veni, vidi, vinci
I am always on here preaching the Mark Jackson philosophy of never get to up after a win and never get to down after a loss.
Tonight I'm chucking that out the window.
I think Indiana fans can be forgiven if we celebrate and hold onto this one win like it means something, because frankly it does.
First of all, it is a win. So any win is a good win, but this was something special.
Second it wasn't just a win, it was a win vs. the unbeaten world Champions.
Third it wasn't just a win, it was totall beating.
Look don't kid yourself, I've been around long enough to not jump up and down and declare us the new kings of the hill. However I have also been around long enough to know something special when I see it and this was special.
A show of hands. How many were already making excuses for the team starting 0-4? I know I was.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be .500% 2 games into the season.
We had a packed house, an electric atmosphere and all of the local media in town. The best some of us were hoping for was that we would compete and not turn in a fairgrounds type performance.
Maybe just maybe somebody thought we might sneak out with a win (I will freely admit I was not one of those people) but I don't think anybody thought we would dominate the Celtics the way we did.
I don't want to hear anything about back to backs or our time off. A year ago the would have came in here and kicked our butts if we would have been off for a week and they had played 4 games in 5 nights. This is way to early in the year for teams to use the to many games in to many nights excuse. If this had been January then maybe, but not the first week of the season.
Besides I do NOT believe that fatigue had much to do with it as much as our style of offense had to do with it. T.J. Ford just had them spinning in circles and our off the ball movement had them unable to get set in the defensive stances they like.
However for as decent as our offense was it was not to be outdone by our outstanding defense.
I'll say it now, the combination of Jack, Granger & Rush has the chance to be the greatest defensive combination that our team has ever had.
I'll say that again and yes I mean it. The combination of Jack, Granger & Rush has the chance to be the greatest defensive combination that our team has ever had.
Better than Ricky Sobers and Johnny Davis. Better than Dale, Satan & Woody. Better than Foster, Nutjob and Jones.
Now understand I am not saying they are better now, but I honestly think that if they stay together and develop chemistry that they certainly can.
Secondly I want to say this. I can remember going to the 93/94 season. Even though our record was not good to start the season I vividly remember that the team was differant. That we were physical, we were a buzz saw on defense and there was just an energy there.
Well, I am saying it again. No, I'm not just saying this in a post game drunk of a win vs. the champs. I'm basing this on the pre-season and the first two games.
There is something differant here.
The style is differant, the attitudes are differant and most importantly the defense is differant.
I don't expect a e.c. run like we had in 94 (although no one expected that then either so you never know). But I do expect that I will really really really enjoy this season.
Ok, now the game.
Well just so I don't get totally confused with Mary or Sally Sunshine I will point out something I found disturbing.
Why in the name of God did O'Brien not play McRoberts, Graham or Baston??? If they can not get in the game in the home opener with a blowout going on and Boston already pulling thier starters and pretty much concedeing from about 3 min. out, then when will they play?
It may seem a minor thing now and certainly he can always claim that he coached the team to victory so he can do what he wants, but imagine if Danny had torn an MCL in those last few min. or Troy got a twisted ankle or etc.... I imagine our thoughts on this would be a little differant. However nothing happened so it's ok, I guess.
Now back to the sunshine.
I'm going to start with my favorite person to pick on normally and point out that I thought Marquis Daniels had one hell of a game. He was in Paul Pierce head all night long and his defense was as good as I've seen from him. He certainly was a major part of why Boston was discombobulated all night long.
Two big thumbs up to Daniels from a person who rarely has much good to say about him.
Danny Granger, what can be said other than "the man". Before he lost his teeth the guy was 7-12 from the field and he had Boston on thier heels all night. He had one drive to the basket that we started calling him Dr. Granger because it was so acrobatyc that Julias himself would have been proud. But I think it is important to point this out more than anything else he as done this season.
After he had his teeth bashed in he immediately began to go under the board and battle harder for rebounds. Nobody would have said a word if Danny would have just stayed on the perimeter and shied away from contact. NOPE!!!!!!
He was a warrior born and thus deserves my full Nerd salute
Troy Murphy: At this point in time it is almost not worth pointing out Troy Murphys game to any of you. As with my first odd thoughts of the season I had legions of Murphy haters telling me that rebounds weren't rebounds and that Troy was still basically a bag of crap that should be included in any trade with Jamaal just to get rid of him (ok that last part was hyperbole but that is only because they were trying to be polite).
However the coaching staff seems to disagree with the Haters and management disagree's as well.
So here goes.
Troy Murphy played a hell of a basketball game. He did as good a job of Kevin Garnett that he could do and he played both sides of the court which is so so so important.
I'm not going to break down his game because I'm sure someone else will just to explain again why I'm wrong here. But I take comfort that again he played large min. and played a significant role in our victory.
T.J. Ford: Ok, that's more like it. Offensively he had the Celtics totally out of the game by the first quarter. Rondo all but fouled out in the first half trying to chase him around. Look I get Jay's point about T.J., I do (well that and the fact that he was traded for someone else who Jay prefers but that is a differant story), but in a system like we are trying to run he is almost perfect when things go well. It's when things don't go well that remains to be seen. Defensively he did well, although I would like to see him pressure the ball more, however that is a coaching call not his call so I can't blame him for that.
Jack: While T.J. tore them up offensivley Jack was harrasing the heck out of them on the defensive end. He didn't have any steals or blocks but he certainly forced the Celtics into the corners where our other players were playing out of their minds guarding the passing lanes. His rebounding (along with Daniels) was also outstanding.
BTW, it needs to be pointed out that our point guards had a total of 1 turn over between them.
Rasho: I got sick at my stomach when he went down. This guy is so important to our team that if he is down for an extended time frame I am very worried. I actually consider him like I do Dunleavy, you can't always put your finger on it but for some reason we just play better when he is in there. He doesn't do any one thing particularly well (except maybe for pass the ball) but he does everything above average and seems to always be there for the dependable shot or rebound. I really like Rasho and hope that he returns for our next game.
And now for no real apperant reason I present you the culture of dancing fruit.
Rush: What I liked the most about him, besides his defense, was that he never gave up. He could not hit the ocean from a boat tonight but he never stopped competeing and he never really forced it. It was just one of those nights for him. But he kept up the defense and rebounded the ball all night long.
Hibbert: Great to see the big man get some second half min. Teams so far have doubled him pretty quickly so we don't have a lot of offense yet from him to judge, but he is a big body and he knows how to use it. This guy is so far above and beyond Harrison it's not even fair to compare them. He pretty much rendere Poe useless when he was on the floor with him.
Foster: Thank God he hit his free throws. The fact that this guy still misses point blank layups and putbacks makes me want to pull my hair out of my head but he at least put up some shots. I have a feeling that the coaching staff let Jeff know that 0-0 from the floor is not acceptable. 1-6 is nothing to scream about, but at least he was trying. Other than that, he had his standard game and in about the amount of time I expect from him.
Overall though I am thrilled with the win and let's not forget one other thing for those who want to write this off as a fluke. We were very very very competative vs. the Pistons.
I'll say it now and feel free to throw this up in my face all year long.
I don't fear any team in the NBA. I think our guys can hang with anybody. No, I'm not claiming a title nor am I even proclaiming the playoffs or a winning season. I just think with the new attitude that on any given night we can take out anyone.
P.S. Is there any concern about Mike coming back? I'll be honest here. Yes, defense has been our trademark so far and I wonder how Mike will affect that.
Not to say that Mike is a bad defender, but Rush & Jack our outstanding defenders. I am a little worried about the min. distribution when he returns.
But I don't want to end on a bad note.
I want to end by thanking the Simons, Bird, Morroway and everybody at PS&E for realizing that changes had to happen and for making the best moves possible with what we had to work with.