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Not a play by play recap, just some thoughts from the game
Tonight was the first night we took the train to the game. Figured it was a good idea because girl doesn't like driving at night and I could avoid driving and have a few beers at the game which I normally wouldn't do. Round trip train tickets were $12. It's $15 to park at the arena. There's not really parking lots around except for at the Arena itself unless you're feeling lucky enough to leave your car in a part of Oakland you're not that familiar with. So far so good.
We got to the Arena early. Over an hour before tip. The two Pacers on the floor shooting were Bender and Artest. Ron looked like all that shooting in the cast paid off because his shot looked pretty normal. I'll try not to make fun of Bender's reputed shooting skills again after watching him drain three after three after three after three. The kid can shoot. Good rotation on the ball, comes off his fingertips nicely.
Tins JO and Al came out and shot around as well for a bit. No autographs signed by Pacers after the early shoot around.
Got some of those great garlic fries and some Gorden Biersch brew, good times. Nice jumbo dog too. Love eating junk like that and a basketball game is the perfect excuse.
The Pacers came out for the official warm up and to my horror it was the Gold. The Gold unis. We're going to lose. I wore a new Pacers shirt that I recieved from a relative for Xmas. There goes that shirt; we're going to lose and I'll never be able to wear it in good faith during a game again. Crap.
Lots of Pacers gear visible in the crowd tonight. Many people filing in really close to tip off or later. It's a work day, traffic, etc. During intros Ron was introduced first. A few cheers, mostly boos. JO got cheers. Not much reaction one way or another for Foster or Tins. I expected Reggie to get booed, he usually does here. To my surprise there was scattered applause for the legend.
Some game observations:
If the Warriors were going to have a chance in hell of winning this it would have to be by feeding Dampier. They started off good there but didn't continue to just pound the ball in there.
Reggie looked really good in the first half.
Ron played great defense on Richardson as expected. I suppose he had an off night otherwise.
Bender. Hmm. I guess I'm almost on the bandwagon now. That dunk he had made the crowd "oooh". It was amazing, he was by the three point line and literally took one step, two steps and was throwing it down. He made two more really nice shots right after that too. Freakish. Maybe he is as good as advertised.
The Pacers just suffocated the Warriors in the 2nd quarter. Lots of running going on. They made it evident that they simply were a much better team (at that point in the game anyway). Simply outclassed the Warriors.
In the third quarter the Pacers got complacent. Just lazy, weren't working for good shots, just throwing it up there. That would be okay I guess if the shots went in. They didn't. W's played really good team ball in the 3rd. Awful third quarter for the P's.
Mike Dunleavy: How ya like me now?
Seriously, this kid can be a player. He didn't get to play much last year so you sort of have to look at this season as his rookie year on the floor. Inconsistent but that should come around the more he plays.
Not real suprised that Musselman went with Dunleavy as a point forward. Surprised that the Pacers didn't make him work to bring the ball up more though.
Robinson and JO were at it all night. I saw three projectiles thrown after the 2nd double technical was called. One almost hit Reggie in the huddle, another landed in the key, and another hit someone sitting courtside on the baseline. These were all thrown from somewhere behind me. Welcome to Oakland.
How about Mickael Pietrus? Guarding the point?!? His stat line will not reflect this but once he get the experience under his belt this kid will be a player. I strongly advocate giving all of Cheaney's minutes to MP at this point because the playoffs are out of the question and it's time to develop the talent that will be around; not Cheaney who likely will be gone after this season. Those of you who saw the game know what I'm talking about. Pietrus was a pest on defense; he was working as hard if not harder than anyone else on the floor. Offensive decision making needs work though. I'm really high on this kid.
Al was great. Just great. Played within the flow of the game and made the Warriors pay.
I'm sure I'll think of some other things later but for now, that's what immediately comes to mind.
We left the Arena and it was warm. Almost spring-like here tonight. As we walked across the pedestrian walkway to the BART station there was a saxophone player playing for change. He started playing something from 'Giant Steps'. The Pacers won, the Warriors didn't roll over and die thanks to that "bust" Dunleavy and some good luck rubbed off my new shirt. It was a beautiful night.
Oh yeah, there were just under 400 people who recieved the buzz cut treatment tonight. Not only were they given tickets to the game, but lower bowl tickets.
We saw Mullin as we were lingering outside before going into the Arena. Were about 15 feet from him but I don't want to bother the guy so what am I gonna go say? Make him press the flesh and gush over his hall of fame career? Nah. He's not very tall in person btw.
AL was very good last night even though he did not shoot well, but he was very active, and your words used to describe Bender, "freakish" is right on. I havbe said for 5 years the guy has unusual talent and a freakish game that is hard to describe.
Great report, Kerosene. Life is good in the Bay area.
I, too, am a Michael Pietrus fan. I think he will eventually be able to put up some points, and he is a young Euro who knows how to defend. Love his size, athleticism, and attitude. Plus, I read he has a Reggie Miller type work ethic.
Glad you are moving closer to joining the Bender bandwagon. Honestly, as a Bender believer from the git go, the Bender bashing of the past year, which almost grew to the status of being politically correct, got real old.
Wear your new game shirt proudly and may it see many more victories.
I rode on a plane with Mullin and his family about 3 weeks after the the 2000 finals loss. They were coming back from vacation and got stuck on my flight because theirs got cancelled so they rode coach. I was lucky enough to be seated next to he and his wife.
Just an outstanding guy. Very nice, polite, his wife was very talkative and nice too(and quite attractive). Their kids and the nanny were seated right in front of us. The kids were unbelieveablely well behaved. Had some great conversation with him and his wife. Just great people. I didn't ask for his autograph because I thought it would be rude of me to do so why he was vactioning with his family, but I did enjoy the conversation.
I was kind of disappointed when he went back to GS and and ended up workingin the front office there but understood the need and reasons behind the pacers not holding on to him. I thought he would have been a nice addition to the pacers staff instead
And you are right, he's not as tall as I thought he would be.