In all honesty I didn’t want to do one of these tonight. I just don’t want to add to what I’m sure is already an overwhelming display of negativity and doom and gloom. To continue with my honesty I will admit to something. We got up and left at the end of the 3rd quarter which is the earliest we’ve left a game in a long long time. Actually we debated leaving somewhere in the 2nd quarter but I made us stick it out till when we left.
I don’t even know where to begin or what to say. This was as bad of basketball that we have played since, well the last time we played the Heat.
Let’s just say it now, until further notice the Miami Heat are our Lords & Masters. Not only can we not beat them apparently we can not even compete with them. That was the worst part about the game, from about 3 min. into the game it was over. If a game could have been called after the 1st quarter this one was certainly eligible.
Look there is nothing wrong with losing to the Heat; lots of teams lose to the Heat. But to not even compete is just, well it’s disheartening from a fan standpoint and downright disgusting from anybody’s standpoint.
So this is two home games that they have had large crowds for and gone out and played like absolute garbage. Hard to get on the locals about not coming to the games when 4 of the last 6 home games have resulted on losses and the 2 wins were by the skin of our teeth against a less than stellar team (Nets) and a team finishing up a huge road trip (Utah).
I said this after Denver, we haven’t played a good game since we beat Dallas and after tonight I am actually now one step beyond worried. Tonight for certain it’s not the loss but the way we lost and the lack of competitive spirit we displayed for the game.
Whenever I look at a problem from the team I usually start with the defensive end of the floor and tonight there were so many problems I don’t even know where to begin. Our defensive rotations in general lately have been late or non existent but it was really exasperated by the Heat offense. They would rotate the ball and often times their players were hitting wide open 10-15’ jump shots. But then when they weren’t doing that they were strolling to the rim as though nobody was there, which tonight nobody was.
Not to be outdone by lousy defense our rebounding was beyond pathetic. How bad was our rebounding? Darren Collison led us with 7 rebounds, that’s how bad it was. If it wasn’t so damn sad it would have been comical. We would let one guy go for offensive rebounds so we could get back and cover the breaks. Which is sound strategy with one small exception; we never stopped the transition baskets.
We have gotten so far from what got us to our winning record that it’s sad. Defense, offensive rebounding, rebounding in general, getting to the free throw line and working harder than every other team was what made us what we were. It was called smash mouth basketball and right now that seems like a lifetime ago.
Our next game vs. the Cavaliers is almost a no win game for this team. Win and while it will stop the bleeding nobody is going to be overly happy about it because you are supposed to win. Lose on the other hand and I think Pacer fans will go from concerned to apocalyptic, which I’m sure there are already several people yelling to blow it up or tank.
We’re not there; we’re not even close to there. So those of you who are already looking at the future draft I’m here to tell you that this team is not done. We still are a winning team and have a playoff berth.
But by the same token any sane Pacers fan can look out there right now and see that there has been a fundamental shift in the way we have played over the past few weeks. People who are concerned are not wrong to be that way. This loss while only just one loss was troubling in so many ways. Not competing is never good, they were on the 3rd game in 3 nights, and we’ve had 3 days of rest. That is another troubling thing, after the Denver game so many of us were saying & frankly I convinced myself as well, that the team was just exhausted, run down and out of energy. We needed time off. We got it, it didn’t matter.
We came out lifeless, listless and just provided no form of resistance to Miami at all.
When you have one or two players you can put your finger on then you look at one or two players. When you have a total collapse of a system or team, well again I hate to do it, but you have to look at coaching. Something has changed over the past few weeks. It may just be Hill, but I doubt it. George Hill playing or not playing doesn’t make one bit of difference in this game, it might have in all of the other losses but not this one.
Somehow both our offense & defense have changed. Frank made a point of telling us early on that our offense was designed to get two big men at the basket to help with offensive rebounding, that is now all but gone. I have faith that he can turn this around but right now they have to look at what they are running and maybe even who they are running.
Ok, I’ll try and look at the players but again being honest here I did not see the 4th quarter.
Dahntay Jones is a gamer. I’ll take 12 Dahntay Jones on the roster and go against anybody. He’s not afraid of any player and treated LeBron James as though he were James Jones. No he didn’t stop LeBron or even really affect him but he played hard against him and never backed down and tried desperately to spark any kind of offense without being out of control. He needs to work on boxing out on the glass a little bit but as a backup small forward I have no complaints for him at all.
Danny Granger rolled his ego at the end of the 1st quarter went to the locker room and did not return. His ego is day to day at this point.
David West did not have the great game his offensive statistics are going to imply. Frankly speaking for a starting power forward to play 25 min. and grab 2 rebounds is beyond nauseating. His help side defense is non existent and frankly his man to man defense wasn’t good either. Now he did attack Miami and did get his offensive groove going better than almost anyone on our team. But don’t let the fact that he led us in scoring fool you into thinking he had a good game, he did not.
Roy Hibbert didn’t shoot a single free throw. Now honestly it’s hard to play Miami because yes the referee’s tend to give them every benefit of the doubt and never seem to call them for obvious things. But you have to also take it at them and make the refs. either make the call or make it so obvious that even the NBA has to question the calls. Roy did not do that tonight. Now again to Roy’s credit it is very possible that Joel Anthony is the leader from the Hulk Comic books (look him up to see his huge head and tell me they are not one and the same) so he might outsmart Roy and everybody else. But Roy has recently gone back to being Mr. Pushover in the post as well. No more do we see Roy backing down the opponents big man for that 2-3’ hook shot. Now he is just flipping it up from 4-5’ and sometimes just missing it right at the rim. But it is on the defensive side of the floor we are missing Roy the most right now. Gone are the days of him getting tough contested rebounds, gone is the shot blocking presence that we had (although he got 2 tonight I don’t think he is intimidating anyone anymore from going in there).
Paul George just played poorly. His shot was off and sadly it was not because of Miami’s defense. He was just missing wide open shots. Sometimes that happens so we can live with that. But the 6 turnovers were a little much.
Darren Collison played worse than poorly. I don’t know if this is by design (God I hope it is not) or if Darren is just so bad at defense sometimes that opposing point guards routinely get right at the rim vs. our club. It’s like he can’t keep them in front of him. It happens so often though that I haven’t wondered if they aren’t trying to set some interior trapping defense that just fails to materialize because our power forwards just don’t rotate fast enough. But then surely to God Frank is not that dumb. I don’t know though, it happens a lot.
Tyler Hansbrough is a mystery to me. The mystery to me is why have we been cutting back his time 3-4 min. a game? Tonight for example he only played 19 min. and in that time he got 3 less points and 2 more rebounds than West. Neither of them are what you would call the Gary Payton of the power forward position on defense so this is really kind of mystery to me why Tyler has gone down this much. If anything Roy probably shouldn’t have played as much. Oh who am I kidding in this game it didn’t really matter. But overall I know he had a slump that was extended but he seems past that, yet we still are only giving him the min. he got when he was slumping. Not sure what is up there.
In the short time Lance & A.J. played when I was there they both did ok. Nothing great nothing so bad that I want to scream about either.
Look we all need to probably just take a nice cleansing deep breath here. We can regroup and get this team headed back in the right direction without making major changes.
But the team can not and I repeat can NOT come out and play like that at home again the rest of the season. Losing is bad, but it’s the NBA people understand that nobody has a perfect season. But nobody is happy about laying down any kind of hard earned money and see that kind of effort.