Right off the bat I want to point to a couple of troubling things. Both from today's star article.
First let me get the legal formality out of the way.
Actually, Peck, you still need some practice. You forgot:
Now I'm not going to post the article you can just read it via the link, however I am going to copy and paste a couple of quotes.
"We just need to make a few more plays," Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy said. "That's what it comes down to. It may be old, it may be the same old story, but it's the truth. . . . I believe if this team came with a little bit more focus at practices, shootarounds and games . . . maybe we can start squeaking out a few more wins."
We had some defensive breakdowns and we have to work on that along with other parts of our game," Granger said. ". . . Fatigue has become a little bit of a problem mentally and physically."
The second quote by Granger is frankly understandable. Losing this much this often obviously is going to wear on the players. But I also think that this is the point where management better be trying something to regenerate morale. A win would go a long way in doing that but considering we have the champs coming to town next I don't think that this will be the game.
However, and maybe I'm just reading this wrong, Mike's comment made me take pause.
Lack of focus in practices and shootarounds????? Hmmmmm......
Well first of all did I dream this up or didn't O'Brien say he wasn't going to do shootarounds? I thought I read that somewhere but I could be mistaken.
Second of all, when a team is as desperate as we are for a win and we have a new coaching staff that is supposedly player friendly how exactly are we lacking focus in practice? Or better yet, who is not focusing?
Is it one player, a couple of players, a few players or the whole group?
We are just over half-way through his first season here and are we to infer that the players are already going off of the farm?
I'll just leave it at that as anything I am saying about this quote is just speculation. I'll just say it is troubling.
Speaking of troubling.
How exactly does Troy Murphy play big min. in the first half and have what I consider to be a good half of ball. Then get 7 min. in the second half? Please don't give me the "he is horrible on defense" thing. Dwight lit Jeff up in the first quarter like a Christmas tree. BTW, that is not a knock on Jeff, Howard was an absolute beast in the first quarter.
Here is a thought, one that I had all during the time that Turkoglu was killing us.
Why not try Jeff on him for a few min. and use Troy on Howard. Or better yet how about the two players sitting on the bench not being used at all (Harrison & Diogu) for a few min. to cover Howard while Jeff tried to slow down the raging Turk.
To say that I am less and less of a fan of O'Brien each and every game may be an understatement.
I am trying my best to not totally throw him under the bus yet because I understand he doesn't have much to work with. But I swear to God our offensive structure is so bad that I often wonder if I'm not watching a pickup game at the Y.
However, as was pointed out to me by Diamond Dave, you should never score 115 points and lose a game. So while I hate his offense, I am now wondering about his defense as well.
Is it maybe to complex for our players to play? Something is not right here and when I start hearing about a lack of focus in practice and people not learning plays. Well I know this can't be happening yet, it's to soon. But at some point in time you have to wonder about the age old problem of "tuning out".
On a positive note, Danny Granger was great.
I think we need to put to bed once and for all the notion that he is the same player when O'Neal plays. Clearly he is not.
Since J.O. has been gone for extended time Danny has once again come alive.
Right now, as far as I'm concerned until they bring in another player from outside either via trade, free agent or draft that is clearly better, I think Danny needs to be the number one option on offense. When he drove the lane during the game good things happened. Either a bucket or a foul or sometimes both.
Foster had another great game, however you could see the fatigue setting in on him. That is why I was so puzzled by the amount he played in the second half. The guy clearly has had two nights of going toe to toe with players much much stronger than he is.
Shawne played ok. I just do NOT want him to fall in love with the three point shot. However knowing who our coach is....
He used to be better on the boards than he is now, I want him to get back to work on being a true paint player.
I thought Dunleavy had a bad game. No crime in that, but I just didn't feel like he was on during the game and again I was stunned at how much he played. Mike tried, don't get me wrong, I am not saying he was off in that aspect. But for whatever reason he just could not get his shot to drop and I felt like we tried to force it to him. Maybe they were just trying to get him out of his slump, I don't know.
Not a lot to say other than that really.
I'd give every Pacer on our team now and probably every Pacer that has ever played for us to have Dwight Howard on our team. My God when he devolps a game beyond hook's and dunks I don't know how anybody will be able to handle him.
I'd say onward and upward but our next battle is San Antonio so I think we can all assume the outcome of that right now.
Has there ever been a team that needed the all-star break more than us? Not that it will do any good, but maybe they all just need to get away from basketball for awhile.