Just got back from the game. Nice sized crowd tonight - I guess the Lakers are still a draw - there were probably at least 500 Lakers fans there.
Let me start with the Lakers. Phil Jackson coached teams have a certainly way they play - it is unmistakable. Sure part of it is the triangle offense - but it is also the way they play defense. They are constantly going for steals, constantly swiping at the ball - Jackson's teams have always done that. I know many of you don't like Phil - and some of you don't think he's a great coach, but I think he's a great coach - his teams are always well coached. I do wonder though when the NBA re-instituted hand checking - I must have missed that.
OK now to the Pacers. I didn't see when Murph broke his nose, but I know he's broken it many times before, so he might need to start wearing a mask. I feel bad for him - he doesn't need that.
I really liked the Pacers defense tonight and we need to start with Granger's job on Kobe - he defended him about as well as anyone could. Sure Kobe missed a lot of shots, but Granger did a nice job.
I also was impressed with Dunleavy's defense - he defended Odom pretty well - a few times Odom got him in a post up situation - but other than that. One thing I need to point out, Mike's team defense is excellent - it is really good, he's in the right spots, he seems to have picked up the Pacers system very quickly. Certainly you don't want to put Mike in situations where he has to guard the other teams top offensive player, but team wise I'm impressed.
I need to say something about Granger. Keep in mind I really like him and yes I know he's a second year player and I'm certainly not trying to be critical, just making an observation. He doesn't seem to know the plays that well, he's often having to be told by teammates, coaches where he's supposed to be and by now he shouldn't have that problem. I don't know what his deal is. Tonight it happened probably 3 or 4 times. And it happens on defense too. In the last 6 minutes tonight Jeff was guarding Odom and DG was on Kobe and the game plan was for the pacers to switch any pick and rolls between Kobe and Odom - but two straight times Danny did not switch and Jeff really let him have it.
He also needs to work on his ballhandling.
OK, I'll add more in a few