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Thread: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

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    Member naptownmenace's Avatar
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    Default SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this but the Pacers are starting to catch the national media's eye again. This time it's because of their play and not about what has happened in Auburn Hills.

    Not a great article by Kelly Dwyer, the guy seems to be a little critical of Jack but he's right to a certain degree. Anyways it's good to see that someone is noticing that the Pacers are starting to play pretty impressive basketball.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...ers/index.html

    Overconfidence is a funny thing. Teams can pay all the lip service they want to opponents before each game, but in the heat of battle, when the unconscious takes over, it's hard to not lower expectations of an opponent whose record and/or personnel suggest inferiority.

    It is that sort of subliminal letdown that has allowed the Indiana Pacers to go 9-7 in the month of March and keep their playoff hopes alive. Currently two games up on Philadelphia and seeded seventh in the East, Indiana is just a half-game behind the Cavaliers and three in back of Chicago, two teams they'll host at home before the regular season ends.

    The Pacers don't prey on opponents lulled into a false sense of security by an Indiana roster that has lost four of its five starters for long stretches this season -- and will be without the services of Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley for the rest of it; rather, the Pacers take advantage of opponents' eagerness. Teams are so intent upon beating the Pacers by 20, that they forget the little things that help them win by two. So while a Miami Heat club abandons its game plan in anticipation of blitzing the Pacers off the court, coach Rick Carlisle has his squad walking the ball up the floor, playing possession by possession while carefully reading situations and not getting ahead of themselves.

    Though playing out his final season, Reggie Miller again has become the team's leader, partly because he never lacks for confidence, party because he's healthy but mainly because of his status as an all-time Pacers great. His teammates may not be in awe of his abilities (Has anyone ever been in awe of Miller's game?), but they can't help but feed off the derring-do of a man who has missed the playoffs just three times in his Hall of Fame career. Miller still provides his team an edge, allowing them to assume that any close contest heading into the game's final minutes is Indiana's to lose, because Carlisle will draw up an involved series of screens, and Miller will no doubt nail the clutch jumper. That's the fun of playing with a living highlight reel.

    While the Pacers rely on Miller for spiritual guidance, they rely on Stephen Jackson for offensive leadership, largely because he is the only healthy Pacer that can consistently create his own look at the basket. Indiana doesn't take many bad shots, but as a team, Jackson takes enough for the whole lot of them. As such, this season hasn't done much for the team's confidence in Jackson, even without calling into question his 30-game suspension.

    Jackson doesn't have the quickness to play against most shooting guards. Though he's proven to be a consistent scorer (18.6 points a game this season), one has to wonder how he'll adapt to playing alongside fellow lead-foots such as Artest and Tinsley next season.

    But Artest's return is paramount. O'Neal, and even Tinsley in some spots, produces better statistics, but Artest is clearly the Pacers' most important player. Off-court issues aside, Artest's ability to confuse opponents (and his own teammates, apparently) on both sides of the ball allows the Pacers to pull off runs and pull away from other teams. Few players in this league can take over games like Artest, whose instinctive decisions on offense bring to mind the Sugar Ray Richardson or even John Havlicek. Unfortunately, his Mitch "Blood" Green impersonation has him on the shelf until next October.

    With Artest out, Tinsley was asked to act as the straw that stirred the drink, and for a while, he succeeded. Playing the best basketball of his career, Tinsley took on more of a scorer's role while still running Carlisle's slow-down offense. With O'Neal, Jackson and Artest suspended, and various Pacers missing games to injury during December and January, Tinsley kept things together. Leading a cast of misfits and a bench that rarely suited five players, Tinsley managed to piece together a 13-21 record with the Pacers between the brawl and a foot sprain that effectively derailed his season on Jan. 31. Hardly a stellar mark, to be sure, but enough to keep the team in the playoff race.

    Tinsley has played just 40 combined minutes since his sprain, but the Pacers have actually improved since then, even with O'Neal playing in just half of the games. Jackson has undoubtedly helped, but Anthony Johnson has engineered Indiana's 17-11 record in February and March as Tinsley's stand-in. Entering the league in 1997 as an unheralded free agent out of Charleston College, Johnson showed a knack for defense early on, but a screwball jumper and limited athleticism drove him from team to team, included a stop in the NBDL, before receiving a surprising four-year contract from the Pacers last summer.

    Though Tinsley is one of the best defensive point guards in the game, there has been little drop-off with Johnson around, and more possessions to exploit because of Johnson's refusal to turn the ball over. After taking 15 seconds to walk the ball up court, Johnson makes entry passes into the post from inside the arc, which isn't the sort of spacing teams are used to. Because he's a lunge or two inside the 3-point line, Johnson also acts as an extra screener for Miller, who can always use an extra inch or two to squeeze off his shots.

    Even with Miller and Jackson firing away and O'Neal on the shelf, Indiana has proven surprisingly capable in the paint. Minus O'Neal, the Pacers have been outrebounded by less than two caroms a game, a figure that can only improve if Carlisle affords more minutes to Jeff Foster. Dale Davis may be admirably manning the middle (averaging 7.1 points and 9.4 boards), but he could use the help of Foster, one of the league's best offensive rebounders, Foster has the quickness and jumping ability to move around or over opponents. He also has the strength to muscle for position good enough to grab 14.1 boards for every 40 minutes he plays, further proof that the 26.7 minutes he gets a night are too few.

    In becoming a plodding team with a talent for tracking down wayward shots, Indiana promises to be an infuriating playoff opponent. Frustrated by Indiana's pace, impatient opponents are sure to force up bad shots after seemingly waiting an eternity to get the ball. Carlisle is also big on exploiting mismatches, whether it's running Miller through screens away from slower or inexperienced defenders, or posting up whoever has a size mismatch. Because their patience allows them to focus solely on one possession at a time, this piecemeal approach works.

    As it stands, Indiana will take on their buddies in Detroit in the first round. Though the Pacers, Miller especially, haven't exactly kept quiet about the NBA's treatment of the franchise since the brawl at the Palace, they've hardly chafed as much as the defending champs since the incident. As flaky and moody as the Pistons appear, the Pacers could make the matchup a horror show for Detroit.

    And the way this team has been playing recently, nothing should surprise anyone anymore.
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    Larry is not coming back, he didn't have a meeting with Orlando for not reason, yeah he is coming back to the NBA but not to the Pacers, the notion that he is a taking a year off and then come back is absurd.
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    GOOD GOD THAT'S LARRY BIRD'S MUSIC!

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    Member BigDawg44's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    tinsley one of the top defenders in the league????????? wasnt it just this summer that we were saying how he needed to improve his defense?

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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDawg44
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    tinsley one of the top defenders in the league????????? wasnt it just this summer that we were saying how he needed to improve his defense?
    I was not.

  4. #4
    canyoufeelit
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Yeah that's wrong. I think his hands are quick and he reads the passing lanes great but his man to man defense leaves something to be desired.

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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    The rest of that paragraph is discussing offense, I wonder if its a typo.

    And Kelly Dwyer makes me laugh more than any other sports reporter.

    Does anybody else remember his 2000-01 season preview article for the Pacers, when he was at NBATalk.com (prior to when they folded/ became ESPN.Insider)? He staged it as a "Presedential debate" between the incumbent, Reggie, and challenger, Isiah. It might be the funniest 'serious' season preview article I've ever read.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Pretty good, Article I think I get what he means by Jamaals defense.

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    All is full of Orange! Mourning's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    I actually aggree, but not everyone might with this part:

    "But Artest's return is paramount. O'Neal, and even Tinsley in some spots, produces better statistics, but Artest is clearly the Pacers' most important player. Off-court issues aside, Artest's ability to confuse opponents (and his own teammates, apparently) on both sides of the ball allows the Pacers to pull off runs and pull away from other teams. Few players in this league can take over games like Artest, whose instinctive decisions on offense bring to mind the Sugar Ray Richardson or even John Havlicek."

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  8. #8
    Old as Dirt
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Sure is nice to have a over paid bench like AC the Jones boys, Boy thank you DW and Larry I love it, Plus Pollard,

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    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    ^^^^ Need to brush up on your facts there Dirt. The Jones are paid almost nothing. And do you know how many teams would Pay 6 Million for somebody who is willing and able to slow down Shaq.

    Brush up your facts

  10. #10
    ReggieMiller8325
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    I agree with this artical and its a good artical.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Croshere is overpaid. You can argue about some of his other adjectives, but not the "overpaid" part.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    Croshere is overpaid. You can argue about some of his other adjectives, but not the "overpaid" part.
    Well, if you want to get technical, every NBA player is overpaid. What they do isn't nearly as important to the grand scheme of things as most professions.

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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    And I think Dirt was reffering to Pollard not Cro

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil
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    Well, if you want to get technical, every NBA player is overpaid. What they do isn't nearly as important to the grand scheme of things as most professions.
    That's crap. Oft-repeated crap, but crap nonetheless. Value and importance aren't related. You can say "Teachers are more important than basketball players" and that's true. But they're not paid more because there are hundreds of thousands of quality teachers in this world, but less than two hundred that can play quality NBA basketball.

    Value is determined by the free market, not by importance to society.

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    Gold Stagger Hoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Tinsley certainly isn't one of the top defensive point guards in the game, but his D has improved every year and he is not a bad defender. He has a great nose for the ball, as far as getting steals.

    I don't agree with his assessment on SJAX. I think, if anything, the team's confidence in him has only gotten better. He's a streaky shooter, I don't have a problem with that. Sure he takes some bad shots, but he seems to have a knack for hitting them when we really need them. He seems to play well no matter what position we put him at, doesn't complain, plays hard and seems to be a team first guy. I know I feel alot better about giving up Al to get him than I first did. I thought at the time it might be a good trade, but now I know it was.
    "Just look at the flowers ........ BANG"

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoop
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    I don't agree with his assessment on SJAX. I think, if anything, the team's confidence in him has only gotten better. He's a streaky shooter, I don't have a problem with that. Sure he takes some bad shots, but he seems to have a knack for hitting them when we really need them. He seems to play well no matter what position we put him at, doesn't complain, plays hard and seems to be a team first guy. I know I feel alot better about giving up Al to get him than I first did. I thought at the time it might be a good trade, but now I know it was.
    Agreed. Also I don't know where this "too slow to play SG" stuff is coming from. He's played some SG and hasn't had any problems. Besides, he's tall for a SG.

    Dale/JO/Ron/Jax/Tinsley looks really really good to me.
    Hulk/Foster/JJ/FJ/AJ looks like a great bench, too.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    Value is determined by the free market, not by importance to society.
    The "free" market only determines what people are willing to pay for a given thing. It doesn't determine value in any way shape or form.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil
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    The "free" market only determines what people are willing to pay for a given thing.
    This is kinda my point. I guess I'm not sure what it is you're advocating. I sure don't see the relevance to this:

    What they do isn't nearly as important to the grand scheme of things as most professions.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    This is kinda my point. I guess I'm not sure what it is you're advocating. I sure don't see the relevance to this:
    I guess the problem is that you're trying to confuse monetary value with literal value. To put it another way, having 32 gold teeth would be worth a lot of money, but having 32 real ones would be far more valuable. The same applies with anything, whether it be teeth, teachers, or basketball players. If you think that NBA players are worth millions per year that's up to you. But don't try to get me to buy it.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI.com article: Slow and Steady Keeps Pacers in the Race

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil
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    To put it another way, having 32 gold teeth would be worth a lot of money, but having 32 real ones would be far more valuable. The same applies with anything, whether it be teeth, teachers, or basketball players.
    Again, I absolutely agree. But we're talking about how much people get paid, here. If you say that a good teacher is more valuable to society than a good NBA player, I'm certainly not going to disagree. But in the context of who gets paid more money, you've already hit the nail on the jackpot: "the market determines what people are willing to pay for a given thing." And whether that given thing is an NBA player or a schoolteacher, it's the market (not societal values) that determines if they're overpaid.

    Look, I'm in the process of taking a 70% pay cut to do something more worthwhile, so you don't have to convince me that money isn't the most important thing in the world. But I chose that life, and I won't call myself "underpaid" because an NBA player makes more than me.

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