At the end I felt sorry for the Magic, they were out manned and out gunned but they were never out fought.
We will tip our cap to a very valiant worthy foe and every single Pacers fan alive will acknowledge that if Dwight Howard had played this series may very well have gone another way. But at the end of the day that is not the Pacers fault and they can only play the teams and players who are on the floor with them.
So while we refuse to downplay our series victory we will express our admiration for both the Magic coaching staff and players. Well fought gentlemen and thank you for making us a better team.
Ok, now let’s move on to our beloved Pacers.
My life is just very hectic at the moment so I am once again not going to be able to dedicate the time I want to celebrating both tonight’s win and the series victory.
In fact I am only going to have time to kick out some grades for the game, I really want to do the series grades and I might get to it tomorrow night.
But I just want to state one thing. We won this series I don’t feel like we got the production out of either Danny Granger or Paul George that we thought we would. No matter who we play in the next round we are going to need both of them to be far more active and far more efficient.
But this is not a night to pick and complain, in fact it’s really just a night where we can collectively exhale from this series and get ready for the next step in the journey.
David West: B+ The Magic have made it their mission to limit his ability to shoot inside. They double team very quickly and really increased their effort to deny him the ball. So they took away some of the big scoring opportunities that he had been having early on in the series. To West credit he never forced it and he kept on playing doing other things to help win. He even managed to have one of the slowest fast breaks I’ve ever seen in a game.
Danny Granger: B+ I struggle with this really. I kept thinking all night long that he was garbage on the floor but then at the end he still somehow ended up with 25 points. He has really fallen into the bad trap of shooting a lot of three’s every game and I don’t know if the offense has changed to make it where he his just planting his @ss on one spot on the floor or if he is just doing it but I can tell you that the Heat will destroy us if this is how he is going to play in round 2. I am wondering if maybe his knee isn’t worse than we were told. Either way when he checked out of the game at the end he had the biggest smile come over his face and he celebrated with every member of the team on the bench. This guy has been here so long and gone through so much that this night had to be very special for him.
Roy Hibbert: B+ Roy did not score in this series like a lot of us thought he might but he was just totally dominant on the boards and his interior defensive presence and ability to guard without fouling has just been outstanding. His block of Glenn Davis is one of those types of highlights that will be with you the rest of your career and for years to come. For Roy that is a good thing for Glenn not so much. Roy’s agent was in the house tonight watching and I’m sure cash registers were ringing in his head when he saw that.
Paul George: B Decent defense with a little more scoring and his usual good rebounding. But still with the confounding turnovers off of silly passes that make you want to kick an imaginary cat. Needs to really try and be more assertive on offense but I don’t want him forcing it either, it is a delicate balancing act I realize. We really need him to step way up for the next round and the reason some of us are so tough on him is because we believe he is capable of so much more.
George Hill: B Tale of two sides of the floor. He did a very good job of getting his shot and attacking the basket. On defense he just had a very hard time keeping up with Nelson. Hey sometimes it happens, he was hitting a very high % of shots so not slamming George at all. Also while I understand our offense is not designed to get a lot of assists I would like to see George push the temp a little more and try and get some assists that way. But overall he had a very good series.
Leandro Barbosa: A He was superb tonight. We were kind of stagnant and he came in and gave us the shot of adrenaline that we needed. Never underestimate how valuable he was in running those fast breaks. His speed was killer and his ability to cut to the basket had the Magic confounded. But his decision making was what impressed me tonight. The Pacers actually ran several successful fast breaks this game and when he was leading them they were almost picture perfect.
Darren Collison: A+ If there is such a thing as an almost perfect quarter he had it. Single handedly, almost, destroyed the Magic in the 4th quarter. At the very least he took what was a very close game and just kicked it wide open and even put the nail in the coffin of the Magic with his steal and open court dunk. Is he adapting to the bench? I don’t think that is it at all. I think he was just very used to playing with those players (starters) and every now and then lightning strikes and tonight it hit for him. I’ll say this though if he had played defense like this all season long I don’t think he would have had to worry about losing his starting job. He was exactly what we needed tonight and just goes one further step to prove that those of us that love this TEAM do so for a reason. On any given night one player can step up and lead us. We don’t have a star or a group of stars, we are a TEAM and hopefully we can take that to another level.
Tyler Hansbrough: B- He was screwed tonight. Look the refs. have been great for the most part so far in the playoffs, in fact I wish every game all year long was officiated in the exact same way they do playoff games. Having said that I will say this, this poor guy can’t catch a break. On the first two plays of the game that he was in on he was hammered multiple times and not once did they call a foul and in fact on a blatant foul they called a jump ball. I have a feeling that the NBA has gotten the memo from the rest of the teams that Tyler plays physical so they should be able to defend him physical. Again he had decent defense and did not do much on offense, which has been both normal and designed in this series. No real complaints.
Lou Amundson: B Came in missed a wide open dunk but then proceeded to hit his next three shots including a face up jumper. Played very limited min. tonight but his 6 point outburst in 6 min. helped keep off one of the Magic’s runs. Not a lot of time to judge him by tonight.
Overall this was a good learning game and series for our club. Yes they were missing their star player but they are still NBA players and they did not quite. We take our lesson and move to the second round.
Also on a side note I did my part tonight. I told David Moreway that it rained a lot in Portland and that he wouldn’t like all of the moss.
Can’t leave without once again saying what a great crowd we had. This is the 3rd straight sell out and 3rd straight virtually 100% Pacers crowd. We all know that the next round will bring in other fans but for this series this was all about the Pacers.
Great win, Great series victory.