Well that was fun.
Sadly unlike the game vs. the Heat where U.B. asked me if I thought we were going to win or lose I emphatically and without a doubt in my mind said win. Tonight Roaming Gnome asked me the same question with about 4 min. to go left in the game and without much hesitation I said lose.
Winning builds is contageous and so is losing. Sadly we are into losing right now and it doesn't get any easier with the Celtics coming up on Tuesday.
Obviously there are lots of things to cover but right off of the bat I am going to throw Bird/Walsh/O'Brien under the bus.
I don't know who or why but the deep bench with several players playing significant min. has gone out the window.
While we did go 11 deep tonight only one bench player played more than 20 min. and our point guard and power forward each played above 34 min. each.
With the style of offense and defense O'Brien is going to try and run I do not see how this is going to work.
Of course me being the anti-O'Neal person that I am, I am very fearful that we are back full swing in the Jermaine is a superstar and must get his min. mode.
If that is the case then we have wasted everybodys time and fired Carlisle for no reason.
For that matter I just cannot fathom how we can play Jamaal Tinsley this many min. a game.
For the third game in a row I found myself praying for Jamaal to hit the bench only to once again remember the Diener was going to be coming in. However I didn't even get that last night, I got Marquis Daniels running the point and well frankly that was about a miserable failure as well.
I have to really fault whoever in management made the decision that we did not need a strong backup for Jamaal. I really fault them for not saying we need a replacement for Jamaal but what's the point by now.
Look I don't mean to offend the Jamaal fan club but after that fourth quarter if Jamaal Tinsley never played another min. on our team I would be happy.
I don't care if he did almost have a triple double, the guy blew chunks in the fourth quarter. There was no offenseive direction from him at all and for whatever reason that only he knows he decided that it was time to channel Stephon Marburry and fling up whatever shot he could get his hands on.
Sadly he can't shoot like Starburry can thus the 4th quarter we all witnessed.
However, I don't blame Jamaal for this at all.
There was a coach over on the sideline who had every opprotunity in the world to pull him and if nothing else set him down and say "hey, we need to do this and not this". But "play on" was all we got all night long.
However, I can't even really blame the coaching staff for all of this either.
I'm sure he looked down his bench and saw a player who was let go by the Magic and another player who played in the D league last season and figured "what the hell".
As I've said over and over again, I understand the Diener and Rush signings. But what I don't get is the fact that we didn't make some move, any move to get a real quality backup point guard.
Oh, for the record I still hate Allen Iverson with the passion of a white hot sun. I wish just once that a big man would actually hit Allen as hard as he acts like he gets hit everytime he goes down the lane.
Sorry I had to get that one non-Pacers point in there, now I'm back on track.
Look, let's be honest here. This season has never been about winning a title, so I wish we could just forget the whole "we must play Jermaine and Jamaal and be competative" non-sense and actually start to develop some of our other players for the next couple of years when maybe (with a whole lot of luck) we can be competative again.
I'm not saying tank the season I'm just saying instead of almost 40 min. a game from the main two I'd really like to see more players getting more min. on the floor.
I guess let's just hit them player by player from here.
J.O. - Honestly I am not an objective observer here but I have to ask, can the guy not jump anymore? I know he has injury's and all but dang, really this much? I swear he looks like he is straining to even get up and dunk the ball. I think he has gone to the "draw the charge" mode because I am not sure he can get up there to block the shots anymore like he used to. He may be the oldest 30 year old player I've seen.
Maybe he is just out of shape or maybe his knee still hurts but dang he can't seem to do anything off of the floor anymore.
He did at least grab some boards and had a couple of nifty passes. I pray to God he hasn't had the team alter the offense to suite him again, if he has I really don't even blame him at this point. I would totally blame Bird/Walsh/O'Brien for letting this happen.
Going back to the conditioning thing here for a min. I really really would like to see him limited to 30 min. a game for now because to me he looked winded, out of it or something.
Not a bad game from him, but certainly not a great 4th quarter at all.
Danny Granger - I have no idea what happened here. The first quarter he was outplaying Anthony or at least holding his own. Went to the bench and never came back till after the half. We were wonding if he got injured or something. You guys that watched on t.v. can tell us more if you know.
But then came back in the second half an proceded to stink. His defense was weak, his passing was horrid and his shot selection resembled that of Dell Curry (without the ability to hit). 0-6 from three point land tells me that he should have driven the lane.
BTW, here is the differance between J.O. and Marcus Camby. Ever notice that Camby actually makes teams alter thier offense? O'Brien said after the game that Marcus stopped us from going inside. J.O. even when he had the most blocked shots in the league does not scare people off from driving. The same year he led the league in blocks is also the same year he led the league in getting dunked on as well.
Danny just did not have a good second half.
Troy - I get it, he can shoot the three. However do we really truely need our center/powerforward shooting 70% of his shots from behind the arc? I'm not complaining about his game overall, but that is just a little more than I would want. He hit the boards, I think he played solid defense and didn't make any stupid errors.
Actually other than the fact that he didn't do anything other than shoot three's I think Troy had probably the best overall game of anyone that played.
Dunleavy - Um.....am I wrong here or did Mike even get up a shot in the 4th quarter? It seems to me that Mike dissapeared in the 4th and frankly I can't tell if it was from his lack of aggresiveness or the fact that the guy never seemed to touch the ball.
Last season there were a couple of times I wondered aloud if Jamaal wasn't freezing Mike out of the offense and well frankly in this game I am going to wonder that aloud again.
Or maybe it was Mike not actually guarding anyone in the 4th that made O'Brien not run anything for him??? I don't know.
Good shooting % from the floor, so that really really makes me wonder why he didn't take more (if any) shots down toward the end of the game? I kept also wondering why we weren't letting Mike run the plays down at the end, I would much rather ran Mike at the point than Jamaal, but that's just me.
Jeff Foster - Another day at the office for Jeff. Good solid overall play, nothing spectacular but not bad either. I like Jeff in the role of big man off of the bench. IMO, he becomes one of the if not the best big men off of the bench in the NBA.
I really would have rather seen a lineup of Jeff, Troy, Shawne, Danny and Mike in the 4th than what we got. No, I'm not kidding either.
Shawne Williams - He's getting there. Getting aggressive around the rim on the rebounding (although his stats. don't bare that out tonight but he was fighting for the boards) however his shot was dropping, again leading me to ask why did he not shoot more in the 4th? For a second year player I'd say he is coming along nicely and as the season progesses I think we may get to see that lineup of Ike, Danny and Shawne on the floor together (dare I dream that I could see Ike, Danny, Shawne and Bynum)
Kareem Rush - Solid game for the most part, well other than his defense but I am not faulting him for that by much. He is not as aggressive on offense as I thought he would be so that is suprising I guess, but on the other hand I think it is good he doesn't force things either. Had some really nice dribble dishes that led to some nice interior layups.
Again, like I said before, we got him on the cheap and anything he produces in a positive light is actually a bonus and Bird should take credit for it. But this guy is not going to push for the two spot either.
Daniels - failure, that is all.
Ok that may be a little harsh. I guess we wanted him to run the point against Iverson, probably not the wisest of ideas. However our other option was Travis Diener, so I guess Daniels wasn't that bad afterall.
Travis Diener - Waste of space. Can't even depend on him to give the starter 10 solid min. of backup work? Look I want to like the guy, I really do. In fact I want to root for about anybody at this point to do good so they can get some min. from Mel-Mell the abuser. But as of yet in the regular season I have seen nothing and I mean nothing that makes me think he should get one min. on the floor above Andre Owens.
Which brings me to Andre Owens???? What, really, you mean our best small man defender can't get one min. on the floor vs. Iverson?
Something is rotten in Denmark and I have a feeling it's the same old same old of rotten.
Speaking of rotten, should we even talk about David Harrison? No, not really why waste bandwidth on him. Honest to God he may be the least sensible person I've ever seen on the floor. Ok, that is already to much about him.
Now to coaching.
People this loss I lay at the feet of Jim O'Brien. No, not 100% but he deserves the lions share of the blame. He saw the collapes, he saw the same ball hogging crap that the rest of us did and he did nothing about it.
So he must have been ok with it.
The defense never shifted to help with the pick and roll they were running and he never made any adjustments to fix this.
If, as I suspect deep inside, that we have already shifted offensive schemes even just a little, then I am really really dissapointed and all of the tough talk from both him and Bird was just that. Talk.
Again, never get to up after a win nor to down after a loss. However there are some trends developing that are troubling to say the least.