There was a lot to like, a lot to dissect and some things that were a little dissapointing in this game.
First and formost I will say this. The team is fun to watch, each player played at top speed and just a few differant things happening tonight and we may be talking about a differant outcome to this game.
I want to start with the Pistons. Having watched Boston play last night and now seeing the Pistons tonight I will say that it is way to early to write Detroit out of the mix, however age in the frontcourt is starting to look like it will catch up.
Give Dumars all of the credit in the world though, they have some really nice young pieces to go along with the old vets they have. I don't see Detroit not being a player again this year. I don't honestly think they have enough to overcome Boston, but I would suspect another Central devision title for them.
Now to us.
While I loved the way our guys played and never gave up there were two very troubleing things for me.
1. Roy Hibbert not getting off of the bench in the second half. This is unacceptable. Now I don't think the guy should play 30 min. a game but in the 6 min. he played he blocked a shot and altered at least 3 others. I will be majorly p!ssed if this is the playing time he is going to get this year.
2. To much Daniels. I'm sorry guys but his basketball I.Q. on defense is just not what I want out there. I don't even know how many times the guy swiped at the ball while the player on offense was shooting and gets the foul. 32 min. is just way to much time on the floor for this guy. I know with Dunleavy down we are going to be seeing more of him, but I just wish we didn't have to.
3. Foster playing 20 min. and not scoring a single point. This is also unacceptable. We were pointing out in the third how Detroit would double off of Jeff with his defender. This just can not happen. Honestly I thought he played to much and would much rather have seen Rasho in there or better yet give Hibbert 5 more min. of play.
Ok, that was the downside. Now let's look at what was good.
A. Troy Murphy. People if anther former player of ours would have have 13 points 15 rebounds and 3 blocks in a game I would have to hear how he was one of the best power forwards in the NBA. With Troy I'm sure most of you are still trying to figure out a way to package him off with Jamaal to get rid of his contract. Troy owned the boards in that game, period. They weren't the running to the sideline to pickup the ball from the floor boards, nor were they the let's tip it up from the guards to get a board board. They were in the mix, elbows in the chest grind it out kind of rebounds.
Troy is not a low post scorer nor will he ever be. However he is a very good face up shooter and a player who spreads the floor. I think we could do a lot worse at the p.f. spot.
B. Danny Granger. Shooting slump my @ss!!! I guess Danny figured he would take the pre-season off and turn it on for the regular season. That last three he hit at the end of the game was just absolutely unreal. He had to be 6-7 feet behind the corner arc when he let that fly and he hit nothing but the bottom of the net. What I loved is that he got 33 points on only 16 shots (he hit 10 of them btw). This isn't a scrub team or a joke of a defender he was playing either. This was Prince and these are the Pistons. I'm just going to go ahead and say it, Danny has arrived. How many players will give you 33 points and also block 3 shots.
Like every other Pacer he is going to have to watch the turnovers, but I am giving almost everybody a pass on that because it is a new team and not everybody is familiar with everybody yet.
C. Rasho Nesterovic. He is not a dominate center, he never will be. But what he is, is a solid pro who has no true weakness that can be exploited. His passing was even better than I thought it would be and I thought it would be excellent. To me he is the perfect player for what we need right now. He is good enough to start but isn't dominate enough to say that we shouldn't play Roy. I like the fact that our center can score, unlike our backup powerforward/center.
D. Brandon Rush. Some early jitters, no doubt. However this guy is already advanced for his age. I have zero doubt that he will be a rotational player all year long. I really like the way he was down there battling for rebounds even though he only grabbed 2. He attacks the basket very well. Once he gets his outside game going I think he is going to be a great addition to our team.
E. The Granger, Rush, Jack perimeter defense. Much like the Bermuda triangle defenders get lost in the defensive wave these three put on when they are in together. Each of them are longer than you think and Jack is quicker than you think. As time goes on I think this will be one of the lineups you see in there to either end games or make comebacks. Add in Foster and Hibbert for big men and you have a pretty good overall defensive team.
F. T.J. Ford was fast. He pushed the ball well however for whatever reason I feel somewhat dissapointed by his game. Don't get me wrong he didn't play bad and certainly it is 100% better than what we had last year. But for some reason I just was expecting more. I guess it is my fault for maybe having my hopes to high for him. Of course Billups is one of the few guards in the NBA that I think T.J. will just not be able to play against. (Darron Williams being one of the others). He is just to tall and to strong for T.J. to handle. I think I may have to come back to this game tomorrow or the next day because I feel like I am being to hard on T.J.
G. Overall team defense. The team defense was much improved in this game. You did not have the Pistons just lining up to take open shot after open shot. Players were rotating faster and overall were keeping their man in front of them at all times.
I am very happy with the way the team played. I never like to play the what if game because you have to play with the team you have. However you have to wonder if the game's outcome would have been differant with Mike in the game?
It's just a d@mn shame that the schedule is so hard to begin with, I just hope the players don't get down on themselves and pray to God the fans don't turn them off because there is a very good likelyhood that the team will start off at least 0-4 if not 0-6. If we continue to play like we played tonight we will beat plenty of teams and will not be pushovers for the top tier teams.
Overall I am happy to say this.
I hate losing but I couldn't be much happier about the way we lost.
Go Pacers Go.
Reporting from the bright glow of the sunshine this is your humble corrispondant Peck signing off.