Pacers' defensive will could clip Celtics
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Charley Rosen / Special to FOXSports.com
Posted: 15 hours ago
The outcome of this slam-bang series will by decided by sheer toughness. Fortunately for the Pacers, that's the very quality that allowed them to turn a blighted season into a reasonably successful one.
The Pacers aren't a prolific scoring team (their 93 ppg ranks 25th), they don't allow many points either (their yield of 92.2 ppg constitutes the fourth-best defense). Their game plan is to grind it out at both ends of the court.
Indiana's offense is centered around Jermaine O'Neal, who's simply too versatile and too determined to handle for the likes of Antoine Walker, Raef LaFrentz or Mark Blount without considerable help.
Anthony Johnson and Dale Davis have powerful presences, if limited abilities. Fred Jones is a 3-ball specialist. And the two wild cards in Indiana's offensive schemes are Reggie Miller and Stephen Jackson — both of whom are capable of scoring points in bunches.
For the Pacers, every possession is a war.
On the other hand, the Celtics are a much more free-wheeling outfit. Walker, Pierce and Ricky Davis shoot first and never ask questions. Gary Payton has lost a step, a hop, a skip and a jump — but Johnson doesn't have the jets to burn him. LaFrentz and Blount are both softies and just might melt in the spotlight.
This is the Eastern Conference's version of the immovable object meeting the irresistible force. Since playoff basketball usually produces much more physical and down-tempo games than the regular season (see: Let the Real Season Begin), don't be surprised if the Celtics' high-velocity hopes are totaled by the Pacers' big-chested game plan. Charley Rosen, former CBA coach, author of 12 books about hoops, the current one being A pivotal season — How the 1971-72 L.A.
Lakerschanged the NBA, is a frequent contributor to
This is the first time I've seen a national piece mentioning the importance of Dale. Matter of fact this is the first national article I've seen in a long time that actually makes me believe that the author watches the Pacers.