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I used to post under this handle but I guess it went defunct. Anyhow, I still read these boards often, and have always appreciated the recaps that people have given finding them much more insightful than anywhere else. As the game was not televised, and I know fans are interested, here's my contribution to the message board for this year.
You know youíre in Oakland when bottles fly from the upper deck while Jermaine Oneal and Eric Dampier keep jarring at one another and half the crowd cheers when one bounces and hits Reggie Miller in the leg. Fitting since Reggie Miller had one of those rare 20 plus point performances drawing fouls and hitting timely threes with such gusto that the crowd shuddered any time he was left open. Fitting also since the double ejection came while the Warriors were clawing back into the game but didnít quite have enough to pull it out after trimming a twenty-five point third quarter leave courtesy of guess-who down to six.
Coming to my only Warriors game of the year, and coming to see the Pacers having come of age in Indiana in the Reggie Miller era, I was glad to be there for the warm-ups to watch Ron Artest tossing up bricks before not surprisingly dropping his first shot of the game. I love watching Artest and Miller because they are truly both special players, and neither disappointed. Artest disappeared during spells, though was not missed for reasons that will be alluded to in a moment, and then came big in the fourth drawing an absurd amount of consecutive fouls by simply playing offense as aggressive as his defense, chasing down the missed rebounds of his own free throws, and aggravating the crowd to extremes who wanted badly to see the lead cut under four. Once Miller hits two threes in a row, the whole complex of the game changes, and I find myself asking why Reggie Miller isnít the one taking the bulk of the shots instead of watching Jermaine Oneal and Al Harrington pretend that theyíre Michael Jordan going one on one. Havenít teams learned from getting thumped by the Kings? Or from the U.S. multiplicative defeat in the latest international tournament? Every team in the NBA plays better when they play team basketball, especially the Pacers. Let me repeat that. Especially the Pacers because they are deep.
Make room, make room. Every year I wanted him gone. This year I said fine, let Harrington go instead. I want players who can play and donít like waiting around for future projects. I was enthralled watching Jonathon Bender play tonight. This guy has more potential, utilized potential, that is potential that actually led to some smooth stroking jumpers, a mind boggling dunk in traffic, an underhand layup after a pretty drive, and even some misses that drew roars like an in and out, in and out from the postósince when does JB play the post?!óand another stellar dunk attempt that was met with a better block. Driving? Posting? Dunking? Taking and making shots? The Pacers were going to Bender during critical parts of the fourth quarter. I was irate when he was taken out for Harrington in both halves because he was the center of attention when he was in. The guy was actually going head down pivoting in the middle of the lane and then skying over people. I am not easily impressed. Move Harrington aside. Bender needs big minutes and he needs them soon.
The whole jarring between Oneal and Dampier seemed to stem from one play under the hoop that I didnít witness since the ball never came to them. Both were given technicals. Both kept talking smack on the following possession and were ejected, and forcibly held back by the more mature players like Artest. Thatís when we all remember how old Jermaine Oneal actually is and how much growing up he has to do. There is no excuse for the leading scorer, leading rebounder, leading shot blocker, some would argue best big man in the East, getting taken out of a close game because he canít keep his mouth shut. The game was physical. Very physical. Jermaine plays with heart. And if he gets no more ejections this year, lesson learned.
Other random thoughts. Why even bother with Pollard? Yes heís good to have as a rebounding banger, but the bench needs sparks, and Croshere often provides them. In addition, Anthony Johnson has his moments, but Kenny Anderson has had much more. Johnson works hard on defense and hits the open shot, but when Tinsley ran the break, Reggie got off his threes and there were easy buckets in transition which I think Anderson would also provide. Let Johnson come in when needed and bring the man who was starting early on back into the rotation. Oh yeah, there was another team. Dunleavy is better than I thought, can actually run point. Dampier gave the Pacers problems. Avery Johnson has sat for far too long. Richardson had as many oohs and aahs as Bender, but didnít come through when it counted with the best defender in the league staring right back at him and who only fouled out because he refused to allow any layups. Mike Brown looks smooth moving on the sidelines. And with Bender at small forward the Pacers are huge and very difficult to get an easy shot off against.
How far will they go? The bench is the bench. Oneal is Oneal. Artest is Artest. Reggie Miller and Jonathon Bender could each score 30 points or 0 points on any given night. Tonight they stepped up and the Pacers won.
You hadn't posted in a while, if I knew you were going we should've met up.
EDIT - And I believe your handle going defunct happened when the board went down and had to move to a new host. Everyone had to re-register. You should post more often now that you're back in the fold.
Nice summary. Welcome back - I always like to read the accounts of people that went to the game...
The whole jarring between Oneal and [sic] Uncle Cliffy seemed to stem from one play under the hoop that I didnít witness since the ball never came to them.
But the great thing about going to the game is that you're not forced to just watch the ball.
I love spending a two or three minute period where I just track one player or matchup all over the court, regardless of whether they've got the ball or not. I especially enjoy watching two good post players battle for position or watching a player use the baseline for screens to get open on the wing.
All I could see from the replays was that JO threw an elbow - but that appeared to be a continuation of activity that happened off-camera. Then again, it was Joey Crawford, so as Reggie can attest to, it doesn't take much extra activity to get tossed when Joey is in the house...
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