Don’t worry Kevin Love, nobody’s mad at you. You can’t help yourself, you were the victim so nobody should blame the victim right? I mean you can’t help that you were on the tracks when the Pacers Train came rolling through. We understand your frustration. I mean normally your grabbing, holding, flopping and whining works. You just happened to be facing a team that this didn’t work on. So once again, nobody’s mad, in fact on behalf of the state of Indiana let me apologize to you for our team being to tough, physical and good.
You have no idea how tempted I was tonight just to go find some giant blown up picture of Danny Granger and just post that as my odd thoughts. Then I thought, nah vnzla81 really would miss out on reading about what a good job Danny did and none of us would want to deprive him of that.
First let me make this statement. After watching two games now of the throwback jerseys I want to officially tell the Indiana Pacers that it’s time for new uniforms. I understand we won’t go with the old uniforms and that is fine but we need something with some flavor as our last two have just been downright vanilla and no I do NOT want to see pinstripes again. Nor do I want to see gold uniforms. But we must go with Royal Blue like these throwbacks whatever design we use.
Now to the game.
Again this was a trap of a game, we just played last night, we had a tough win and this is a talented young team that is beating good teams. So this was another chance for the club to exhale and lose one. Didn’t happen and the more they play the more confident they become the better they seem to be getting. Right now there are a lot of teams in the East playing at a high % so while we are winning more than 70% of our games we still are stuck at the # 5 spot. It doesn’t get any easier after tonight either, we have to go down and play the NBA champs at their house right after they lost tonight.
But if there is one thing I’ve come to learn about our team so far it is this, never underestimate them or their ability.
In fact at some point in time we are going to have to understand that other teams are seeing the Pacers on the calendar and thinking that this is a tough game with one of the better teams. In fact that is probably already happening somewhat. Because while we are still a national secret in terms of visibility believe me teams know about us by now.
As to the Wolves, they have some nice players and in fact I really was confused that they didn’t play Williams a little more as I thought he was very effective when he played. That Pekovic is just a horse of a man and he is so danged strong. He doesn’t appear to be overly skilled but he seems serviceable. Rubio had a less than spectacular game but I think I can explain that for them. Playing him tonight at the shooting guard spot was a mistake. This allowed Collison to play Ridnour and thus Rubio got the pleasure of running into the buzz saw defense of Paul George early and Dahntay Jones late (more on this in a min.) if he would have just played the point with either Williams or Johnson at the 2 then I am not sure Darren would have been able to guard him.
Now back to the Dahntay thing. This my friends is why Frank Vogel is such a breath of fresh air from what we had before. This was another in game adjustment that Frank made. It might have been made out of necessity by George’s foul trouble and Lance’s sub par (being kind here) game. But nonetheless he made the change and you could tell that Dahntay was guarding Ricky so close that he was like an extra layer of skin. This definitely bothered Rubio as for the most part in the second half he was invisible.
Overall this was just another in a long string of impressive victory’s for our club. Let’s do tonight’s Odd Thoughts in bullet point style.
• Danny Granger got mad and the Timberwolves got crushed. Danny is one of those very rare players that can take anger and use it in a controlled way to improve his game. Most players get out of control or totally lose their emotions when this happens. Not Danny, he just plays better. Sort of like madder Danny gets stronger Danny gets. He was just unconscious in the second half and he did all of this while still rebounding and still trying to defend. I mean for the love of God he got 36 points on only 19 shots. I don’t really have to talk about his game because his game speaks for itself. This was just a superb job by the Captain.
• Darren Collison was getting everything that Danny wasn’t in that third quarter. At one point in time when he made another of what seemed like 100 uncontested layups I am certain he turned and yelled “Luke I am your Father” to Ridnour. Don’t get me wrong Luke had a decent game himself but he was left in the dust in the second half by Darren. On top of his 20 points he also tallied 9 assists with 2 steals while only turning the ball over twice. Nice comeback game for Darren.
• Paul George’s baseline drive, crossover step back jumper to me was as nice as that dunk was last night. He must have cleared 5 foot of space when he did that and there was no way Webster was going to defend that. That move is what makes him so special and the fact that he followed up last nights game with another aggressive offensive game just thrilled me to death. Some very rancid foul calls on him limited his time on the floor tonight, so he will be fresh for Friday and he absolutely must be as aggressive then as well. His help side blocked shot was also great. If he didn’t have foul trouble I think he was well on his way to another 20 point game.
• Roy Hibbert plays so well so consistently that it’s almost to the point where you take him for granted. If I didn’t see the box score I probably would have thought Roy had closer to a 10 point 6 rebound game. He just plays so much within the confines of the game that I guess I often don’t notice how big his stats are till it’s over. There is not a better center not named Howard in the East. If he is not an all-star they really should just do away with the position for the game.
• Dahntay Jones has already been discussed but once again we need to appreciate what this guy brings to the team and how not only is he a willing bench player but he is a great team mate. But this is not just a towel waver he can really play and when he locks in on defense he is pretty tough. His stats won’t show how important he was in this game.
• Lance Stephenson was just flat out too excited. He came in and turned the ball over on 3 straight plays. He recovered from the poor start and didn’t make any more mistakes but he also didn’t provide anything else either. Young man will get it going, I have faith. He did stay with his man on defense so at least he wasn’t a sieve or anything.
• Lou Amundson came in and gave us a heat check. Hard to blame him when he was 8 for his last 8, but I don’t think I really want Lou coming in and taking a 14 or so foot shot right off the bat without the shot clock running out. Other than that though he is another player that if you only look at his stats you will think he had less than a stellar game. The fact is he was part of the brigade of big bad Pacers who act all tough and stuff that so offends Kevin Love. He gave Kevin a little of his own medicine with some holding, pushing and shoving of his own. In the matter of a week I think Lou has finally integrated himself into our team’s makeup and is now giving exactly what you want from a backup center that is normally going to play 10 min or less a game.
• A.J. Price was A.J. Price. He came in and hit his first shot thus felt not only empowered but compelled to shoot from there forward. Obviously we have to give him somewhat of a break as he has very little time on the floor. But A.J. also has to understand that we have a new coach now, our point guard needs to point more than he needs to look for his own. Again, no hate for him and I have a lot of faith that he will come up big for us in the next few games.
• Tyler Hansbrough is just really having a tough time of it. It is pretty obvious that not only have other teams adjusted to him I think the referee’s are as well. He does not get the calls like he was getting early on and in fact they let a lot of teams slap, hit and gouge at him. He did have a great pass out of the post to Paul for an open three and he did help a little on the boards. Frank has ideas on how to get him going so I will just have faith in him. Overall not a bad game but not really a game to write home about either.
• David West did help on the boards and had a great outlet pass and did have some decent mid range jumpers. But he was in foul trouble and when he went out in the second half I was really worried, fortunately thanks to Danny and Darren it didn’t matter. But he was the leader of the group of brigands that so offended Kevin Love. As he was very physical with him all night long.
Yes my friends I think we need to understand one thing. We matter. If we didn’t matter nobody would care about what kind of team we were or if we celebrated or if we are punks or whatever. Over the past few years the Pacers were a team that didn’t matter. We may have caught some teams by surprise on occasion but nobody was holding press conference declaring revenge. Usually they just smiled and said well they got us tonight, knowing they would get us next.
That is not longer the case. We are now in the minds of several teams and frankly if we are going to be a real team, one that actually wins a lot, this is a good thing.
For the Haters.