This may be the longest odd thoughts I've ever written or it may be the shortest & depending on what emotion hits me at what time you may either love this post or you will hate it.
I've started 6 differant versions of this only to delete each of them. On some I try & stay professional & just give a breakdown of the game only to lose my mind mid way through it & others I am a raving loon & only occasionally throw in an objective observaiton of the game.
I will try my best to just focus on the game we saw.
The Pistons won. We lost. There is not much more to say. We tried but at the end we weren't good enough.
So, thus it ends for us. We were never able to beat the d@mn Jordan Bulls, we were never able to beat the Shaq Lakers & now it goes down we will never have beaten the Brown Pistons. I'm sure no matter the outcome of the rest of the playoffs this is Browns last season in Detroit so no matter who is on the floor for them next year Brown will not be pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Seriously, I should just not post. I am having such a hard time finding anything positive to say. Oh well I'm not starting over again.
Back to the Pistons.
We can all sit around & congratulate ourselves on the moral victory of being this far & trust me it was a victory to get there. But I just will never get over the empty feeling of knowing we never were able to get it done vs. Brown. Just like I was vs. Shaq & vs. Jordan. Any future victory vs. them will always be tampered in my mind with the knowledge that we were never able to beat the Brown coached team.
I assume they will win another title, I don't know & frankly I don't care.
Their interior defense is wild & I can never tell if our guys just give up on going inside or if Detroit just makes it so hard they can't do it. I imagine it is a combo of both.
Anyway, long story short. They are the champs, they have a chance at being champs again & at the end of the day we do not.
So congatulations & good luck in the E.C. finals.
Ok, now that that is out of the way let's deal with us.
This is rough because I am going to try my absolute best to not make assesments based on what I want for next year but I'll be honest I'm afraid some will slip though.
Dale Davis. Thank you for getting us here. If it weren't for Dale Davis (as well as others) there would have been no playoffs. Dale was a warrior in his day & even today he is a warrior. Stat. wise he didn't have a great game but he did a very good job at keeping a body on Ben when he was in. Now having said that I will say this.
This was it for Dale, the last hurrah so to speak. He gave us his all for the last half of the season & it was magical but there is just not enough left in the tank for there to be significant contributions next year as a starter. Don't get me wrong, I still want Dale around & I still believe he can be a solid contributer for us. But probably not for more than about 20 min. a game. Sure he'll still have some big nights but it won't be like it was back in March & April. Oops, I've already gone into next season mode, sorry about that.
Dale tried but it wasn't enough.
Stephen Jackson. At least he had the decency to admit he stunk. The Diamond one & myself debated about him setting on the ground at the end of the game as to whether it was hurt or pouting. I will always go with a player who shows that he hates to lose. I'm not going to be hard on Jax because he brought it all playoffs long, tonight however he just didn't have it in him.
Jermaine O'Neal. He tried hard. He didn't have a monster game, but he didn't have a bad game either. But it's hard to ever complain when a player has a 22/11 ball game with 3 blocks. I think it's safe to say that it is now over with that Jermaine O'Neal's shoulder really did bother him for the playoffs & in truth he may have been better resting. However all honor & credit to him for playing & never once using it as an excuse. There are other players who would never have suited up with the injury he had so IMO he was a warrior for coming to work because none of us would have been able to say a thing if he didn't.
Jermaine gave it his all, it just wasn't enough.
Jamaal Tinsley. It's hard to say that a player who has 10 assist to only 1 turn over had a bad game but I just was never really happy with him in the game. I actually felt better with A.J. running the point & that just really puts the who game into perspective right there. When I'm wanting A.J. over Jamaal there is a problem somewhere. Maybe it was the injury, maybe it was conditioning, maybe it was the alignment of the moon with saturn. But for some reason he just had a horrid game IMO, even though he threw out 10 assist.
Jeff Foster. He attacked the basket & was litterally our only offense down towards the end of the 3rd quarter. If only every player on our team went to the rack like Jeff did we would have had a differant series. Jeff tried his best but at the end of the day it was not enough.
A.J. Not bad for a backup point guard. I wish he could have hit a couple more shots than he did 1-4 is not great by any means. But he did throw 9 assists & did a good job on defense. He pretty much made Arroyo useless this game which could have been a bonus. But in the end it wasn't good enough.
Fred Jones. Never has a more useless 17 min. of basketball been played. Other than his one big dunk, what else did he do? He didn't even defend well, IMO. At this point in time aren't we beyond using the knuckle as an excuse for his inconsistant play? Let's just say our backup shooting guard gave us nothing.
James Jones. Not nearly as deadly as he was vs. Boston but still for a second round pick who was not supposed to play he wasn't bad. In 8 min. he gave as much as Fred did in 17. He gave what he could but in the end it wasn't enough.
This brings me to Reggie Miller.
I won't give some flowery speech about what Reggie has meant to me or the franchise because others have already done it far better than ever could & like I've said in the past I'm only a recent convert to the R.A.S. because most of his career here I could either take him or leave him. But for last night, the last night of his career, he was the best Pacer on the floor.
Now I don't know if that really just speaks to the superb skills of Reggie or if it really says something about our team that a 39 year old was our best options. I just don't know what to thing about that.
So I think I will just take the side of angels on this & say that Reggie was just a special player. That kind of sounds funny to say that doesn't it? Because as of now we must refer to him in the past tense.
Reggie left nothing in the clip & he left it all on the floor & isn't that the way we all want it?
In all honesty 5 years from now what will we remember. The fact that the Pistons won the game or the fact that for about 10 min. the fans in the fieldhouse bonded with a player that some love so much? My guess is everybody will remember the latter.
As to the game itself Reggie was superb from the floor & I was about to lose my mind from about the 6 min. of the 4th quarter mark on whenever they didn't look to get Reggie a shot. His defense vs. Hamilton was well.... um.... well it was Reggie like. He just never got to challenge Rip in the 2nd half & rip made us pay. But at the end of the day Reggie gave it his all, he tried his best & not one ounce of shame is on him for this. However, just like every other Pacer, it wasn't enough.
Now an amusing story before I go any further. We got to the game very very early last night so we thought that we might as well try the Varsity club, which BTW if you have never tried let me say you should. Anyway the only seats they have are at the bar & since we had both diamond Dave & the Diddler with us we had to sit on opposite sides of each other. I sit down & look to my right to the first table & who happens to be sitting there? Donnie Walsh, Herb Simon & Larry Bird. A few min. later they are joined by Russ Granick (deputy dirctor of the NBA). I go to stand in line & see that Russ is standing in front of me. A guy bumps into him & I sort of laugh because this guy has no idea who Russ was. I turn to leave & go back to my seat & I walk face to face with Big Mac. I've seen him from a distance but this was my first time ever seeing him up close so that was kind of fun.
The above story means nothing, it was just an amusing happening.
The crowd was great, one of the better crowds we've had at the fieldhouse & in fact I think all playoffs long the fans have been great. Very very few people left until Reggie finally left the floor. I will say this the Piston org. really defused any anger the Pacers fans had at them by giving Reggie his ovation. It could have been ugly but they pretty much took the anger out of the air.
The only one thing I really really regret about the way that Reggie went out was this. At the end of the game he had Benet Salvatore in a hug & I kept thinking how easy that would have been to switch that to a headlock, but I'm not bitter....
Look I don't use refs. as an excuse & I won't this game either. But they sure as hell didn't help us any at all particularly in the 3rd quarter.
But it's over, done, fini.
I am going to do a year in review in the next couple of days & I will address next season as I do that. But even though I am extremly proud of what we accomplished this year I can't help but feel empty because we were never able to beat the Pistons as we know them.
Anyway I hope you guys have enjoyed the odd thoughts throughout the playoffs. I will now switch back over to just regular posting & I now officially end my run in the . Prepare my brothers of darkness for I am coming home