I've only glanced at the board since getting home tonight so if I cover something that the rest of you guys hit, forgive me.
Let's just start because there ain't much fanfare.
The Indiana Pacers are a rare breed. They are the only team that I know of that can lose a game in the first quarter. They did it in a home game vs. Boston (I don't remember the game #) & they did it again today.
I had a bad feeling that once we lost the lead we just would not be able to overcome it. I did take into consideration that even though we were playing lousy & Detroit was playing fairly well that we kept pulling within 10 & even once got it down to a 6 point game. But it was all for naught.
There's lots of reasons things didn't work out for us but before we do that let's talk about our friends from the north.
Detroit played a very disciplined game & Larry Brown today made the adjustments that were needed for them to win. I know that Larry is very hard on P.G.'s & I know Arroyo's defense probably drives him mad but against us he is very effective.
He went to the bench today & they produced for him. I can only believe that he should continue to do this.
I know fans in Indiana hate the guy but Rasheed Wallace is the best player on the floor. When he plays with a sense of purpose we just can't match him & it's unfortunate because talent wise J.O. is probably better. But I've said it before & I'll say it again, Jermaine is just lousy vs. his former mentors from Portland. They get in his head & he just never seems to be able to muster the fire vs. them that he does others. I know a lot of people are p!ssed about the off-court time they spend together, but I guess I just figure they are humans away from the court so they can do what they want. But on the court I just wish he would treat him as though he were Kevin Garnett or someone else. But it could also just be that Sheed knows him better than anybodye either.
I haven't even mentioned Billups yet & he just killed us.
So in summery, Detroit played very well & Brown definatley was the better coach today.
However, it's still 2-2 so even though it may not be as good as it could have been we are still in the playoffs.
Now to us.
I take nothing away from Detroit because they won & they are the champs. But we didn't deserve to win with the way we played.
Part of me wanted to come on here & wonder aloud how Detroit won the ball game. I mean they didn't play low post isolation offense with an outside option, they didn't have 1 player on the offensive glass & 4 guys running to stop the break, they weren't fronting the post. I thought all of these were mandatory to win ball games. But then I thought better about posting all of that.....
Detroit gave us every shot we wanted from the perimater. Did you wonder why the Pacers shot 19 three point shots? Well simple the Pistons were giving them to us & were more than happy to oblige. Now you can argue that if we hit some of those shots the game would be differant & of course you would be right. But of course since we couldn't hit any of them they just kept backing off & praying that we would take them.
Did you notice that the few times we actually drove to the basket that we either scored or drew a foul? Well if you did then you were better than our players & our coach. Because you would think that driving would be the # 1 & # 2 option. Or at the very least pick & roll.
We tried it, but not nearly enough.
I thought our energy on defense was actually pretty good, but once again our inability to score just killed us. There were times in the second half the defense collapsed but that was because Rick decided to go small & therefore it was an open invitation to drive the lane for Detroit.
We might as well talk about Rick while were here. Look, nobody is saying he is a lousy coach (far from it) but the guy is not infalable either & I'm sorry but I lay a lot of this at his feet.
*side note* Rick can't hit the shots for the guys so you can't blame him for that *end side note*
Why he chose to do isolation plays again is beyond me. Jermaine O'Neal is not going to be able to take it to the Pistons when he is facing up. I can't even tell you how many times I looked out there to see J.O. in the paint on one side of the basket while all 3 of the other 4 were beyond the 3 point arc & the other player at least 15' out. I can't stand that offense, I hate it with the passion of a white hot sun.
Look I give the guy credit for trying something differant by going small but it wasn't working & it was pretty obvious it wasn't working early on. I think he went a little long with that experiment.
*side note* I will again say right up front I am a huge Dale Davis fan so I have no credibilty when it comes to him. But I thought the team was far more effective when he was in instead of Jermaine. I wish they would have played Jeff & Dale more today but it is a coaching call so I guess we will go with his thoughts *end side note*
Round 4 goes to Larry hands down IMO. So now it's up to Rick to come back strong in game 5 & as we've seen all year long he will adjust.
Let's look at the players.
Jax. I wish we had two of him to play the Pistons. He can guard either Rip or Prince. He just can't guard both of them at the same time. Have you noticed the player he is guarding doesn't score very often? He took it strong to the hoop again today. There really isn't much to say about him other than a great game & he needs to do more of the same throughout the rest of the series.
Dale. I know I know Peck talking about Dale big suprise. But I honestly thought he played very well today. He shut down the middle for the most part whenever he was in & I can think of three times that Billups threw the ball out of a drive because he ran into Dale on defense. I think it was a mistake to not play him more & I think he would have worked better with the small lineup than J.O. did. Dale again today had a game that if you looked only at the box score you would not understand his value on the floor. But again, it is me & he is Dale so feel free to overlook this.
Jamaal. I hate Allen Iverson on the 76ers & I sure as hell don't want him disguised as Jamaal Tinsley. Look I have no problem with him getting into the lane & getting up a shot, in fact I like it. But he just didn't appear to be trying to even run any kind of offense today, he just seemed more interested in scoring himself. Now whether that was J.T. breaking plays or if this is what Carlisle called remains to be seen. But even though he shot decent from the field I thought he played a lousy game. 7 T.O.'s vs. 1 assist? That's not gonna work. 15 shots from your p.g. & 6 shots from your shooting guards? Not gonna work. Jamaal is the key to our team & when he serves up the rock our engine purrs. But when he becomes Mel Mel the abuser & get's no one else involved we suffer.
Speaking of shooting guards.
I made a vow that since this was Reggie's last year I would not complain about him & would only try & say nice things. So taking that vow in mind let me just say that I thought Reggie had nice shoes on today. That's my thoughts on Reggie for today.
I've already covered J.O.
I had no real problem with James Jones playing the 4 when we went small. He did a very good job on Ben when he was in there on the boards. Actually I think he out boarded Ben 6-3 in head to head competition. I always feel that anthing he gives us is a bonus because he was supposed to be the designated I.R.L. guy. So for a second round pick who wasn't supposed to play I'm very happy with him.
A.J. did a very good job of running the offense, but he was horrid from the field. Hey, it happens so I'm not complaining about the misses. I just wish he would have driven more than he did because I think he settled for the jumper a little fast.
Fred Jones is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you are gonna get. On one hand he had a breath taking fieldhouse raising dunk & on the other hand he litterally put his head down & drove his shoulder into a defender & seemed shocked when a charge was called on him. He wasn't bad & in truth probably should have played more, but he wasn't great either.
Jeff Foster. Jeff should feel proud & all of his fans should feel proud. He made Detroit alther their game plan. The fact we couldn't capitalize on this adjustment is to bad, but that's not his fault. Should he have played more? Probably. But again it is Carlisle call & I guess we have to live with it.
Ok there were some Detroit fans in the crowd but I honestly didn't see any problems today. Something happened near the end up where Jay sits because I saw the Police take a guy out but I don't know what happened maybe Jay can fill us in.
For some reason I thought the game started at 2 p.m. so we showed up at 1:30 so I got to see lots of stuff I normally miss with the shootaround stuff. Plus I got to meet DJ Paul B which was a thrill for Diamond Dave & myself. He's a real nice guy & a lot taller than he looks from far away. Sorry for bothering you at work, but it was great to actually meet you.
All I can say is we've won 2 games in this series & I don't see why we can't win 2 more.
Late Edit: I've just read some other post & all I can say is that I am stunned people are blaming the refs. for the game. Ok, maybe I shouldn't be stunned because people blame refs. for everything. But I thought the refs. weren't that bad & in fact seemed to let the players play. They were inconsistant but that is what is expected from NBA refs.