I have to be brief tonight so this will be fast hitting.
Look there is no bigger critic/hater of Jermaine O'Neal than myself, however there is no real way to make the coralation that Jermaine's return to extended min. and an increased role in the offense has been the sole reason for the teams collapse.
It is a contributing factor, IMO, but even I won't say it's the main one.
Also for the Troy Murphy haters out there you cannot pinpoint his return to our losing ways either.
There are a lot and I mean a lot of reasons that this team is in totall collapse right now, and make no mistake this team right now is exactly like last season during the 11 game skid. The record isn't there yet, but all you have to do is watch the body language and you will see this team is in trouble.
Where at the beginning of the season I had no doubt in my mind we were going to play hard and win those games, I have now for the last three games been of the firm belief that we had no hope of winning.
Read Mike Dunleavy's quote in today's star to show you that there is already some discourse in the troops.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Dunleavy said when asked what happened to their running game. "I thought we were going to run, too. We ran through training camp; we ran the first few games of the year. I don't know."
Now this can be read in several ways.
1. The team is not functioning properly and therefor the running game is not working. (this is possible)
2. Once again # 7 has inserted his opinion on the offense and even though there was tough talk about running, the truth is they are at least slowing the pace a little to keep him happy.
3. The coach's want to run, the players want to run, the two left overs have decided not to run and when you are the person who determines where the ball goes you can really influance the plays.
4. Dunleavy, Granger, Williams, Daniels and others have just stopped running for whatever reason.
Or there probably are about 10 other ways to read that, but to me it say's something is wrong.
However let's not go to far overboard on one thing, we are missing Ike Diagu. I may be wrong because I'm not looking up his stats right now but wasn't he avg. almost 14 ppg before the injury?
That's not chump change.
I know this is going to be vastly unpopular to say but I will say it anyway. Jeff Foster can not be on the floor at the same time as Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley until they get out of thier scoring slumps.
I don't like him in there when they are scoring but right now we have to have 5 legitimate offensive options on the floor in that starting lineup.
Right now we have Granger, who is inconsistant. Dunleavy who has all but vanished and that's it.
Oh Jermaine & Jamaal are getting thier points but they are taking a large amount of shots to get them and while Jeff has made a nice attempt at that jumper, we desperately need another offensive weapon on the floor.
Till Murphy comes back I would really have no problem with the Pacers staring either Daniels or Williams and playing Danny at the 4.
Again in this game Travis Diener has made me believe that we should be scouring the NBDL for a better backup p.g.
As of yet, there is nothing there. I still don't understand why he is playing ahead of Owens.
It is obvious that O'Brien has already given up (at least for now anyway) on Harrison, Diener and Owens.
Each of their min. have gone down dramatically over the past few games and frankly who can blame him.
It's not time to panic yet, however I will say this, if this team does reach a double digit losing streak (which I believe it will soon) a real shakeup is in order.
I don't mean a major trade or anything, although that should be looked at as well. But I mean it may be time to shake up the lineup.
However I don't even know how you go about doing that with the roster we have.
Ok, this post is to negative.
Let me address some positives to end with.
Danny shot poorly but I thought he battled all night long.
While I hate Foster with O'Neal, I thought Jeff really brought it and truely put it all on the line.
Travis Diener did actually hit a shot, so I guess there is that.
Time to regroup and try again, the season can turn around just as fast the other way if the planets align correctly.