We are still a very inconsistent basketball team and on any given night against almost any given opponent you really don’t know which team will show its face.
But no matter how you look at it going 2-1 on a 3 games in 3 nights is a good thing, it certainly beats going 1-2 or even 0-3.
Oddly enough I did not realize before the game that the bucks were also on game 3 of 3 nights as well and had to fly in from Charlotte last night. However they had to land in Chicago due to fog and drive up, not arriving till 1:30 a.m. I have no idea what time the Pacers arrived but it couldn’t have been but maybe 2-3 hours before that so that is no excuse.
On this night we got the good Pacers, you know the one’s who when they play like this make many of us long time observers proclaim greatness and that nobody wants to play us in the Playoffs. This is of course the opposite side of the Pacers, you know the one’s that make many of us long time observers proclaim how much they suck and that we really would have been better off with a high lottery pick.
Now I know that we have been filled with a lot of gloom over the past month, and with good reason, however there is another slight trend starting to develop. We are starting to play a little better on a more consistent basis. The Suns game was just one of those times where we played pretty good but just not good enough. A stop here and a score there and we might have had a 3-0 series.
But let’s just focus on tonight’s game.
First and foremost I always start any and all postings whenever we play against any team coached by Scot Skiles by stating my admiration for him as a coach. Since Larry Brown finally lost his mind prior to getting put out of the league I believe Scot is the best coach in the game. Now to be honest he has some very stiff competition by Thibadeau up in Chicago & of course our very own Frank Vogel, but till further notice I still believe Scot is the best. The fact that he can take that train wreck of a roster and have them winning 7 of their previous 8 games prior to our game is just unbelievable. When Scot was a player (yes sadly I’m old enough to remember him as a Pacer) he was the kind of player who would bite you rather than let you get around him to score. While the Bucks don’t defend at the level I am used to his teams defending he still has them trying to.
At the end of the day the Bucks are just too small. Yes they will be able to win some regular season games but under no circumstance do I think they can do any kind of damage in the playoffs. They might win a game or two but that is only because they have a punchers chance. Our starting shooting guard is as tall as their center.
That doesn’t mean that they aren’t talented and it doesn’t take anything away from the victory, it’s just an observation that if that club is ever going to do anything they are going to have to make it so poor Drew Gooden, who is playing out of his mind good for them, doesn’t have to face the 7’2” Roy Hibbert or Dwight Howard. Vnzla told me on twitter and I agree with him, the Bucks need to really pursue Chris Kaman in the off season.
Ok, enough about them.
Let us once again bask in the glory that is the Indiana Pacers.
The word for tonight is efficiency.
As a team we shot 51.2% from the field & 58.3% from the three point line. More often than not when you shoot that well you are going to win, obviously the Suns game was the other side of that but for now we will all just pretend like that game didn’t happen.
But the one thing that I want everyone to circle the date on the calendar for is this. We more than doubled the Bucks from the free throw line. We shot 38 free throw shots to their 18.
Remember at the beginning of the season when we were really good? Remember what some of us were just gushing over, well besides the fact that we were actually rebounding, playing tough, not chucking three’s like a Gatling gun and Satan was not attempting to spread his evil over the masses from our sidelines. We were thrilled because we were out shooting our opponents from the line and doing it quite often.
You do that when you only take 12 three point shots. You do that when your small forward attacks the rim and doesn’t settle for a jumper. You do that when both of your backup guards drive the lane.
I know that the opponent wasn’t really that tough on the interior but let’s just go ahead and say it, during this game we played smash mouth basketball. There was a real concerted effort to attack the rim and take it inside.
The night was also not without its comic relief either. We had in the matter of a few min. Mike Dunleavy blocking a shot like he was Ben Wallace to then turn around and channel Rick Mahorn and lay out Tyler Hansbrough by being the enforcer. I fully expected the next sequence of events would be for George Hill to flip the ball out to Lou Amundsen who would rise up and swish a three.
Overall though this was just another game where we came together and the sum was greater than the parts as several players played good to great games and the team overall was just a juggernaut.
Let’s do the Good the Bad & the Ugly.
Very tempted to just say the entire team and leave it at that but that would be cheap.
David West: He set the tone early. He very intentionally took the ball down in the painted area and made Ilyasova attempt to guard him, which he could not. I like him as a good young player (hard to imagine he is only 24) but he just could do absolutely nothing against the girth and width of David West and the fact that West can hit that nice mid range shot did not allow him to back off of him. Even when West missed he was making the defense react to him so both Danny & Roy could get in place for offensive rebounds. He also had 7 boards to go along with his 15 points and a block.
Roy Hibbert: Just absolutely befuddled Gooden all night long, which btw is no real shame to Drew. Roy has two things going for him in this matchup. 1. He is actually pretty good when he is on, God knows we’ve all seen enough of Roy when he is not on to know that he in theory could have trouble here. But when he is actually good Roy and on, Drew Gooden has no hope in hell of stopping him. 2. He is 7’2” tall and you can’t teach that. At best Gooden is 6’10” (I don’t know or care what he is listed at he is no taller than either West or George) and he just could not even reach the ball when Roy held it up.
Danny Granger: The single most impressive thing for Danny tonight was that he made a very concerted effort to drive the ball and not settle for the jumper that he can get at almost any time. His reward for doing this, he got to shoot 10 free throw shots hitting 9. That is something you want to see from him every game if you can. Also he just kills me when he does that dribble between the legs pull up for a jumper move. Like he is Michael Jordan or something, fortunately for everyone involved (well minus Delfino) he made the shot. Also for those of you keeping score at home Danny Granger had 15 points on the night and Monta Ellis had 11 and the Pacers won again. At this rate I believe that Danny and the team would welcome playing whatever team Ellis is on at least 10 times a year.
George Hill: Assassin. George just came in and became Kano on the Bucks and ripped out their hearts. He all but shut Jennings out of the game once he was on him on one end and just scored at will on the other end. BTW Collison did an excellent job on Brandon as well tonight. I know he is supposed to be a good player but I swear that I have never seen the guy have a good game. Anyway back to George he was just on a murderous rampage in the second half, which is good considering he didn’t play worth a crap the two previous games.
Darren Collison: I’m going to go ahead and throw him a bone here because even though the numbers don’t show it I think he had a very good game. For once his defense didn’t make me want to gouge out my eyes and his speed came in so handy that Jennings had to foul him because he couldn’t keep him in front of him, which made me question if this was opposite day.
Dahntay Jones: To add insult to injury to those who like Monta Ellis, ahem you know who you are, Dahntay outscored him as well. For whatever reason he was on a mission to score tonight and when you hit 3 of 5 from three point range I guess you earn the right to take a few shots. Solid play on both ends of the floor and he was rewarded with extended min.
Hard to say that anybody really played bad for us but if there was one player who you would say didn’t have the best of games it would be Paul George. This is about 3 or 4 games in a row now that he has got into some foul trouble and turned the ball over more than you would care to see happen. I’d like to say that his defense held firm but he only got to play for 14 min. tonight so it’s hard to say.
Monta Ellis: For a guy that someone compared to Derrick Rose & LeBron James in his ability to score he sure hasn’t scored much vs. the Pacers. Or if he has then I guess that makes Danny Granger Michael Jordan.
The one truly great thing about this win was that it made it so we didn’t have to suffer a three game losing streak as we are going to face the Heat mercifully for the last time on Monday.
I don’t have to have a win, I don’t even have to have a loss of 5 points or less. But for the love of God could we please make certain that we don’t get put away in the 1st quarter.
Hey who knows though we might catch a break and they will rest the big three thinking that they can take us without them.