We lost; I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on it. I won’t even make excuses because at the end of the day it changes nothing, it doesn’t matter if we were tired it doesn’t matter that we were off. At the end of the day it will only show up as a loss in the W-L column so there is no point in even worrying about any of that.
Would it have been nice to have George Hill for this game? You know it, but injuries are part of the game. They were and have been missing Nelson and tonight Davis. So in a way they were missing more than we were.
Since I’m not going to fall onto the excuses and I am going to try and keep my disdain to a minimum for a team that shoots what I consider an inordinate amount of three point shots (I have to because tonight we only shot three less 3 point field goals than they did) and I won’t bore you with my diatribe about why Ryan Anderson is Troy Murphy and Tim Thomas illegitimate love child and that if he wasn’t clinging to Howards jersey he wouldn’t even be a spot player for the Washington Wizards.. I’ll just try and look at this from the perspective of “it’s was just one of those nights” and be grateful that this year that happens far less than it has in years past.
First some good news from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was officially a sell out. I mean they were still all but giving away tickets but it worked and the place was packed. So initially the atmosphere was quite good. As to stars in the crowd I think a lot of people had to be disappointed because unless they showed them on TV the only ones they showed over head at the fieldhouse was Floyd Mayweather & of all people Travis Best. We did learn that 50 cent was present but was not announced. So if people were looking for this when they came they left disappointed.
Now some other good news. We had the spark of life in Tyler Hansbrough tonight, more on him later but at least this was a good sign.
Also what would a Pacers game be without Danny Granger getting into an argument with an opponent? It wouldn’t be nearly as fun and yes once again after he got mad he hit a couple of shots (which if you saw tonight’s game you know that was a miracle) but could not sustain it for any time.
On top of all of this, as bad as we played, as horrid as we shot, we still had a chance at the end of the game to tie this up. I am not sure if the team just couldn’t get it done or frankly if they just didn’t want to go to over time because by this time both teams were pretty much playing the game with their hands on their hips.
So the takeaway from that is this. They didn’t give up, they didn’t get blown out and they still almost came away with this game.
Oh also I can’t help but to complain about this, Ryan Anders traveled on that last play on the inbounds. Michael Flatly doesn’t move his feet any more when dancing than Anderson did there but there was no call. I realize that the refs. generally are not going to make that call but he sure as heck traveled big time.
Tyler Hansbrough: Please for the love of God, build on this. He took it right to the Magic all night long. Of course his jumper was falling so that helped but he also went inside a lot and drew fouls. He also was hitting the boards. We are desperately going to need this from him on Tuesday because Utah is just filled with big bodies and when he is such a strong asset from the bench we are generally a hard team to beat. It was great to see this Tyler back again & let us pray that this is the start of him getting back to being him.
Dahntay Jones: His defense tonight was just outstanding. I can’t think of a time this year where he has played better on the defensive end. You know how you can tell that Dahntay has grown as a player here? When he pinned that shot against the glass and kept the ball driving it the length of the courts each and every person on here and at the fieldhouse just knew he was going to take that to the rim. Well surprise he did drive to the rim but instead hit the cutting Collison for an uncontested layup. Between himself & Tyler they brought the team back into this game in the 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarter. Why they were replaced is beyond me.
Lou Amundson: He physically beat on Howard from the min he came in the game. He was involved in several key defensive stands and either had a block or a steal or a deflection when the game started to turn on almost every defensive play. Dwight did not push him around at all & in fact I would be interested in seeing how many points he scored when Lou was in.
So the theme from tonight was the exact opposite of last night, our bench did very well while our starters struggled.
Ok first and foremost I want to say that bad is a relative term here. I’m not making excuses per say but I absolutely believe that several of our key players were just fatigued and out of it. So when I list somebody here you may wonder why, I will try and explain on each one.
Danny Granger: Love the fighting spirit, love that he hit his free throws. But if I ever see him take 9 three point shots in a game again when he isn’t even hitting 4 of them I will scream. Look the guy is gassed; there was no doubt about it. Even those of you that hate him have to admit that Danny Granger is not going to air ball an open three point shot and shoot the ball 2 foot short of the rim. Now my complaint is that he should never have been settling for those shots but I can tell you he didn’t have his legs under him. But even I can’t deny that this game has to go down in the bad category even though somehow he managed to lead our team in scoring. Also I will credit him with hitting the boards.
Paul George: Just like Danny he did not have his legs. His shot was flat and I will say that this was because of no energy. However he get’s put here for the same reason Danny is here. He settled for the three point shot too early and too often. Over half of his shots from the field were from behind the arc and that is just too often when he wasn’t hitting. However he did a lot of other things on the floor including some fine defense and somehow lead our team in assists. But if there was any one real complaint tonight it would have been this. Stop fouling people in the act of shooting or if you must do that for the love of God don’t let them get the shot up. 3 of his 4 fouls resulted in an and 1 situation including the dreaded four point play from Reddick.
Roy Hibbert: Ok, here we might have a problem. No, not because he had a bad game but because when that ball went through his fingers at the end of the game Roy sulked and went and set on the bench with his head down and did not join the team huddle and did not talk with anyone on the bench. We’ve seen this happen to Roy before where something goes wrong and he goes into a funk. Roy hasn’t had a lot of luck lately on the offensive end, which I have never considered his fault it’s just the way teams are defending us. But I hope that between his lack of an offensive output and this mistake tonight he doesn’t go into a shell. Overall though Roy was like every other one of our starters in the fact that he was gassed and just had no energy to go after Howard tonight. Hey Dwight is the best center in the entire world right now so having him outplay you is no big thing. I just hope Roy holds his head up high and moves on.
David West: The best thing he could have done all night long was just punch Ryan Anders square in the jaw. It may not have done anything for the game and we would have lost him for a game or two but I sure would have felt better. We probably did a really poor job of getting him any form of shot tonight. I hate to keep beating this drum but like every player on this list he was just gassed and could not keep up. Again I’m not using that as an excuse; this schedule is going to kick every team in the *** this year so we can’t whine about it. But the reality of it is he played almost 40 min. last night and just had no lift and no speed (not that he ever has much of either normally but even less so tonight).
Darren Collison: How do you play almost 39 min. on the floor as a point guard and not get a single assist? I mean in all honesty some of it was that nobody was hitting, but Darren wasn’t getting anybody easy shots either. He did a decent job on defense but he was not spectacular either. I guess I still think this was a disappointing performance but like all of the other starters I think he was running on fumes.
Lance Stephenson: I mean this in all honestly Lance, and yes I do realize the irony of me saying this, you need to develop an outside shot. A three would be fine but something anything besides your driving layup. Diamond Dave stated this after the game and it is real. The problem with Lance on the floor and him not being the point guard with the ball is this. Players on our club can’t drive, draw defenders and then kick it out to Lance because he does nothing with it other than pass it off or attempt a drive. He played almost 11 min and did not even attempt a shot tonight, somewhere Brandon Rush is smiling at this. His defense was decent, which we should all be proud of. But he is doing nothing to make an argument that once Hill comes back he should retain any of this additional playing time.
A.J. Price: He has not got a problem getting up a shot. However he just has problem making them. I’m listing both he and Lance here because they combined to score the exact same amount that I did tonight in the game. Like Lance he had a decent turn on defense but both of these are somewhat negated by the fact that Orlando doesn’t really have any good ball handlers so defense is a little easier against them.
The Larry Storch of the NBA
No friends we aren’t going to make excuses but we aren’t going to hang our heads either. We went 4-1 over a pretty tough stretch of games and that is not shabby at all. We just need a couple of days off, regroup and come back to attack the Jazz.
The next week is no easier as we once again are going to be playing a group of teams that is vying for the playoffs. But on the other hand they have to play us as well and that is no longer an easy thing to do.