Due to circumstances beyond my control my ability to post much over the past couple of weeks has been hit and miss at best. I really wanted to get up a pre playoff game thread explaining my concerns about how I honestly felt worse about this series going in than many of you did but sadly while I got started on it I never finished it.
Needless to say the two main fears that I had going into this series came into play in game one and another thing that I hadn’t thought about came up even bigger.
My two fears were Glenn Davis & Jason Richardson. I saw earlier this season how we had no real answer for him because of his big body and ability to hit a face up jump shot. He is so damn big that he moves people out of his way and often times there is just nothing you can do about it. Jason Richardson is an old pro and can be a very clutch shooter who can get hot in a hurry.
Both of these things occurred in game one.
The one thing I didn’t expect to happen that was even more significant than these two combined was that Danny Granger played arguably the worst 4 min. of basketball that any significant player on our team has ever played. I’m going back in my memory banks here and frankly I can’t think of a worse 4 min. stretch by any player (beyond a scrub) during a playoff game. I mean we’ve had players not be able to hit, we’ve had players have turnovers, and we’ve even had some players have foul trouble. But I don’t think we’ve had a player have this perfect storm of a bad series of events that I can remember.
I mean in all honesty Danny was Biblically bad during the last 4 min. of this game. It was so bad that had they sit Granger and inserted Pendegraph in his place that he would not have had that bad of a series of events happen.
With Danny it was one of two things that I can think of. He either still has a knee issue (although it doesn’t seem to be bothering him) or he made a horrid error in judgment in taking a week off prior to the playoffs and instead of being refreshed and ready he was rusty and unprepared.
We can and I’m sure will talk about all of the things that went wrong in this game and there are two ways that we can look at this and neither of them is probably either correct or wrong.
First way we can look at this is by saying that it is just one game and that we can come right back out Monday night and tie the series up, play the right way and go to Orlando with some momentum.
Second way to look at it is by saying that we have now lost home court advantage & while we certainly did ourselves no favor by not being able to hit a shot we can be very concerned that several of the Magic who have been known to have big games did nothing either.
My take on it is this. It’s too early to panic too much but there is no way you can just shrug your shoulders and say “oh well” either.
There are legitimate concerns not the least of which is we have given the Magic the confidence that they can beat us and have done so now 4 of 5 times this season.
Was there anything specific that I can think of that caused the loss? Well, not one thing but there were several things that I felt contributed to the loss.
Frank is going to have to give up on the egg timer. That worked great in the regular season to keep players fresh and injuries down, but the time is now and when he pulled Paul & David out in the first quarter at the usual time it was a mistake. We had a decent lead and were playing very well, then in comes Barbosa & Hansbrough and we lost what I think was a 10 point lead. In fact if I’m not mistaken I am pretty sure that our entire bench went 1-10 in the first half. Barbosa in particular was very poor yet he stayed on the floor for quite an extended time and gave us absolutely nothing. When he went to the bench in the 4th quarter I saw that he was slightly limping so I believe he is still battling the ankle injury, which leads me to the thought that Frank should have considered Jones for a few of those min. as his offense wouldn’t have been any worse and he might have done a better job closing out on defense.
But what baffles me the most is this. How is it that Glenn Davis who weighs 300 lbs and is coming off of a twisted ankle can play 40 min. and Roy Hibbert could only play 34? Davis was just as effective at the end of the game as he was in the beginning so why couldn’t Roy have been? I know it may not sound like a lot but I wonder if those 6 min. could have made any difference at all tonight? Like in the second quarter when we couldn’t score and Earl Clark & Davis were just killing Tyler & Lou why couldn’t Frank come right back in with Roy? Surely there is no way Davis is in better physical condition to play longer.
I know that a lot of people were upset at Vogel for leaving in Collison for Hill to end the game. I have no idea if it was good or bad and I can see arguments for either but I’ll just say this both of them spent the night making Jameer Nelson look like an all star point guard and neither of them was particularly helpful with their field goal shooting.
Why we went away from David West at the end of the game is another great mystery to me. Yes I know they started upping the defensive pressure trying to make it difficult to get him the ball but we honestly didn’t try all that hard either. We have got to play through David & Roy this series in all honesty if we are going to have any chance of success.
Before we do grades, which is probably the way we will do the playoffs, I want to talk about the crowd.
It was a packed house, it was a late arriving packed house but eventually it was packed. This was almost a 100% Pacers crowd, I think I saw 2 Magic jersey’s in the crowd, and they were very vocal and supportive.
In fact at one point it was as loud in there as it has ever been so the team can not say the locals didn’t come out to support them tonight. It’s just a real shame that they had this kind of a turn out and supportive crowd and could not win the game.
I just hope that we get at least ¾ of the building full for Monday’s game but it being a weekday and all that will take down the numbers some and frankly the enthusiasm will probably not be there either.
Ok grade time.
Danny Granger: F He looked like he was on barbiturates most of the night. He has games like this every now and then where he just looks a step slow and sluggish all night long, but he has never had the series of very bad and frankly destructive plays that he had tonight. The worst part is that instead of having a Reggie like moment that some of us were waiting on and hoping for he only gave people reasons to say that he will never be like Reggie Miller. The positive to take away from this, if you feel you have to, is that he really can’t get any worse and can only get better.
David West: B He started out the game controlling the boards and in the second half hit some big shots. But honestly when Vogel took him out at the start of the game he never really seemed to get that rebounding edge back. He still had a good night on the boards but I think he collected 5 of those in the first 6 min. of the game. Either way we really should have gone to him far more often than we did.
Roy Hibbert: B Almost had a magical (pardon the pun) night by having the famed triple double by way of points, boards and blocks. But sadly he fell one block and two points short. Defensively and rebounding he was a stud. In fact that is really all you can ask of your center so while I want to complain about his poor field goal shooting and lack of points I find it hard to complain about a big man who controlled the paint. Why he kept setting up his post offense 10+ feet out when Anderson was on him is just beyond me.
Paul George: D While Danny was miserable Paul was just lousy. He could not stay with old man Jason Richardson and not only did he not hit the field goals he attempted he passed up a couple of shots in the 4th that he should have taken leaving us with very poorly executed offense plays. While I never expect him to be like Rip Hamilton or Reggie Miller on offense I think the one thing I would like to see Paul work on this summer is moving without the ball. In fact our entire team could stand to work on that.
George Hill: C- I never thought he would have this much trouble with Jameer Nelson to be honest with you. For whatever reason he just could not keep in front of him for most of the night. It’s not like Nelson had 40 points or anything but he did seem to control the tempo of the game and I was expecting Hill to be the one to do that. Joined a long list of Pacers who could not hit from the field but he did make up for it a little by hitting 6 of 7 from the foul line. We really need a bigger game from him if we are going to have any hope of doing anything.
Leandro Barbosa: D- Not what we were hoping for. Hit one shot but for the most part was completely, to steal a word, irrelevant. Which is not a good thing considering how he was brought here to be our offensive punch off of the bench. He looked kind of gimpy coming out of the game so if he was injured then Frank really should have limited his min. and either had Paul play more or play Jones some instead.
Tyler Hansbrough: B- He actually tried rebounding tonight and that is always helpful, he also got his hands on a couple of loose balls which he seems to be able to do on occasion. If you would have told me before the game that he would out jump Earl Clark on a jump ball I would have called you crazy, but he did. First half gave us no offense at all but second half he was actually quite effective. Still wish he could be more consistent on a nightly basis but for tonight he did his job for the most part.
Lou Amundson: C Very limited min but when he was in he did what he always does, he hustles, grabs rebounds and attempts to block shots.
Darren Collison: C- He actually did better defending Nelson than Hill did, which in a word is shocking. He along with several other Pacers could not hit a shot but he did have a couple of really nifty assists in the 4th quarter which is not the norm for him. I know some people hate that he ended the game and I’m not sure how I feel. But like I said above neither Hill or Collison played to the level of Nelson tonight.
We don’t have a choice, we pretty much have to shake this game off and just go out Monday and try our hardest to win. I’m not going to lie and say that this wasn’t very disappointing and it does make you feel a little like working so hard to get home court was just tossed right out the window tonight.
I hate losing to the Magic because I hate Stan Van Gundy. I hate gimmick three point offenses and I hate Glenn Davis.
I’m going to say this now, Glenn Davis is a punk. Remember earlier in the year when he was head butting Tyler and clowning on our team when they were beating us. Well he wasn’t much better tonight.
Before I go I do want to point out that our assistant coach Jim Boylen & Hedu Turkoglu got into a shouting match after Hedu delivered a hard foul.