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drewdawg
11-24-2004, 02:37 PM
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS The injury -and-suspension-depleted Pacers proved again
mind over matter and motivation are key ingredients in winning in the NBA.
On Tuesday in a charged Conseco Fieldhouse, they defeated the Celtics 106-
96. With only eight players eligible to play and in uniform in wake of the
brawl with the Pistons on Nov. 19, the Pacers were able to "circle the
wagons" and play over their heads. They were helped by an energized crowd
Pacers' fans are some of the most loyal and knowledgeable in the entire
league that transferred an "us against the league" mentality to the players.
Another team also has excelled despite being short-handed this season: On
opening night, the Wizards defeated the Grizzlies despite having only eight
players in uniform.

For a player in this situation, being short-handed has a silver lining. If you
make a mistake, chances are you're not going to have to look over at the
bench to see who is getting ready to replace you.
Coach Rick Carlisle rotated just seven players in his main rotation, even
though an eighth player, center John Edwards, played two minutes. Carlisle
was tremendous in terms of game management and play calling.
Rookie swingman James Jones, off guard Fred Jones , and point guard Jamaal
Tinsley played more than 40 minutes each.

The key to the short-handed Pacers' success was precise offensive execution
in the half court. The Pacers used every kind of screen and roll in different
sets imaginable. This enabled them to get Tinsley into the lane to distribute
on penetration, kicking out to shooters such as James and Fred Jones, or
finishing shots in the lane. That helped the Pacers erase a one-time 11-point Celtics' lead and hold off runs in the second half. Austin Croshere had great looks on pick-and-pop action while Scot Pollard and rookie center David Harrison made shots after rolling hard into the lane.

Being very aggressive throughout the course of the game helped Indiana
secure a distinct free throw advantage, making 31 of 34 free throw attempts
(94-percent accuracy). The Celtics had 24 attempts, making 18 (75 percent).
The Pacers won the battle of the paint with this type of play. A 12-rebound
advantage gave them extra possessions or limited the Celtics to one shot
most of the evening.

Defensively, the Pacers kept theCeltics out of the lane and forced them to hit jump shots. Post players were being fronted at all times. They also showed out on screens and did a good job of keeping Gary Payton out of scoring areas.

It also seemed that the Celtics were playing uphill most of the night. It wears on you always having to come from behind. night. It wears on you always having to come from behind. Not knowing how to play defense on the younger players and possibly taking them for granted I'm sure had some effect as well. The Celtics allowed the Pacers' James Jones to make 4 of 6 three-point attempts. They did not run him off the three-point line to attempt two-pointers instead. On the defensive end, when Celtics coach Doc Rivers went with his smaller lineup in the 2nd half, Carlisle countered with James Jones as a four.
With the season-long suspension of Ron Artest and the multiple-game
penalties against Jermaine O'Neal, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson, the remaining eligible Pacers will have to continue to play at a high level.
Croshere, Tinsley, and Fred Jones need to play like All-Stars until injured and suspended players return. But if the Pacers continues to play as hard with effort as they did last night, they will win their share of games regardless of who the opponents are.

Brian James, a former assistant coach with the Pistons, Raptors and Wizards, is a regular contributor toInsider .

3Ball
11-24-2004, 05:00 PM
Wow, Edwards only played 2 minutes? What's up with that?

Hicks
11-24-2004, 05:29 PM
Wow, Edwards only played 2 minutes? What's up with that?
That's how ready he is(n't) to play in the NBA.