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Ok, let's debunk a myth right now. The local press is playing it up because it makes a good story. The Detroit fans are thrilled to hear it bacause they feel it gives thier team more fire & energy.
Rasheed Wallace gave a guarantee, he did not issue one.
There is a huge huge differance between what he said this year & the way he said it compared to last seasons.
In the locker room the reporter from WTHR (local NBC affiliate for those viewing from out of town) said to Rasheed, is it time for another guarantee.
To which Rasheed said "Oh, we're definitely going back to Detroit with this thing 2-2, no question about it"
Now while that is a guarantee it is not the same thing as last season where Rasheed set in the locker room mutting to himself and anybody who would listen to him the following over & over.
"All I'm saying is (I'm) guaranteeing Game 2. That's all I'm saying. They will not win Game 2. You heard that from me. You all print whatever you all want. You put it front page, back page, middle of the page: They will not win Game 2,"
I take it for just a player stating his team is going to win & there better not be a player in our locker room who doesn't think we're going to win either.
On to the game.
There was electricity in the air in both the form of lightning & Pacersmania because that crowd was ready from the time they opened up the doors to the fieldhouse.
Right off the bat DJ Paul B gave a little pre-game message to all of us that got people on thier feet. I'll paraphrase him here & maybe he can remember word for word what he said but basically it was just a quick little note that people didn't think the Pacers should be here right now. It seemed to unify the crowd & really set the tone.
It's kind of already been covered here but we jumped on them good, let up off of the peddle & then managed to close it out.
Neither team has played a good full 48 min. game yet & I'm now beginning to wonder if we will ever see one. We may just have to accept (fans of both teams) that each of these teams are good defensively & let's face it, they know each other. Hamilton, Prince & R. Wallace missed some wide open shots & actually Hamilton missed a couple that I just was dumbfounded he missed.
Was it defense? Or was it just bad luck for them? At this point who cares, they didn't hit & we won. Good for us. But it's just a one home game win. They won thier first game at home to so let's not go crazy with talking about the Heat or anything. Oh & for the record I wanted to strangle whoever started the Detroit sucks chant. Man with 8 min. to go in a game you never want to give any team any kind of fuel.
As a Pacers fan I'm concerned because Prince, Hamilton & R. Wallace are not going to be that quiet again. They aren't going to miss wide open gimme's next time.
If I was a Piston fan I would be concerened that Jermaine, Stephen & Reggie have yet to shoot good from the floor. For every wide open shot Hamilton missed Jermaine missed three. I would be d@mn concerned that they have yet to solve the Jeff Foster problem (BTW I have a theory on this I'll share later) & the fact that they cannot let our bench produce.
But it's still a long long series so we just move on to game 5 next.
Let's look at our team.
Yes, Reggie Miller hit the big shot. Yes, Jamaal Tinsely set the tone. Yes, Jeff Foster once again was a human dynamo.
But the person that everybody is overlooking in last nights game was Anthony Johnson. When Jamaal went to the bench A.J. brought a totally differant look to the floor & presented Detroit with a totally differant problem. He ran the team very very well & once again hit some huge shots that bailed the team out of some trouble & played solid defense all during the game. When J.T. went to the bench we didn't lose a thing. That has to be frustrating for Brown.
*Side note for our Piston fans* I'm really confused as to why Larry doesn't go more with Carlos Arroyo to help go against J.T. He takes it right at Jamaal & seemed to have some success in game 1. None of my business really just curious. *end side note*
Jeff Foster. Here is my theory & I may be wrong but him coming off of the bench this year is our version of Corliss Williamson except that Jeff is better. In other words he is this energy ball that the starters on Detroit don't prepare for because they focus on J.O. & Dale & then when Jeff comes in he is just abusing them. This is the same Foster that was totally useless vs. the Pistons last season. What is he doing differantly this year? He is playing a little more physical right now but other than that nothing really differant from last year. But the huge differance is that he is the first big man off of the bench & he just hits the ground running.
*another side note to our Piston fans* Why isn't Larry countering with Eldon Campbell for a few min. vs. Jeff? Foster has problems with big physical players who go in the post & I've seen Eldon just abuse Jeff in the past. Jeff would kill him with his speed but I assume that you would keep Ben or Sheed in to counter that. Again, none of my business. I'm just curious. *end side note*
Would it be wrong of me to say that Dale Davis block at the end of the game was huge? I know I know I'm looking for something good to say about Dale because well.... I just always have to say something good about Dale. But it's been a tough series for Dale because I have never EVER EVER seen Dale pick up so many touch fouls in my life. It is not in Dale's nature to flop & I'm just certain that he expects Ben to go toe to toe with him but he is totally taken off guard by Ben's acting. BTW, Ben should be carefull about whipping his head back & forth like that because he might cause a neck strain.
Reggie Miller. Another big shot at another big time. What more can you say. One thing I would like to say is that if he is going to shoot the ball only 11 times then I certainly do not want 7 of them being from the 3 point line particularly if he is going to hit 0 of them. I thought he rushed several 3 point shots. But he made up for it by getting to the line 12 times hitting 11 of them & most of them in the 4th when it counted. I'd like to see him get into the lane a little more next game.
Jamaal. They have no answer for him. If his shot is dropping or if he can get into the lane he is just a handfull for the Pistons. It always just cracks me up when every team abandons any kind of press on Jamaal because it is just useless to do it. Here is the funny thing. This was (I think) only the 5th game Jamaal has been back. The scary thing for the Pistons should be this, he's just starting to get into shape. Again the whole Arroyo thing perplexes me because he takes it at Jamaal & makes him work, but what do I know.
Jermaine. Rest up big fella. You didn't hit your shots but you played tough in the paint & his shot blocking is impacting the way that Detroit is playing. I think that Sheed will have a big game 4 but I also think that Jermaine will answer the challenge. Yeah, he fouled out but he fouled out playing defense & I'll live with that every day.
Stephen Jackson. The man is just screwed. He goes to the rack & has people hanging off of him like leeches & he can't get a call. Thank God he can hit a few of those wild layups. I loved the job he did on Hamilton in the first half & then when they switched him back to Prince I notice that Rip started to get off a little more. Reggie & Jax were rotating in the first half. Jax has yet to have a good game in this series either. But like I said, it may just be that some of these guys aren't going to have a good game because the other team is keying in on them.
Fred & James Jones. good solid work off of the bench. Fred taking it to the hole & then hitting a big three was great but solid defense was on the plate for both of these guys.
Austin, Scot & Eddie. Thank each of you for being real professionals. For cheering the team when your not in. For being ready when your name is called. I've seen lots of players over the years who were the 10th, 11th & 12th man who either just set there like bumps on logs or grumbled in the press. None of these guys are doing this & it's good for the team.
I look forward to Sunday's game.
Am I worried? Yes.
Am I confident? Yes.
Am I confused? Yes.
Detroit will be ready, but then again so will we. I think it will probably a knock down drag out affair.
We need reports from the Dale Davis after party!!!!!!!
Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13