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Mark Montieth: Pacers Q&A
Indianapolis Star sports reporter Mark Montieth answers your questions about the Pacers.
June 13, 2005
Question: Mark, as with the rest of us Star readers and Pacer fans, I enjoy your columns. I have a trivia question going back to my childhood, listening to a game on radio (Jerry Baker was the announcer, seems like it was a Sunday afternoon) with the Pacers breaking a record for most points in a pro game (ABA or NBA) at that time. Can you help?
What is the most points the Pacers have scored in one game? "Detroit beat Denver 186-184 in a triple-overtime game that set NBA records for most points scored in a game" NBA.com states, but that was a triple-overtime game. (Bob from Indianapolis)
Answer: You remember well, Bob. It was a Sunday afternoon game. I happened to be there, in fact, a 15-year-old kid sitting in an end zone section. A friend from school worked the games as an usher and got us down close.
It was April 12, 1970 and the Pacers beat the Pittsburgh Pipers 177-135 in a game without overtimes. It was reported as a scoring record for any professional basketball game. Boston had scored 173 points in 1959 for the NBA record and the Pacers had scored 172 the previous season against the Los Angeles Stars.
The Pacers scored 46 points in the first quarter, 41 in the second, 39 in the third and 51 in the fourth. According to The Star's story the next day, they fouled as quickly as possible in the final few minutes of the game to get the ball back so they could score again. They were called for 16 fouls in the last period, and Pittsburgh shot 32 free throws.
I don't have to tell you how that would be perceived today. They'd be ripped for violating the integrity of the game, much like Ricky Davis was for shooting at the wrong basket a few years ago to get a triple-double. Philadelphia had done the same thing to help Wilt Chamberlain get his 100-point game, however. The games were taken less seriously then, which wasn't all bad.
You'll be surprised to hear who led the Pacers in scoring that day. John Barnhill, a non-scorer, had 31 points in 31 minutes. Bob Netolicky had 28, Freddie Lewis 26, Art Becker 23, Roger Brown 19, Billy Keller 14, Jay Miller 12 and Oliver Darden 11. Mel Daniels scored just nine points, but had 17 rebounds. Tom Thacker had four points, but 11 assists. The Pacers hit 73-of-130 field goals, 9-of-21 3-pointers and 22-of-31 foul shots.
They declared themselves ready for the playoffs after this game -- there were only two regular-season games left -- and went on to win their first ABA title.
There was another oddity about the game. Keller was hit with three technical fouls in the fourth quarter for arguing a foul call. Referee Norm Drucker admitted Keller did not curse at him and seemed rather amused by it.
"I hit him with three technicals and that's a rarity," Drucker said after the game. "Can you imagine what that would do in a close game? He could have lost it."
Why did Drucker do it?
"I don't have to explain anything," he said. "Can you imagine what would happen if you had to explain every call? You'd need a King Solomon out there."
Question: Are the Pacers looking into trading their pick, or are they looking into drafting Rashad McCants? (Mitch from Zionsville, Ind.)
Answer: Trades are always possible, but that sort of decision usually is made on the day of the draft, after all options are considered. McCants, who left North Carolina after his junior season, is projected to go in the middle of the first round, and I've seen one mock draft that has him going to the Pacers.
That means nothing at this early stage, though. McCants has lottery talent -- he's a great shooter and a legitimate NBA athlete -- but he's short for his position (shooting guard) and has had off-the-court problems.
Question: As far as free agents go, do you think the Pacers have anything up their sleeve? Would Micheal Redd or Larry Hughes be attainable in a sign-and-trade? I have this vision of a starting five of Redd, Ron Artest, Jeff Foster, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley that makes me smile. DD, JB, JJ and FJ would make a nice rotation, too. (Jamison from Avon, Ind.)
Answer: I'm sure the Pacers would love to have Redd, or Hughes for that matter. They'll be tough to get, though. Milwaukee is banking on re-signing Redd, having made trades in February so that it would be able to do so. A lot of people think he'll leave, though, and his agent has said the Pacers are among the teams that interest him.
The Pacers would have to make a major trade to get him, however, and no doubt give up one or more of the players you envision starting with him. Redd wants a max contract, and it would be difficult for the Pacers to absorb that into their payroll structure.
Question: Let's be honest. Stephen Jackson, Ron Artest, and Jamaal Tinsley may be "scorers" but they aren't "shooters". I think the loss of Reggie Miller is going to be significant. Unless personnel changes are made, I see a season of 35 wins in our future. Your thoughts? (Aaron from Cincinnati, Ohio)
Answer: Remember, the Pacers have generally had success when Miller wasn't able to play in recent seasons. They were 7-2 at the time of the brawl last November, and that was without Miller, Jeff Foster and Anthony Johnson playing. I think they'll be able to score plenty.
His presence will be missed most because of the maturity and stability he brought to the team. Without that, a lot of issues could emerge that were bubbling beneath the surface in past seasons. That, rather than lack of shooting, is their greatest threat in my opinion.