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RoboHicks
04-24-2011, 02:00 AM
Odd Thoughts: Game four
Written by Peck

Link (http://www.pacersdigest.com/wordpress/?p=470)

Never has being down 3 games to 1 felt so good. In fact I donít know if Iíve ever felt more content from a playoff series than I have this one so far. In the 90ís I was always a bundle of nerves and bitter at every missed shot and devastated after every loss, however I had very high expectations for that team. From 2000 till the last time we went to the playoffs frankly I just never really liked most of the players on our team and was never that devastated when we would lose.

However with this team, there is not one player that I dislike and I feel that they are leaving it on the floor each and every night. The Bulls might win this out on Tuesday (although I am by no means giving it to them) but I can assure you that they did not get away from this series thinking that we are pushovers.

For tonightís odd thoughts were going to go in a slightly different direction. Iím probably not even going to talk much about the game because by now everyone has seen the highlights and read most of the re-caps so anything I say will be redundant.

But I am going to use this spot to do something that honestly I wasnít going to do at all, but even when I thought about doing it before I was going to wait till the season was over.

However after today Iíve decided to do this in this post.

But first I want to take you to another thing I saw from the sidelines today. During the 4th quarter Frank Vogel turned to the bench made fists with both hands and yelled ďwe can do thisĒ. Again with Frank sometimes he sayís things that are half motivational speaker & half carnival barker but this time there was something slightly different.

He was smiling like a little kid who just opened a new toy on Christmas morning. Now depending on your point of view this was either creepy like Wednesday Adams smiling at the summer camp when she decides to be perky in Adams family 2 or the other point of view was this was a guy living a dream and showing his faith to his team. The players were looking the other way so I have no idea of their reaction to this, but to me this was just another great motivational tool in his kit.

Coaching is more than just Xís & Oís. There are people skills, motivational skills, preparation skills, adjustment skills, player usage skills; the list goes on and on.

The regular season showed us that Frank was able to get the most out of his teamís offense by changing the style of play to actually fit the team and not try and make the team fit a style of play. Now how much of that was Frank or how much of that was Bird telling Frank what or how to play none of us will ever know. We do know that he really did not change the defense during the regular season & often times it showed.

But the playoffs have been different. Frank has had a team that has no real superstar, no playoff experience, no dominating inside presence going toe to toe with the best team (by record anyway) in the league. He has made massive defensive adjustments so that the leading candidate for MVP has not been able to totally dominate the team or draw an ungodly amount of fouls as he did in game 1.

Iíve read several national sports reporters make the statement that he has outcoached the leading candidate for Coach of the Year in this series & honestly I think anyone would be hard pressed to argue against the fact that at the very least Frank has more than held his own.

At first it was ďanybody but OíBrienĒ, then it became ďwell he is just doing everything the opposite of OíBrien which is what most of us have called for anywayĒ to now it being ďThis guy can actually coachĒ.

Iíve said all of that to say this.

As a fan I will differ to the judgments of Bird, Morway & Simon. If they tell me that they have this great coach on the line and he is going to take us to the next level then I will not bat an eye.

But as of now I am hard pressed to say that there is a single coach out there that I want for this team and this group of players than the one that we have right now.

In other words I think immediately following the season, assuming that we donít have to go through some long drug out process with Bird (which we better not) I want Frank Vogel to have the interim label removed from in front of his coaching title.

Yes on a P.R. front having a young energetic positive coach to match up with Brad Stevens is really a good idea.

But I wouldnít give a flying fig about a P.R. move if I thought for one second he wasnít the man for the job.

Beyond the P.R. front there are other reasons. Remember back to when I said there is more to coaching than Xís & Oís? Well Frank has shown that he has all of these skills and in some cases has some of these skills to spare. Xís & Oís, honestly Iím not sure. I will say this I think he has this team better prepared in this series tham I ever dreamed they would be. Iíve seen them fight harder & play stronger than I have seen them play for anytime in the past 6 years.

Derrick Rose has been off of his game for two straight games now, do you think that is just by accident? Do you think he is just having bad games? If you do then we will just agree to disagree. Myself, I think it is because our coaching staff has devised a plan to stop him and has picked the players to execute the plan and the players are responding.

Like I said if there is someone else at the helm next season I wonít be mad but I will say that right now out of all of the candidates out there that I know of I donít really like any of them more than I do Frank right now & Frankly (pardon the pun) none of them are going to come at the bargain cost that Frank will.

Moving on.

Ok, I have been to Chicago several times in my life and as long as you stay in the well lit well protected areas of downtown it is a great city. The people are usually Midwesterners so there really isnít a great culture shock in dealing with them up there.

Chicago has loyal fans to their sports teams. Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, White sox as well as the Bulls have loyal and proud fans.

Some of them attended the game on Saturday and represented themselves and the Bulls very well.

However, some did not.

First though a pox on any Pacers ticket holder who scalped his ticket to the playoffs. I hold in lower esteem than I do the Bulls fans who bought your tickets. If youíre a scalper and this is your business I understand (donít like it but understand) but if youíre a season ticket holder you should be more than ashamed of yourself. Yes I know the loss on Thursday was disheartening and yes even I went in to todayís game thinking that we would probably go the distance but lose out in the end.

But I went anyway. Several Pacers fans who werenít gutless cowards showed up to the game and supported our team. You know the team that has stood toe to toe with the best team in the association.

Now that I have properly chastised the locals allow me to drone on about the idiot Bulls fans who did show up.

Again, I have nothing but respect for a fan that travels to see his team play. I have nothing against cheering your team on. However nobody & I mean nobody should ever go into another teamís arena and attempt to take over. To taunt, chant and disrupt the home team and their fans. Under no circumstance should they attempt to gang up on people who are just at their own home game. Today I witnessed threats of violence, beyond rude language (which of course Iím not opposed to as any of you who have ever spoken with me will attest) thrown objects and beer thrown on people.

People have asked me several times today if this is the worst Iíve ever seen it. The only thing that might be as bad or worse maybe would have been back in the 80ís when the Celtics came to town because there werenít maybe but 4 thousand Pacer fans and the entire arena filled with Kelly green and they were worse because you knew damn well they were from Indiana. I saw one guy yell at a woman for buying her son a Pacers jersey; remember we were in Indiana at the time.

But this group today was nearly as special. Leaving the game though they didnít seem to be quit as obnoxious, well at leas the ones going out the walk way to the garage. I heard that there were others who werenít quite as docile as they left.

Now the game in brief:

Paging Tyler Hansbrough, Tyler Hansbrough to the white courtesy phone. Your jump shot seems to have been left at the airport terminal in Chicago and will hopefully be returned to you on Tuesday. His play today was less than inspiring. One rebound? Are you kidding me, pathetic.

I hope that Vogel is having Dunleavy shoot free throws as I type this.

Every time I see Paul George on the floor in this series I smile thinking that we got this guy all the way down at the 10th pick. Once he gets to work on his offensive game this off season I think the sky in the limit for him next year.

Dahntay Jones was all over Rose in the 4th quarter. I never understood OíBrienís disdain for this guy and I never understood why people were upset by his contract. This guy deserves to be in the rotation because he is a player.

Danny Granger will never be able to silence his critics because he is never going to be what they want him to be. But for what he is, he is very good at it and since OíBrien has left the building he has become very efficient at what he does as well rarely chucking up bad shots.

Do I want to tell you that we will win game 5? Yes I want to tell you that but the truth be told I have no idea and that in and of itself is a victory in my opinion. There should never have been a doubt about who was going to win what game and by how much. They are the best team to make the playoffs we were the worst, but itís not worked out that way has it.

That is why this team and this coach needs to be embraced by this city.

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ilive4sports
04-24-2011, 02:24 AM
How crazy is it that we went from, "well JOB can't be fired in the middle of the season because we don't have an assistant that can be the head coach" to "Vogel is a great coach and needs to be brought back next year"?

joeyd
04-24-2011, 02:48 AM
Nice job Peck. I should have read your post before making several of mine. You did a better job of saying many of the things I said or meant to say.

ilive4sports
04-24-2011, 02:51 AM
Nice job Peck. I should have read your post before making several of mine. You did a better job of saying many of the things I said or meant to say.

fixed it for you;)

Hoop
04-24-2011, 03:08 AM
I don't know if we can win game 5 or not either, but man, What If. What If makes sports great.


Wouldn't Chicago and their Awful Fans p*ss their pants if they have to come back here for game 6.


:fingerscr

joeyd
04-24-2011, 03:15 AM
I am so stoked! We are into the last week of April and our Pacers are still playing ball! Next year we will be playing into May.

Eleazar
04-24-2011, 03:42 AM
How crazy is it that we went from, "well JOB can't be fired in the middle of the season because we don't have an assistant that can be the head coach" to "Vogel is a great coach and needs to be brought back next year"?

To quote Teddy Roosevelt, "Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones."
and
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ."
and
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. "
and
"Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster. "
and
"If there is not the war, you don't get the great general; if there is not a great occasion, you don't get a great statesman; if Lincoln had lived in a time of peace, no one would have known his name. "
and
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. "

Basically what Teddy is saying is you won't know until you take the risk.

cdash
04-24-2011, 03:51 AM
To add to your Hansbrough comment: Not only is his jump shot still in Chicago, a lot of his game is centered around him drawing a lot of fouls...fouls that aren't being called in the playoffs. He's drawing the same contact but the refs are letting them play and he isn't getting to the line as much. I hate to toot Seth's horn because he does it so well on his own, but this is kind of the Tyler he feared would show up in the NBA: He's not nearly as effective if he isn't drawing huge amounts of fouls.

Trader Joe
04-24-2011, 03:55 AM
To be fair, Cdash, I don't think Tyler has been nearly agrressive enough going to the hope. So I'm not sure we can really say fairly he's not drawing the fouls.

I think game 1, caused him to float too much these past three games trying to dominate in the mid range, which is fine if his jumper is falling and if Roy is playing well it gives Hibbert more space to operate if Tyler is pulling them out.

We just need to wait and see. I don't think anyone can really say Tyler hasn't give us absolutely fantastic tenacity.

That being said, we still need to explore all options this offseason. Only two guys that IMO are absolutely locked in are Granger and Hibbert. Granger because he's been unbelieveable this series if we're relaly being honest, and Hibbert because it's just hard to imagine we'll find a good option that has his size and talent.

Anyway, that's all pointless conjecture at this point.

cdash
04-24-2011, 04:13 AM
To be fair, Cdash, I don't think Tyler has been nearly agrressive enough going to the hope. So I'm not sure we can really say fairly he's not drawing the fouls.

I think game 1, caused him to float too much these past three games trying to dominate in the mid range, which is fine if his jumper is falling and if Roy is playing well it gives Hibbert more space to operate if Tyler is pulling them out.

We just need to wait and see. I don't think anyone can really say Tyler hasn't give us absolutely fantastic tenacity.

That being said, we still need to explore all options this offseason. Only two guys that IMO are absolutely locked in are Granger and Hibbert. Granger because he's been unbelieveable this series if we're relaly being honest, and Hibbert because it's just hard to imagine we'll find a good option that has his size and talent.

Anyway, that's all pointless conjecture at this point.

I feel as if this has flown under the national radar. He really has stepped his game up this series, and against one of the best defensive teams in the league, if not the best. Luol Deng is no joke, he's got good length and defends well. DG has been excellent this series.

ndcoltsnpacers
04-24-2011, 04:16 AM
I am so stoked! We are into the last week of April and our Pacers are still playing ball! Next year we will be playing into May.

What is this "next year" BS?

ilive4sports
04-24-2011, 04:19 AM
I feel as if this has flown under the national radar. He really has stepped his game up this series, and against one of the best defensive teams in the league, if not the best. Luol Deng is no joke, he's got good length and defends well. DG has been excellent this series.

And he has been doing a good job on defense on Deng too. Deng is shooting below 40% I believe.

AesopRockOn
04-24-2011, 04:45 AM
Only two guys that IMO are absolutely locked in are Granger and George.

Fixed that for me. Roy is absolutely not locked in. 8p9s' Alex Yovanovich elaborates (http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.com/2011/04/why-to-feel-good-about-80-percent-of-the-pacers-starters/).

able
04-24-2011, 05:11 AM
If someone states that "O'Brien constantly tried to get the ball into Hibbert's hands" then he has a serious problem, people usually wait for few years before they start to re-write history.
That one is really to fresh.
But we get it, one poster here who has his own site now, doesn't like Hibbert, fine, perhaps he should have waited until the end of the series, who knows.

brichard
04-24-2011, 09:35 AM
I have to tell you, even if we lose the next game I will be pretty satisfied with this series. As a disgruntled Pacer fan for some time, it was nice to see us 1.) Compete and 2.) Play really hard. I actually have a soft spot for the motivational speaking coaches, so I like that aspect of Vogel's game. He hasn't been perfect, but he's done lots of things really well.

There are some lapses in defense where Chicago went 3 times in a row with a dunk, putback, dunk that bother me. And yes Hansborough had an off game, but each time I see him play he has looked much better than I expected this year. Danny Granger played well today, executing that mid-range jumper with great consistency.

Hibbert is troubling to me. He is such a big guy and at times he is our biggest ms-match on the floor. But then there are other times he just seems to have zero instincts around the baskets. I mean he was underneath, all alone, waited for the defense to collapse.. and then threw it wildy back out for a TO. It's like dude... go up like a man. If you get blocked, hurt somebody on the way to the basket and make them re-consider next time they want to play you that close underneath.

I think the most impressive thing is how active we are on defense. Lots of scrappy play to get loose balls and people are definitely chasing Derrick Rose with all they have. Most surprising player so far? I actually think it is Jeff Foster. Not only has he decided to play his usual junkyard dog style defense, he is also hitting offensively. For those of you who don't remember, Jeff used to hit that little jumper with great consistency his first year again. But alas, we never saw it again... until now.

BobbyMac
04-24-2011, 10:10 AM
This post is well thought out and well written. I agree!


Odd Thoughts: Game four
Written by Peck

IndyHoya
04-24-2011, 10:17 AM
Nice work, Peck. I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Good writing, nice analysis, as usual.

Major Cold
04-24-2011, 01:47 PM
Loved it Peck. Would rather read this than Kravitz's crap...even his new crap.

MaHa3000
04-24-2011, 03:00 PM
If you check my posts back during summer league I was the first to mention Vogel as interim. He really impressed me with his comments. He has that positive vibe that cannot be matched.
Coaches can coach the x's & o's all they want but if you can get the best out of your players you're a coach that will succeed. Frank is extremely positive but has proven to be a good coach as well.
I know that there are a handful of more proven canidates out there but for this team I think Frank is the best. Regardless he has a bright future.

Scot Pollard
04-24-2011, 03:03 PM
I can't even be happy about the win.

I'm so pissed with the crowd.

cdash
04-24-2011, 03:45 PM
I can't even be happy about the win.

I'm so pissed with the crowd.

Re-organize your priorities then.

It was bound to happen. They are the one seed, we are the eight seed. The population of Chicago is much, much bigger than Indianapolis. It's an easy drive and it was a weekend game. They are finally title contenders again for the first time since 1998. They have the league's MVP. The signs are everywhere. Yeah, it sucks, but **** it, we won. That's what matters.

Unclebuck
04-24-2011, 05:48 PM
Pacers defense generally has been nothing short of sensational. And I give a lot of credit to the defensive game plan that the coaches have put together and to the players for being able to carry out a somewhat complicated scheme on Rose.

Peck
04-24-2011, 10:49 PM
Pacers defense generally has been nothing short of sensational. And I give a lot of credit to the defensive game plan that the coaches have put together and to the players for being able to carry out a somewhat complicated scheme on Rose.

Let me ask you, since I feel crazy for even thinking this and your answer will either verify my insanity or make me think I'm right.

As of now since game 2 of this series I think this team is playing the best team defense since the 94 team & even then I think team scheme wise this may be better as there are no elite level of defenders on this team (George may be one day but not yet elite).

94 had Derrick Mckey (elite defender), Dale Davis (Elite defender), Haywood Workman (good defender), Reggie Miller (sub par defender but hard worker under Brown), Rik Smits (below average defender for his position at the time), Sam Mitchel (Average defender) Tony Davis (Good defender, above average positional defender), etc.

Collison (average at best defender), Granger (good defender, yes during this series he has been good), Hibbert (Good defender), Tyler (Average at best defender), Dunleavy (we all know about him), Foster (Elite positional defender for his age and position), Josh (average at best defender), D. Jones (above average defender) George (way above average for a rookie defender), Rush (good to above average defender), etc.

Yet to me Vogel is getting this group to make stops. Not stops like the 94 team did but second only to them.

That is why I am completely in his corner now. It's not the offensive changes he made (although I am so gratefull for that I can't even begin to thank someone enought) it is the absolute tough as nails wall of defense he has designed for the Bulls since game 2.

To me this is what you were talking about why the playoffs are so much better than any one and done tourney. You actually get to see teams adjust and prepare and re-adjust.

Anyway am I nuts or is Vogel getting as much out of these guys on defense as what Brown would have?

CableKC
04-24-2011, 11:02 PM
In defense of Hansbrough, we all know that this has been a physical game inside the paint. I recall comments by Webber saying that Hansbrough has often been called upon to defend Boozer in the paint as he's stronger then McBob inside the paint. I'm not giving Hansbrough a pass on his missing offensive game, but his rather physical defense of Boozer can't be overlooked and could also be one of the minor reasons he's not hitting his shots as he's devoting most of his energy on one side of the court.

brichard
04-24-2011, 11:03 PM
Anyway am I nuts or is Vogel getting as much out of these guys on defense as what Brown would have?

Peck, you didn't direct this at me and I haven't seen nearly as many Pacer game as either you or Buck... especially in the last several years. But I will tell you that the number one reason I stop watching any team is effort. I could stomach the IU losses this year b/c I thought they were improving and they were fighting. I hate watching teams lose, I suppose everybody does, but when they just aren't working it... it is sickening.

These guys hustle, at least during the playoff series they have. With the exception of some blown defensive assignments underneath and not blocking out Noah on some posessions, I think we have defended very well. And defense is a state of mind as much as anything else. It is adopting the mentality that I'm not resting on defense, as a matter of fact I am playing <b>harder</b>.

I also like the way Vogel has handled himself in the press. He doesn't have the money Phil Jackson does to get a fine from the league, but he can say "I'm not sure what we are doing wrong. The league says that we need to have hands up and go up and down and that is not a foul. So that is what we are teaching them to do." That is brilliant. You basically are asking the league to either define the fouls or step off and call it as it is in the rules.

I am also going to say this. The Chicago Bulls are the worst number one seed team I have ever seen. They play good scrappy team defense, and Rose is a legitimate strong player. But Rose misses a ton of shots. And Korver is a good 3-pt shooter, but very one-dimensional in his game. They are better than the Pacers for sure, but I'm a little curious how they have attained this record.

Trader Joe
04-24-2011, 11:22 PM
The Bulls got their record by playing harder than everyone else in the regular season.

brichard
04-24-2011, 11:32 PM
The Bulls got their record by playing harder than everyone else in the regular season.

Fair enough... they do play hard.

joeyd
04-25-2011, 12:57 AM
Let me ask you, since I feel crazy for even thinking this and your answer will either verify my insanity or make me think I'm right.

As of now since game 2 of this series I think this team is playing the best team defense since the 94 team & even then I think team scheme wise this may be better as there are no elite level of defenders on this team (George may be one day but not yet elite)....

Anyway am I nuts or is Vogel getting as much out of these guys on defense as what Brown would have?

I enjoyed reading this, even though I was not a Pacers fan in '94 and therefore had really no appreciation of their defensive efforts back then.

What I did want to share is this: I think many have long forgotten, due to their exceptional play these past four games, that this is the first taste of the playoffs for many of the players on our team. This was something that was constantly beaten into our brains before the playoffs started, almost so we could have an excuse for potentially being blown off the court starting in the first quarter of game 1. So to answer your last question, it is hard to say, but I can't imagine many coaches would be able to motivate and extract from their players the type of performance, from the first quarter of game one, that Vogel has. He's really shown evidence of being an excellent tactician. More of a reason for wanting him to stay on.