I've watched the Pacers for a lot of years have seen them in all types of series but I've never quite seen anything like this. The happiest man alive right now has to be Paul Pierce, he makes a boneheaded play and gives the Pacers a golden opportunity to win the game in regulation, and yet the Celtics are still alive.
I don't fault the Pacers effort tonight, and you have to give the Celts a lot of credit, they were able to get a hot hand from different players throughout the game. Davis early in the game, when the Celts were struggling, Pierce in the middle of the game and then Walker late. Al Jefferson is going to be some kind of player in a few seasons.
Pacers crowd deserves some credit, I've never heard it so loud as it was when Perkins took that second free which I knew he was going to miss. That is a tough situation to be in.
Pacers have several weaknesses but they have one glaring one that is staring everyone in the face. I will delve into this more after the season is over, but I want to mention it now because it had a huge effect on the game tonight.
The Pacers coaching staff is so desperate for a scoring forward that they have resorted to playing JJ at the power forward. Cro is either too injured or is simply struggling too much right now, so he can't play. Dale, Jeff and Scot don't prove what the Pacers need. Celtics often had two or three guys around J.O befoire he got the ball
So the Pacers put JJ at the power forward which helps on the offtensive end, but it killed the Pacers on the defensive end. Walker got going because JJ was in there, and the interior defense suuffered, the lane was wide open, and the Celts started gettting offensive rebounds by the bushel full. So then the Pacers had to bring Dale back and even Jeff for a few minutes. When what they really needed was a guy to play alongside J.O who could provide some scoring or at least the threat of scoring, but not give it up on the defnesive end.
Yes I do see the pink elephant in the room and yes I do see Peck banging his head against the rubber walls. But that player is gone, and he gets injured every year and I don't like his defense, so lets move on.
Pacers just need someone who can come off the bench as a scoring forward (Cro is so badly needed it is not funny, but he is not capable of doing it) when other teams distort their defense in such a way that J.O is shut down.
Artest will help this situation some in an indirect way, but they still need another scoring power forward who can complement J.O on offense. Donyell Marshall would be a great pickup. He does not have to be a great player or someone who will demand 25 minutes agame, but just someone who could play 15-20 minutes a night. A veteran player
It is really too bad that Croshere could not be that player, but his shooting is really not a threat anymore.
I know I droned on longer than I wanted to here, and I know the season is not over, and I should have really aaved this for after the season, but tomnight was such a good example of what is happening I just had to bring it up.