Odd Thoughts: Hot, Hot, Hot
Written by Peck
I wasnít going to get one of these out tonight but just in case something happens with the Cavaliers I want to at least have something good to say about this amazing game.* It wonít be long and it wonít have much if any real substance (as if any of my odd thoughts ever do) but I felt compelled to get this out there.
Let me get this out of the way right up front and I will not even pretend to listen to anyone who wants to tell me otherwise.
We beat the Miami Heat; they didnít find a way to lose.
Was Haslam hurt?* Yes.
Was Wade hurting? Yes.
I donít care; nobody ever bothers to give us any excuses when our players are convalescing so I am not going to give them any for this game either.* Besides his royal highness was dressed and so was the other tag along player so as far as Iím concerned the Miami Heat put their team on the court.
But forget the Heat this game was about the Indiana Pacers.
To steal an old expression this isnít your Father Pacers.* Or more specifically this is not last years Pacers.* Twelve games in and frankly Iíve seen enough to know that even if we donít have an outstanding record at the end of the season I feel confident enough to say that we are a fundamentally changed ball club.* Same coach, several of the same players but a whole new attitude and most importantly a whole new priority.
Is it the vast improvement by Roy?* Is it a new commitment by Danny?* Is it the insertion of Josh at the four spot?* Is it OíBrien adjusting the defense?
The answer is yes.* Yes to all of the above and so much more.
Look Iím going to go ahead and take a moment to beat on a dead horse, I wonít do it for long & I apologize for the flies but I have to say it.
We donít win this game if Troy Murphy is on our team.* Our team does not commit to defense the way we have this season if Troy Murphy is on our team.* Thatís all Iím going to say on the topic now but I believe this with every fiber of my being.
There are so many heroís from this game and what is funny is that guys who we would normally count on for a big night for us did not really have good nights at all and we still won.
But if you are going to name the biggest hero of the night you would think you have to start with Brandon Rush or you could honestly make the case that T.J. Ford was equally important or even that Danny Grangerís overall game was the reason for the victory.
But if you really want to start with the hero of the night then as much as this is going to pain some of you, if your honest with yourselves on this you know Iím not lying here, you have to say this win was on Jim OíBrien.
Letís start right from the start, what did Jim do?* He did what several of you have wanted him to do for awhile now and started Brandon Rush on Dwayne Wade.* Call it divine inspiration, common sense if you prefer or you can call it by its true name good coaching.* He put the right guy on the right player and the impact was other worldly.* Yes Wade was hurt, I donít care.* Brandon was like a shark and the moment he smelled blood in the water not only did do Godís work on the defensive end he then did the one thing that nobody in Miami & probably Indiana for that matter expected.* He attacked; he attacked the offensive end with such ferocity that Miami had no answer for him at all.* However this might have been a different story had Jim not made the inspired decision to start Brandon.*
Starting Brandon alone would be enough to give him kudos for his coaching job but it didnít stop there.* Our entire defensive scheme that sometimes burns us badly tonight worked like a charm.* Now he said himself after the game had Miami hit the threeís this would have been a different story, but they didnít and thus packing the middle and not allowing clean open drives to the basket paid off and paid off big.* Even with us having to play against the five heat players and the three refereeís that were there to blow their whistle every time a Heat player even pretended to drive did not help on this night.
So for this one night I have nothing and I mean nothing to say about Jim OíBrien other than the highest of praises.* Iím sure that will last till about 7:13 tonight when I see Posey coming in early in the game.
Bullet point shining stars:
- Danny Granger played a solid overall game.* There was one segment in the first half where it was just Danny on LeBron with James having the ball with his back to the basket. He faked right three times, did a hesitation fake left and ultimately had nowhere to go.* He passed to Bosh for a jumper which he hit but in that one play Danny stopped the King cold in his tracks.* Different Danny by far.
- Josh McRoberts had the single most spectacular zero point three rebound five foul game Iíve probably ever seen.* He has got to score at some point in time but this guy tonight was disruptive on the defensive end and the fact that he did not draw foul six but still continued to play aggressive defense is a testament to his skill and a testament to the faith OíBrien showed him.
- T.J. Ford: I know a lot of people clown on him and I get why but at the end of the day right now this is probably the best backup point guard in the NBA.* In fact he probably put the Pacers up with his play and made it so Miami was fighting uphill from there on out.* His defense was solid, his playmaking was good but his shooting was just out of this world good in the first half.
- Solomon Jones was just absolutely outstanding.* As has been pointed out he grabbed more rebounds in this game than he had all the previous games combined.* That together with solid defense and a couple of timely buckets helped the Pacers weather the storm of Roy not having the best of nights and again being in foul trouble (no hate for Roy BTW, itís just good to know Solomon had his back in this game).
Overall this was just a solid game and frankly we have had more solid games than we have not had this season even though we are only .500%.* Losing to Orlando was hard to swallow but anybody who left that game had to pretty much think that we gave them a run for their money did not embarrass ourselves at all.
I just can not get over how much better of a defensive team we are this season.
Now here is the challenge for Brandon Rush.* Nobody expects him to repeat this performance every night, however if he wants to I am certain no one will complain.* But we can not have Ĺ season Brandon.* Half of the season being meek & timid while just standing out at the three point line and the other half teasing us all into thinking that you are going to be the 16 point 5 rebound second team all defensive player that some want to think you can be.* Just give us solid effort every game, take the ball to the rack at least three to four times a game and play solid defense and we will all be happy.
We can lament future losses at another time, we can look for weaknesses and fallacies within the franchise at a future date.* However on this night we must proclaim the Pacers like Caesar before them victorious.
*Veni, vidi, vici