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Hicks
08-20-2004, 10:58 AM
http://www.nba.com/media/pacers/rik_smits_200.jpg

Plenty of R & R
Works for 97-98

By Conrad Brunner | Aug. 20, 2004
The inside-outside combination of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits -- otherwise known as R & R -- proved devastating, leading the 1997-98 team past the top-seeded 2003-04 team in six games for the championship of the NBA bracket in the Pacers Great Teams Tournament.

The '97-98 Pacers will face the winner of the ABA bracket for the tournament championship on Friday, Aug. 27.

A team that in reality won 58 games and very nearly brought an early end to the Michael Jordan dynasty in Chicago -- pushing the Bulls to the closing minutes of Game 7 of the conference finals -- the '97-98 Pacers played outstanding defense against the '03-04 team, allowing just 87.0 points per game. Miller (22.8) was the leading scorer, with Smits (18.3) right behind. Chris Mullin (11.5) was the only other double-figures scorer, but five teammates averaged at least seven points in a well-balanced offensive performance.

For the '03-04 team that in reality set a franchise record with 61 victories and reached the conference finals before losing to eventual NBA Champion Detroit, Jermaine O'Neal averaged 19.3 points, with Ron Artest at 18.3. Al Harrington chipped in 13.5 points while the older version of Miller averaged 10.3. The '03-04 Pacers struggled with depth, as Harrington was the only consistent contributor off the bench.

# Game 1:
# 1997-98 wins, 88-76: Shutting down the '03-04 team, the '97-98 team got just enough offense to open the series with a victory. Miller (23) and Smits (18) combined for nearly half the team's points, with Jalen Rose contributing 12 off the bench. O'Neal (19), Artest (15), Miller (14) and Harrington (12) accounted for almost all of the scoring for the '03-04 team.

Game 2:
# 1997-98 wins, 109-74: Nine players scored at least seven points in a blowout for coach Larry Bird's team, led by Miller (24) and Smits (19). Antonio Davis added 13, while Dale Davis and Travis Best had 10 apiece. O'Neal had 24, Artest 16 and Harrington 11 for '03-04, but the rest of the players combined for just 23 in the lowest-scoring game of the tournament for any of the teams.

Game 3:
# 2003-04 wins, 107-95: Finally finding their offensive rhythm, the '03-04 team got a huge game from Al Harrington, who scored 24 off the bench. O'Neal scored 28 and Artest 18 for the winners. The '97-98 team was led by Miller (16), Smits (15), Mark Jackson (11), Rose and Derrick McKey (10 apiece).

Game 4:
# 1997-98 wins, 110-81: A second blowout victory gave the '97-98 team a 3-1 series lead. Miller scored 23, while Chris Mullin emerged with 20 and Best had 16 off the bench. Smits also had 16 and Jackson 10. O'Neal (19), Artest (14), Miller (12), Harrington (11) and Jamaal Tinsley (10) scored in double figures for '03-04.

Game 5:
# 2003-04 wins, 96-92: With Artest exploding for 27 points and Miller having his high game of the series with 19, the '03-04 team staved off elimination. Miller (23), Smits (20) and Dale Davis (15) were productive for '97-98, but the team lacked its trademark balance.

Game 6:
# 1997-98 wins, 92-88: Miller saved his best for last, scoring 28 in the clincher for '97-98. Smits also had his high game of the series with 22, while Mullin added 13. Artest scored 20, O'Neal 19, Harrington 15 and Tinsley 11 for '03-04.

Monday:
Competition in the ABA bracket begins as the top-seeded 1969-70 team faces the fourth-seeded group from 1974-75.

Shade
08-20-2004, 11:51 AM
Sounds...realistic. I think most of us can agree that the right team won the NBA bracket.

Too bad I don't know much about the ABA teams, which were before my time. Who is generally considered the best ABA Pacers team?

Cactus Jax
08-20-2004, 12:17 PM
Trade Jermaine, he can't win the big series. :devil:

Kegboy
08-20-2004, 01:18 PM
Well, '98 was Rik's All-Star year, so that tracks. Still think Jeff could of done a better job defending him, though.

Speaking of which, yeah, I know Mullin wasn't completely washed up in '98, but is there anyone here who doesn't think that Artest would have completely destroyed him?

I still think the right team won, but it's the little details that bother me.

MSA2CF
08-20-2004, 05:02 PM
Destroyed him? :confused:

I think Chris would get his points somehow, if we're talking about Artest guarding him.

Kegboy
08-20-2004, 05:36 PM
Destroyed him? :confused:

I think Chris would get his points somehow, if we're talking about Artest guarding him.

The '92 Mullin maybe, but not the '98 one. Chris's game was taylor made for Artest's defense.

MagicRat
08-20-2004, 05:49 PM
I just ran through a quick series on Whatifsports. 97-98 team won in 6. Here was my favorite box score:

http://www.whatifsports.com/x.asp?u=/nba/boxscore.asp?gameid=3167537&r=329691

Roy Munson
08-20-2004, 05:53 PM
I imagine I'll be castigated (I hope it's not castrated!) for saying this, but:

Sure, Conrad is bored with nothing to write about this summer, but Cmon...this entire little make-believe tournament is just amateur-hour stuff. This is the kind of thing I'd expect to read in a junior high school paper.

Not very interesting.

Kegboy
08-21-2004, 01:25 AM
I just ran through a quick series on Whatifsports. 97-98 team won in 6. Here was my favorite box score:

http://www.whatifsports.com/x.asp?u=/nba/boxscore.asp?gameid=3167537&r=329691


Ouch. I bet that would be the best game ever in UB's estimation. Ugh.

ChicagoJ
08-21-2004, 01:31 AM
I just ran through a quick series on Whatifsports. 97-98 team won in 6. Here was my favorite box score:

http://www.whatifsports.com/x.asp?u=/nba/boxscore.asp?gameid=3167537&r=329691


Ouch. I bet that would be the best game ever in UB's estimation. Ugh.

:laugh:

I've been visioning Mullie's excellent defense on Ron - but apparently my original response disappeared into cyberspace. Need a D'oh! Smiley.

Peck
08-21-2004, 01:46 AM
Destroyed him? :confused:

I think Chris would get his points somehow, if we're talking about Artest guarding him.

The '92 Mullin maybe, but not the '98 one. Chris's game was taylor made for Artest's defense.


I'm not sure I agree with that. Ron is at his best when his man is moving or dribbling. Chris did neither by this time in his career. He was simply a spot up shooter.

Now don't get me wrong I think Ron would destroy him by beating him to death with physical play, but I just don't see him taking Chris out of his game shot wise.

Kegboy
08-21-2004, 01:52 AM
Destroyed him? :confused:

I think Chris would get his points somehow, if we're talking about Artest guarding him.

The '92 Mullin maybe, but not the '98 one. Chris's game was taylor made for Artest's defense.


I'm not sure I agree with that. Ron is at his best when his man is moving or dribbling. Chris did neither by this time in his career. He was simply a spot up shooter.

Now don't get me wrong I think Ron would destroy him by beating him to death with physical play, but I just don't see him taking Chris out of his game shot wise.




I see your point, but Chris was already pretty fragile by the time he came here. I don't see him lasting long in a 7-game series of Ron beating on him at both ends of the floor.

ChicagoJ
08-21-2004, 01:58 AM
Ron was 0-10, including 0-6 on 3pt FGs. Seems he broke away from the game plan (physical play) again. :devil: :rolleyes: :cool:

Peck
08-21-2004, 03:11 AM
Actually, & trust me this sickens me to say this, the one person that Ron Artest has the hardest time guarding is Jalen Rose.

Don't get me wrong I'd rather have Ron anyday of the week but Jalen just is the exact type of player that Ron has trouble with. He can get his shot up anywhere & the fact that when he wants to he can hit the mid range shot just would drive Ron nuts.

Actually I've seen it happen before. When Ron was with Chicago he went beserk on the bench after being constantly lit up by Jalen.