choke job by this group of players. The one thing an overmatched team needs is a glimmer of hope and the Pacers gave the Heat that last night and if the Pacers don't come to play tomorrow who knows what will happen.

Ragnar
05-11-2004, 04:56 PM
I agree about the rebounding Jay. Remember when we were talking about Ricks style of coaching when he was first named the coach. I think it was UB that pointed out that because of the importance that Rick puts on getting back in transition that his teams (like Larry Browns teams) can get out rebounded but still win the games. We knew that getting back was a priority over the boards. We also know that all Pat Riley teams have a priority on rebounds. Putting the two together the Heat should out rebound us.

indygeezer
05-11-2004, 05:33 PM
[quote] They seemed to have the 'Laker' mentality and felt they could turn it on whenever they felt like and they would win. Well, it didn't happen and they better not come out complacent tomorrow or this could be another choke job by this group of players. The one thing an overmatched team needs is a glimmer of hope and the Pacers gave the Heat that last night and if the Pacers don't come to play tomorrow who knows what will happen.

Too true. This hasn't been just the playoffs tho. THe last couple of months of the season we played that way, waiting until the last quater to really play...just staying close enough. Or if we were behind at the half putting on a 3rd Q spurt and taking the lead then really turning it on in the 4th. I hope that tendancy doesn't let us down at the wrong time.

Unclebuck
05-11-2004, 05:38 PM
I am not that worried about the rebounding. Yes I would like it to be better, but on a list of maybe 8 things I am worried about rebounding would be 6th or 7th.

Suaveness
05-11-2004, 06:37 PM
I am not that worried about the rebounding. Yes I would like it to be better, but on a list of maybe 8 things I am worried about rebounding would be 6th or 7th.

UB...what are 1-5 of things that you are worried about. I am curious because I think many probably have the same worries.