First the game.
How can anybody who watched that game not understand how valuable Austin Croshere is to that starting unit.
How do you beat the Pistons? You have to find ways to score. You do not have to out defend them. They have some players who can score but overall as a team they struggle.
They cannot leave Croshere alone on the floor because if they do he will burn them. Not just by three's but his new found ability to drive & dish. Did anybody else see that drive he he did & passed it behind him with a blind pass to J.O. who got fouled? That was a Magic like pass. How many big shots at the end of games is this guy going to have to hit before people just accept he is the best player to start with J.O.
He bodied up Rasheed Wallace on several plays & I thought he did an admirable job.
15 points 6 rebounds 3 steals only 2 fouls with ZERO turnovers. He also had zero assist, but that is because the two he would have had both times the player was fouled before shooting.
Great solid profesional effort from Croshere.
Speaking of Great.
Jamaal Tinsley. Not only did he steal the ball 8 times with 13 points & 8 assist he apperantly was going to sweep up after the game. At least that what I thought he was going to do because I saw him running around with a dust pan latter.
No, in all seriousness, Tins. just dominated that game. He did so well that I forgot that Billups actually played 40 min.
David Harrison. Daisy cutters don't clear out as much space as this guy does in the lane. There was a time where literally 5 Pistons were around him & he still cleared out enough space to go up with a shot & get fouled. I've said it before & I'll say it again. Not this year & probably not even next year but if this guy continues to keep himself in shape & has a desire to learn this guy will be one of the dominate centers in the league. This may well be the one great draft picks in our franchise's history.
Another solid game by J.O. Not much to say on him other than another ho hum 20 point 10+ rebound night.
Not all was bright though. I don't think Carlisle was all that thrilled with Eddie Gill in the second half (I know I wasn't) & I thought Fred Jones was pretty much just going through the paces.
Ron & Jax both had points where they made it tough on the Pistons to defend J.O.
This is the key, IMO, to beating them. You have to have 5 players on the floor who can score or you will be eat alive.
On the Pistons front. Why must Eldon Cambell & Lindsey Hunter make careers out of being a pain in our asses? These two's eyes light up everytime they see a Pacers uniform.
Antonio Mcdyess is a ghost of his former self. I thought from reading about how well he was rehabbed that he would be more dynamic than he was. To bad this guy could actually play when he was healthy.
What can I say about Billups, he's as consistant as a tornado. In the regular season Tinsley owns him. Come playoff time though we'll see.
Rasheed is a lot stronger than he looks & he is really a crafty defensive player. Age is starting to affect him a little because he just doesn't have the lift he used to but other than that for the next 4-5 years he is going to be a pain in the ***.
Ben Wallace. What happened to Ben? I used to love his game. This guy could board & block shots better than anybody I had ever seen. But now he just doesn't seem to affect a game as much on the defensive end as he used to. It could be the way Brown uses him so this could be by design.
Ok that's the game now let's look at the brawl.
First off I have seen something like this before & probably only Kerosene will be able to appreciate this. It was in 1985 or 86 in Milwaukee & it was not a basketball game but a pro wrestling event. It was an old federation called the A.W.A. & it was a match between the Road Warriors & Baron Von Rashce & Greg Gagne. The road warrior were the bad guys & were just pummeling Gagne & as they tried to leave the armory an absolute brawl ensued with the two warriors fighting their way through probably 20-30 fans to get out & there were probably only 3-4 cops in the hole building. A wooden chair got smashed over a fans head & it was a bloody mess.
I was also there for the Kings vs. the Pacers fight.
But I've never seen an N.B.A. event like this.
This my friends might be the September 11 event for the N.B.A. In that I mean that it will probably never be the same after this. New rules will follow to be sure.
Let's look at this objectively for a few min. shall we? As Pacers fans it's important that we accept that some of our team did not act right.
Let's go to the begining.
Everybody is saying that Ben Wallace shoving Artest started it all. It didn't. This started two plays before when Ron went up for a layup & Ben Wallace inadertantly from behind bumped him causing Ron to fall face first into the basket. Ron could not see that Ben was just getting up for a board & the contact was incidental. Now if you were watching ESPN at halftime you heard Ron complain to Jim Gray that he was being fouled all night & that nothing was being called. Nothing was called on this contact either. Ron was already frustrated.
Then on the play that follows, before Ron's foul, again if you were watching ESPN you will hear Jamaal talking trash with somebody on the Pistons & he keeps going & going & going. Actually trash talking is not acurate, they were arguing about fouls. I never saw who he was talking with.
Now we get to the Artest foul. Was it a foul? Yes. Was it a flagrant foul? Probably not. Did Ben overreact? Yes. Would this have been a problem if Artest didn't have the reputation? Probably not.
Let's not assume for a min. that Ron was some innocent sheep who was blindsided by the master. Ron gave him a mild shove from behind, what did he think Ben Wallace was going to do?
However it wasn't much of a shove & Ben should have just let the refs. handle it.
Ron did the right thing in backing away. Ben did the wrong thing in chasing him.
Rasheed Wallace shoved (not gently removed) Jackson. This cause Jax to get his blood pressure up & started him to bicker with Rasheed.
It is at this point in time that the Detroit Pistons coaching staff lost control of their team.
The Pacers bench was stationary & was being held back by Mike Brown, Chuck Person & Kevin O'Neill.
I counted Derrik Coleman, Darvin Ham, Lindsey Hunter & Eldon Cambell all in their warmups on the floor at the gathering at mid court. I did not see one Pacer who was already not on the floor.
So right there are 5 one game suspensions by leage definition. Now because of what later happened this may not happend but it should.
Ron is laying on his back & at this point in time Ben Wallace throws a towel at Ron hitting him in the face. Ron starts to get up but is stopped & put back on his back by Reggie.
It should be noted that Ron Garitson put Ron on the table. He didn't make him lay down but he did back him up to where his but was on it.
At this point in time things were under control. Only the Pistons bench was out of line & Stephen Jackson was still angry on our team.
Ben Wallace would have gotte a two game suspension all five of the Pistons from the bench would have been suspended for one game.
Ron would probably have been suspended for one game, he wouldn't have really deserved it but I'm sure he would have.
Then the beer cup was thrown.
In an ideal world Ron would have stood up grabbed security & pointed out the fan & all we would have finished the game.
Unfortunately that didn't happen. Ron went into the stands & attacked (of all people) the wrong fan.
Now before we all wrap ourselves in the Pacers flag & declare absolute support for Ron let's be honest. He was wrong.
The reason you don't do this is exactly what followed.
1. He attacked the wrong person.
2. He escalated an already bad situation.
When he was laying on his back he was in the right. Stu Jackson would have had to have just outright punished him for being Ron Artest in the dispute with Wallace. By doing this he opens up himself for what might likely be a 10 game suspension.
It's hard to say. Ron can argue that the league did not provide adaquate security for him so he will have grounds to fight any suspension.
But either way morally he was wrong. Yes, I know we would all want to retaliate if somebody threw a beer on us. But guess what he should want to retaliate from being shoved in the throat as well but he didn't seem to want a piece of Wallace.
Jackson was out of control. But again, he is going to have grounds to protest because he was having stuff thrown on him. But clearly Jax was out of control out there.
Jermaine has got to learn to control himself as well. While everybody was running into the stands it should be noted that Jermaine threw a member of the Pistons security staff over the scorers table. He was just trying to keep players out of the stands.
Harrison got out there quick & tried to keep the peace.
Now before my fellow Pacer fans string me up I'm not leaving out the fine people of Michigan. I'm just pointing out some of the things we did that didn't help the situation.
But rest assured the majority of the blame falls squarly on the shoulders of the idiots in the lower decks of the Palace.
The guy who threw the beer, if he is a season ticket holder, should lose that seat forever. The big guy with the press pass (or some kind of pass) who kept hitting Fred Jones from behind should go to jail. The two idiots who walked onto the court & acted like they wanted to hit Ron deserved the punch they got.
Just my luck the one time Jermaine O'Neal actually delivers a good solid punch it's to a man who was getting up off of his back & on top of it all it was the wrong man. But damn it was a solid hit.
That brawl going out the tunnel was unreal. I will alway smile when I think about Jamaal running around with that dustpan challenging anybody to come at him.
The other always enduring image of this will always be Austin Croshere standing in the middle of the court with all of the maddness going on around him looking serene & sad. Kind of like a refugee standing amongst the rubble of his village after being bombed. He had that look of "damn I hit a big shot & played great & this is all they will remember".
I hope that poor old lady that was on the ground was ok cause it didn't look good.
Did everybody see Mark Boyle with the blood all over his face?
I suspect the first major change will be that the opponets tunnel will have a covering placed over it so that fans can't see them. This would stop all of the throwing of objects.
Jermaine, again, was out of control. He could have helped out if he would have just left. The police should have used the pepper spray a lot sooner than they did on the crowds above the runway IMO.
So, IMO, nobody was innocent. But the fans up in Detroit ultimately were the villans.
Now what's the fallout.
Suspensions will fly from this. How many & who will depend.
I suspect that O'Neal will be gone for more than a few games. Jackson will probably get a few games as well.
Artest? I'm not sure on this one. He has legitimate defenses against a suspension.
But here is the upside.
This will draw this team together. It is now us against the world.
I'm almost tempeted to start a war cry right here & right now.
Ah hell I can't help myself, it's time for a speech.
Close your eyes for a few min. while I go get on my blue & gold war paint.
Are your peeking?
I now come before you brothers, we stand together. We are hurt, we are injured, we have taken a pounding but we have not been beaten. The league doens't want us to win. The fans of other citys think we are hicks, fools, hillbillys & rubes. Nobody respects us & nobody wants us around.
But through it all WE are Pacers & nobody. Not a Piston not a Laker & not a Heat can stand in the way of what is our destiny.
They can kee us off of network T.V. but they can't take away our freeeeeeeeedooooooooommmmmmm!!!!
Join me brothers let them all hear us, let them hear a war cry.
Oops sorry, lost my mind there for a min.
On a serious note, as long as we don't lose J.O. & Ron for most of the season this could help our team moral.