ZAP THE ZARDS!
Game Time Start: 7:00 PM EST
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: D. Stafford, B. Barnaky, D. Collins
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Washington Notes
Local TV: FSI
Local Radio: WIBC 93.1 FM
- NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
- NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
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Season Records: (W-L)
29-20 (Home: 15-7) 11-38 (Road: 5-19)
Upcoming Games: Mar 31 Apr 01 Apr 03 Apr 04 Apr 06 at at vs at vs 8:30 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm
Projected Starting Lineup: C PF SF SG PG HIBBERT WEST GRANGER GEORGE COLLISON Projected Starting Lineup: C PF SF SG PG NENE SERAPHIN SINGLETON CRAWFORD WALL
Kyrylo Fesenko, getting into wacky hijinks in Point Place, WI, out
Tyler Hansbrough, hammered by Dunleavy's soft Irish skin, probable
Andray Blatche, voted off the island, out
Trevor Booker, knee tendonitis, questionable
Rashard Lewis, gettin' too old for this ****, out
Nene, back spasms, questionable
Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points, Nine Seconds PreviewReview: Jared Wade: Pacers Need to Figure Out Their Identity
Last Thursday in Washington, the Pacers came out with no energy and
were down 20 by halftime to the 11-win Wizards. Indiana managed
just 31 points in the opening two quarters. This, especially juxtaposed
with the Wizards 34-point first quarter, looked like the classic case of
a more talented team that thought they could just show up and win.
Somewhat ironically, they did, coming back in thrilling fashion to pull
off a victory in the final minute.
Some Pacer fans’ fears may have been confirmed the next night,
however, as the team went out and surrendered 113 points to the
then-sub.-500 Phoenix Suns during an up-tempo loss in Indianapolis.
Combined, that back-to-back series wasn’t exactly the finest two days
of the year for this franchise.
No matter. All was again right soon enough in Pacer Nation, as the
blue and gold beat the mighty Miami Heat by 15 a few days later. It
was easily their best win since they beat the NBA champion Mavericks
in Dallas in early February. Time to start saving up for those second-
round playoff tickets, right?
Of course, these are the 2011-12 Pacers so no good times can last
forever. In this case, they didn’t even last 48 hours.
Tonight, the Pacers turned a should-be, mundane victory over the Nets
into a 16-point blowout loss. For New Jersey, it was their largest win
of the year. For the Pacers, according to their most-experienced player,
it was quite possibly their lowest moment of the season.
If Pacers fans are confused, they’re not alone. David West was
genuinely flummoxed after the game, literally shaking his head in
disgust while staring at a post-game stat sheet that he apparently kept
thinking might change. “This is a rough loss for us,” said West. “I don’t
know if we’ve had a worse loss for the year...There’s just no excuse for
us to come out and play the way we played.”
He struggled to come up with words to describe his frustration,
something that was as visible in the locker room after the game as it
was on the court when he was whistled for a foul after needlessly
pushing Kris Humphries in the back under the hoop after the Nets made
— yet another — easy basket in the fourth quarter. “This is a hard one
to explain,” said West. “We just didn’t play well enough. We had an
opportunity to put some [wins] together here. We’ve got back-to-backs
for the next two weeks...so we just can’t come out and play like this
against a team like the Nets. We’re the ones fighting for the playoffs,
and we’ve got something to play for. That’s just embarrassing.”
The team’s coach didn’t try to sugar-coat the effort issues either. ”I
think every team in the NBA has nights where the energy isn’t there
— and that was certainly the case tonight,” said Pacers Coach Frank
Vogel. “Am I concerned? Yeah...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Grantland: Jonathan Abrams: What happens when you get traded?
Last Friday night, Leandro Barbosa and Nene met up in a place neither could
have envisioned a few weeks ago. The duo from Brazil had both been traded
and were suiting up for one of their first games with their new teams. The
jerseys were still a little awkward. Nene was in the red, white, and blue of
the Wizards and Barbosa dressed in the navy and gold of the Indiana Pacers.
They found familiarity in one another that night, but little else. Before the
game, Nene, used to entering the Verizon Center as a visitor, made a wrong
turn in the passageways of the arena. The Wizards acquired him as a long-
term solution to steady the frontcourt when JaVale McGee's potential finally
ground itself out into aggravation. It must be strange for Nene — just 100
days ago, he entered free agency as the top center in the market and in
firm position to decide his own future. He spurned offers from New Jersey,
Indiana, and Houston to stay in Denver, signing a five-year contract for $67
million. Nene had planted roots in Colorado — it is the place he matured as
a player, the place where he learned English, the place where doctors
treated him as he battled testicular cancer, the home state of his wife,
"A lot of things in your life, you make plans and the plans don't go the way
you want them to go," Nene observed. "This is the hard part."
Traded players still continue to collect their exorbitant salaries, but that
doesn't change the fact that their lives are uprooted and unraveled at a
moment's notice. "This is a business" is the most common retort from
players, and the answer to how they handle the fickleness of the game.
"I told my girlfriend first," said Luke Walton, whom the Lakers traded as
part of their deal for Ramon Sessions. "I thought that she would probably
want to know. She thought I was joking with her. And then she was like,
'Do I go with you or do I stay in L.A.?' What do I do type of thing. That was
obviously tough. But she's staying. I've got a house there. I've got a dog
there. I've got a bunch of stuff that needs taking care of. She's staying to
take care of that. When we looked at the schedule and saw that we had
25 games left, there wasn't really a point."
There are a couple dozen players who are currently sorting through the
demands of new environs. The Wizards called for a brief practice after the
loss to Indiana last week. Ernie Grunfeld, Washington's general manager,
stopped Nene before he left the practice court to ask if his new center had
found a place to live. The new teams and the players' agents are key to
the transition. They coordinate the flights and the hotels to stay in while
they help the traded player find housing. Nene has stayed in a hotel the
last couple of days, but will soon move into a luxury apartment. Lauren
and their newborn baby will soon join him. Nene's brother doubles as his
personal manager, and plans to move to Washington, D.C., with his own
family. Nene has already decided to keep his house in Denver. It is his
family's past, where all his friends live even if his basketball future is
now in D.C.
In the NBA, trades occur for all kinds of reasons. A franchise genuinely
wants a player. A franchise genuinely wants to rid itself of a player. A
team wants to rebuild. A team wants to strengthen for the playoffs.
Teams need more draft picks. A player needs to be added to make the
exchange approximate one another. Trades can be soaked in
sentimentality, like the Lakers' trade of Derek Fisher, or barely register
as a blip, like Philadelphia's acquisition of Sam Young for the rights to
Memphis's Ricky Sanchez.
The reactions also run the full spectrum. It may be one of the first times
in his life that a player is told that his talent, the thing that has gotten him
everywhere, is no longer wanted in a place where he has carved out his
home. Most players say that the first trade is the hardest. Numbness sets
in with each subsequent trade...CONTINUE READING GRANTLAND