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Tonight we are just going to hit the highlights and were doing it bullet point style. First though let me just state that while this was not the best game we have ever played and I won’t say it was the most important because we have a lot more games to go, I will say that this may have been the most impressive win of the season so far.
Why, you may ask? Honesty I thought we played like crap the entire first half and our two best players both had sub par to horrendous nights. Yet we still walked out of there with a 20+ point victory. That tells you where we are as a team really & I don’t think for one min. it was the quality of the competition (well minus Diaw).
Let’s start with some odd random observations from the fieldhouse.
• Paul George had a choreographed intro semi dance that he did with George Hill when he came out. If he has done this before I have never seen it. If nothing else I think this shows some team camaraderie. Or maybe he just knew Haywood Workman was one of the refs and wanted to make him reminisce about the good old days.
• The choice to use “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes as the music to play while the teams go to the circle was brilliant. While about every other arena has “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Crazy Train” playing overhead I thought that this actually set a nice tone for a younger team and it helped that we had a packed house that constantly did the back ground vocals along with the music.
• Crowd was large tonight, don’t know if a lot of these were comps because I know there were some given out tonight, but again the home team made more fans for themselves by taking advantage of a pro Pacer crowd on a near sell out.
• Am I the only person who ever wonders if we offer to retire Haywood’s number if he will give us the benefit of the doubt on all home calls?
• When Tyler Hansbrough grabbed his own rebound off of his missed free throw and then was fouled again Frank Vogel turned towards the bench and had a grin on his face that was as big as a Cheshire cat and all he said very loudly was “Damn”. Which cracked up the rest of the bench.
• When Henderson knocked Hill off and Frank had to wrap up George to get him away the first person to step in was Tyler and you could tell by the way he was approaching the scene that he was not really wanting the skirmish to end quickly. In other words I think Tyler wasn’t so much stepping between them as he was stepping up to Henderson.
• How Boris Diaw continues to bamboozle teams not only into giving him a contract but in starting him is just a mystery to me. Obviously tonight was one of his worst performances but man this guy is just really not that good.
• Also at one point in time tonight I had to laugh as I reminded myself that Tyrus Thomas was actually traded for LeMarcus Aldridge. Pritchard still probably has to laugh about that one as well.
• Bismack Biyombo is as raw as they come but man he sure does have the basics to work with. If he can develop his game at all he will be a player in the future to watch. Not quite as tall as I thought he would be but the dude can sky.
• Paul George did not have a good game.
• George Hill had an outstanding game and his defensive presence on that second unit can not be over stated. Now that he has found his shot, whew that back 5 is going to be a load for most teams on most nights.
• I think in truth that is what happened tonight, we just kept hitting them with so many different combinations and players that we are so deep that they just could not keep up. Basically we over ran them with depth, strength and size.
• However I do want to say that Darren Collison & David West did have a little run going there in the beginning of the third that not only brought us back but got us the lead. I know Darren has his weaknesses but he can get his shot off with the best of them when he has to.
• I was proud of Danny for not forcing up bad shots in abundance but not backing away from taking shots either. He is a shooter and the only way to get out of this is for him to keep on shooting, eventually it will break. But in the mean time he has to balance that out with making sure he plays a good overall game. Tonight was just a sub par night for him but the fact that we won by a large margin and both he and Paul struggled are very encouraging signs.
Being 6-2 eight games in sure is a nice treat, but the schedule this next week looks like a gauntlet of good teams in to many nights. Let’s hope the guys are rested and maybe just maybe Danny and Paul can come out of their funk together on Monday in Philly.
Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13