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Will Galen
10-07-2004, 03:56 AM
http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/184393-9098-179.html

Tinsley no longer spare part on Pacers
After 2 trying years on and off court, point guard enters season as starter, team leader.

By Sekou Smith
sekou.smith@indystar.com
October 7, 2004


Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest and Reggie Miller are the first three names on any team's scouting report regarding the Indiana Pacers.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle insists that starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley's name should be added to that list.

"As much as people talk about Jermaine, Ron and Reggie, Jamaal is really one of our key, key guys, mostly because he has the ball so often," Carlisle said. "But also because he has the ability to make plays and make the game easier for a lot of other people. A lot of our decisions go through him."

This time a year ago, Tinsley wasn't even the starter. In fact, he was third behind Kenny Anderson and Anthony Johnson. It was a sobering experience for a player who won the starting job as a rookie and guided the team without interruption his first two seasons in the league.

Tinsley played just four times in the first 30 games, having been idled by a stint on the injured list and an even longer visit to the end of the bench.

He returned to health just after Christmas and played in 37 straight games, including 28 starts. Tinsley started 43 of the Pacers' final 50 games and was instrumental in their run to the Eastern Conference finals.

In fact, were it not for injuries to O'Neal and Tinsley, many Pacers are convinced that the outcome of the conference finals might have been different.

"You can't talk about what might have been," said Tinsley, who averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 assists as a starter last season. "Things went so fast last year that it's hard to get a hold on it all. But we've got pretty much the same guys back. And this year it's about us.

"We have to do whatever it takes to win ballgames. It's really about staying healthy and taking care of our own business more than it is about anything else or anybody else."

The Pacers' success will be inextricably linked to Tinsley.

With last year's early drama behind them, Carlisle said that Tinsley's hold on the starting job is secure. Johnson and Eddie Gill will be his backups.

"Jamaal did a great job the second half of last season," Carlisle said. "He emerged as a true, NBA starting-caliber point guard. And now he's a guy who has a playoff resume under his belt.

"He's also healthy now. He worked extremely hard this summer; you can tell by the way his body looks. He's just got to keep getting better, and he's going to."

Dealing with adversity in each of the past two seasons has helped Tinsley learn and grow.

Tinsley's mother, Letris Smith, died March 24, 2003, after a long bout with cancer. Tinsley missed six games and numerous practices tending to his mother and family affairs. Smith had eight children, but it always was Tinsley who looked after her.

His time away affected team chemistry during a crucial stretch of the season and played a significant role in the 11-19 finish that led to the Pacers' first-round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics. Tinsley said he was "going through things I've never gone through."

"Nobody expects to have to arrange for his mother's funeral," he said, "but I don't want any pity. You have to deal with it."

Then last season he returned from a humbling summer in excellent condition only to find out that Anderson, the projected starter in Atlanta this season, had taken his job.

"I've been dealing with adversity my whole life," said Tinsley, who by his account went to four or five high schools but never graduated and once lived on the streets after running away from home at age 13. "It's made me a better person to get here. It's made me stronger and it's made me look at things different. It's also made me appreciate it a lot more to get to where I am now.

"But I don't just want to get here and be satisfied. I want to make progress in my game. So I know that means I've got to do whatever it takes to stay here, in the good position I'm in right now with this team. I've got to do whatever it takes to stay here."

Call Star reporter Sekou Smith at (317) 444-6053.


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Point taken

Jamaal Tinsley -- and the Pacers -- played better when he started at point guard last season.

Status........MPG...PPG...APG...PPPG...W-L......PCT.
As starter...28.5...9.1....6.2....93.7....34-9.... .790
As reserve..17.5...4.3....4.0....90.8....6-3..... .666

Anthem
10-07-2004, 09:25 AM
Wasn't the win-loss ratio during Tinsley's starts something absolutely crazy?

MagicRat
10-07-2004, 10:24 AM
Wasn't the win-loss ratio during Tinsley's starts something absolutely crazy?

Just off of the top of my head, I think they were 34-9 (.790) when Jamaal started......

Ragnar
10-07-2004, 10:39 AM
The really amzing thing is that includes the games he started injured and had to be taken out early or did not play major minutes late in the season and playoffs.

Manuel
10-07-2004, 01:59 PM
It was refreshing watching Tinsley get his job back half-way through the season. He simply came in and did what he does best.

SoupIsGood
10-07-2004, 11:17 PM
Our success this year hinges a lot on Tinsley and Bender, IMO. If both play good we will be ery tough to beat.

I also like how Tins plays, and I like that he has added the 3pt sho to his game.

TheSauceMaster
10-08-2004, 12:43 AM
I just hope he can stay healthy , should be a intresting year with tinsely this year taking charge , if he's even better this year I might die :devil: