I was debating just to let it be tonight, but I felt there were a few things that I could add after tonight.
-Jermaine Oneal is hurting. To his credit, he's never going to use that as an excuse, but he's hurting. And he's playing against the toughest frontline in basketball. Anytime the spotlight is on him, he's playing Detroit. Play him against 27 other NBA teams, and he looks like a franchise player.
I don't blame Jermaine, I blame Donnie for drafting role player after role player to play alongside JO, and not picking up one guy that can take some scoring burden from him, so he doesnt have to go 1 on 2 all the time. Jermaine's a good kid, he's just in a very unfair situation.
Do I think his friendship is affecting him? No, not really. Rasheed Wallace is all buisness on the court with JO. He does his best to beat him as badly as possible. I can't believe JO really would do any less himself if he could.
Stephen Jackson is a completely different person during the postseason. He's been there before, and he knows what it takes. Listening to his postgame comments, I think he knows exactly how to conduct himself in the playoffs. But, again, he's under pressure to outplay a damn good player in Tayshawn Prince EVERY NIGHT, because if the two of them draw even, like tonight, the Pacers can't win. Also, Jackson belongs in the post, not the three-point line. He's a big, physical guard. Out at the 3-point line, he's incredibly inconsistent. Also, the high arc on his shot leads to VERY long rebounds.
Jamaal Tinsley had the injury excuse last year. He doesn't this year. I know he came off IR only a few weeks ago, but physically, he looks fine to me. He just doesn't seem like he can handle pressure. He forces a lot of things that aren't there, and he seems to believe that he's a better scorer than he really is. I know Carlisle stuck up for him tonight after the game, but he's the one guy they pacers CANT win without, and he's getting tag-teamed by Billups and Arroyo. He can't be the 3rd best point guard on the floor and lead Indiana to a win.
Reggie did a good job of tying his shoes before pregame. A fine double-knot. Which is probably better than anything James Jones has done in the last 10 days. He was a rising star against Boston, but he's doing a good ghost impression this series. I was actually pretty worried about him. I suppose maybe I was overrating him a bit.
Foster isn't taking anybody by surprise anymore. He gets his boards, but he no longer changes the game. And in no universe should he be throwing up running jump hooks.
Dale is a solid player, for 15 minutes a game. He reminds me of Elden Campbell (before we exiled Elden to the bench). After so long, those old legs kick in. He's a valuable backup center, though, if you decide to trade foster. I think Foster and Dale often get in each other's way.
Someone also has to remind dale that he can't get off the floor like he used to, and he should be kicking those boards out like foster does.
Anthony Johnson has been remarkably solid, for what he used to be. If you could put AJ's brain into Tinsley's body, you'd have an all-star.
So that brings me to......Rick Carlisle. For the 2nd year in a row, he had Larry Brown on the defensive, and Larry adjusted. Rick, for all his personal growth, still hasn't worked on his weakness: he doesn't adjust during the game. He's good at using timeouts, I just never see Indiana do anything DIFFERENT out of them. After game 4, I thought I'd see the Pacers go to the hoop more. I was wrong. Again, too many jumpers, and too much isolation play.
Rick is a fantastic regular season coach. The best in the NBA. I think he could take the bobcats to the playoffs. The problem is, Rick's style isn't as good in the playoffs, because it utilizes isolation, not motion. Other than Reggie, nobody moves away from the ball. Its the same style he used here, just with different players. When you're playing a team like boston with weak defender, it works. But eventually you run into a team that can defend well, and you stop scoring on all those 1-on-1 moves. At least, thats how it was with us in 2002 and 2003. When we lost, we lost BAD. Sometimes I see the old pistons in Carlisle's pacers, albeit more talented.
As good a young coach as he is, Carlisle is a .500 playoff coach. All four seasons he's been able to point to injures and bad shooting nights, but at some point, Rick has got to find a way to adjust against good teams. Your players aren't going to get any hotter if you can't find a way to get them better looks at the basket.
Still, Rick's a smart guy. Eventually, he'll get the point. I just wonder when that'll be.
Yes, 11/19 absolves him of any and all critisism. Heck, He should have been coach of the year.
I just wonder whats going to happen when Rick doesnt have any injuries or suspensions to point to, and is actually EXPECTED to lead a dominant playoff team......