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Thread: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

  1. #51
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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....


    Greetings and salutations fellow Area 55 peeps! This is second year veteran and soul patch pro Jon LaFollette writing in place of our beloved Prez Joe, who after slaving over a piping hot keyboard for the better part of three years, deserves a much needed reprieve from the rigors of writing newsletters. I happily volunteered my services so Joe could have more time doing whatever it is fancy lawyer types, such as himself, do.


    The Area 55 Half-Time Critique! OK, campers! With LaFollette and I switching our customary Newsletter roles, it is your beloved Prez that will supply you with LaFollette’s normal curt and spicy review of Wednesday night’s BLF halftime extravaganza. I know I have large shoes to fill, but here goes:

    Halftime attendees at the Portland game were treated to an engaging display of interpretive dance brought to us by a group of mothers and girls whose professional name I sadly cannot supply. As usual, the BLF halftime announcer (an anonymous guy – I don’t think it was Ace McKay - doing his standard imitation of a trapped coal miner) mumbled their actual moniker and left me to speculate as to just whom it was I was viewing. It sounded to me like the announcer called them something like “The Flowers of Spring”. However it might also have been “The Carmel Dance Academy from Hell.” I cannot be sure.

    Anyway the dance gala they supplied was a welcome change from the mass Air Force swearing-in ceremony that The Suits tried to pass off as entertainment at the New Orleans game. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I like my bread and circuses. That New Orleans Swearing-in thing left me longing for the more reliably entertaining and certainly less warlike cavortings of our beloved frisbee-catching dogs.

    The Nameless Dance Academy was not warlike. Sporting pink, azure, and pale green spandex, a bevy of mothers (some of whom looked kind of hot to me) and what appeared to be an assortment of their nubile and prepubescent daughters -- took to the BLF hardwood and immediately and energetically began gamboling about.

    The moms of the Academy went first, commendably twisting, gyrating, contorting, and grinding to the accompaniment of Foreigner’s “You’re as Cold as Ice.” I don’t know about other 55ers (who, perhaps seeing what was coming, quickly and wisely left the premises to get beer), but I, for one, was left mute and slackjawed at the wholesome amateurishness and arctic asexuality of the mothers’ dancing. Rapt in the spectacle, I soon felt “cold as ice” myself just watching it all. Perhaps that was the intent. The mom’s number was, indeed, a telling paean to sexual frigidy and after viewing it, I felt pangs of sympathy for the deprivation that their poor husbands were undoubtedly experiencing.

    The “Cold as Ice” moms were followed by their warmer daughters, who, clad in stretchy pink and trying to emulate their maternal forbears, then did a lot of moving about while an invisible sound machine belted out The Capitols old and justifiably forgotten hit, “Cool Jerk”. It was kind of cute. I cannot deny that watching the nymphets twist and turn caused wellsprings of repressed memories and forgotten emotions to bubble up in my heart. Prepubescent dancing to lyrics like “They know I’m the king of the coooool jerks!” invariably has that effect on me.

    There was still more! After the “Cool Jerk” number, more of the nymphets segued into a cheery holiday interpretation of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Personally, I liked the “Cool Jerk” thing better, but hey, I’m a soul type of guy and kind of a “cool jerk” in my own right.

    After it all ended and The Nameless Dance Academy left the floor I was left to speculate if The Suits had booked The Academy as a crass money-saving measure. Scrooges that they are, I suspect this was so. A hint to The Suits: Psst, sometimes you get better entertainment if you pay for it.

    My rating for The Nameless Dance Academy? Well, unfortunately just a C. But on the upside, I thought they were a lot better than the Air Force Swearing-in Ceremony.

    Back to Basketball with Fighting Jon LaFollette! We're already six weeks into the season, but tonight's match up with the Denver Nuggets at the homey confines of Bankers Life is only the third back-to-back home stand for the Pacers this year, and just their eighth home game overall. In short, our boys in the blue and gold have spent more than half their season on the road (where they have posted a scrappy 5-7 record). Thus, it is extremely important that they make the most of their sporadic returns to the Circle City.

    After dropping four of their first six games, the Pacers have recently rallied to win six of their last eight, including a dramatic last second win in Los Angeles and a pugnacious victory over the ever-resilient Bulls. The team is currently a half game behind Chicago in the Central Division. While the team's offense (Roy's in particular) has at times been stagnant and bereft of baskets, their league-leading defense has been stingy enough to keep the majority of games close and give the team a chance to win. Laying waste to Denver tonight would give the Pacers their first three-game win streak of the season, and push them to a mark of 11-9. Let’s get it done!

    G2? More Like G-Pew! Stating the obvious - Paul George stunk it up over a three-game stretch last week. Against the Lakers, Kings and Warriors, PG shot an abysmal 23 percent from the field on 7-of-31 shooting, (laying an egg in Oakland) while almost completely shirking his abilities as a defender. To be blunt, Paul was a non factor - something he absolutely cannot be in the absence of Danny Granger. But rather than sulk, PG manned up and took to the practice court hard (as he does in those nifty "Gold Swagger" commercials) and lobbed 500 shots in a single practice (proven by a picture he posted on his Instagram account). Whether it was the extra reps, divine province, or some of Michael Jordan's secret stuff (which helped the Looney Tunes thwart the MonStars in Space Jam), PG's shots have markedly improved in the last two games. He has since posted 56 points on 21-of-40 shooting (52 percent). He'll have to keep it up against Denver's Andre Iguodala - a scrappy defender who creates problems for opposing teams with his strength and length (a dangerous duo of rhyming adjectives if I ever heard one).

    Get SWATTED!!! According to Hoop Data's advanced stats, Roy is making just 42 percent of his shots within two feet of the rim, and only 38 percent within three to nine feet. This season has been Double Nickel's worst offensive outing of his career. But where he's been an enigma when it comes to scoring, defensively, he's the biggest component (literally) to the Pacers’ success. Averaging a career high in blocks per game (3.12 - second only to Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka), and protecting the rim better than he's ever done, Hibbert anchors what the Pacers are best at - getting stops and keeping games tight enough for their stunted and sporadic offense to pull out a win. Roy's objectives tonight will be twofold. Contain Nuggets starting center, and Greek American, Kosta Koufos, whom Roy should have no trouble pushing around, as well as their boneheaded sixth man JaVale McGee, who often finishes games for the Nuggets, and, in actuality poses a far more formidable match up than Koufos for Hibbert.

    More on Moron McGee JaVale McGee (traded to Denver last year from the Washington Wizards) is somewhat similar to Roy as far as their respective style of play goes. Both are more prone to defend than they are to score (although Roy wins out in both categories I believe); both, rebound well given their size, and, despite being seven feet or taller, neither of them is really known for his physical prowess. What separates Roy from JaVale is intellect and basketball IQ. Where Roy graduated with a degree in government from Georgetown and has been named an All-Star, Javale possess the thinking capabilities of a rock. This is highly fitting since he now plays for a team associated with mining.

    Whether it's attempting to dunk from the free throw line (something he tried twice in the same week no less), alley-ooping to himself and then saluting his own efforts while his team is down six, or mistakenly running to the wrong end of the court while his team has the ball, dare I say no other player in the last five years has been more ineptly entertaining than JaVale? He's had so many bloopers, he was given his own countdown on YouTube. Watch them and enjoy!

    Every one of the above highlights (or low-lights) involved McGee in a Wizards uniform. Since moving to Denver, his most laughably bad decisions have virtually disappeared (credit Denver coach George Karl) and McGee's talents (especially his quickness) are beginning to receive attention around the league. He had a breakout series in last season’s playoffs against the Lakers where he averaged 9 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks in 7 games.

    Rocky Mountain Hype Aside from the aforementioned McGee and Iguodala, the Nuggets sport a talented roster that includes point guard Ty Lawson (currently in his fourth year), second year sensation Kenneth Farried who has been dubbed the "mannimal" for his tenacious rebounding abilities (During his last visit here Area 55ers taunted Farried with "Whoopi Goldberg" chants - an homage to his Predator-esque dreads), and Danilo Gallinari (whom I jokingly christened The Italian Stallion). Gallinari was among those traded to Denver in last year’s blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York and Chauncey Billups ultimately winding up with the Clippers. An unsung, but equally notable player, is Denver’s backup point guard, Andre Miller, currently in his 13th year. While getting long in the tooth, Miller is still capable of posting solid numbers on any given night (He’s had a 17 point and a 19 point effort early this year).

    NBA die-hards might recall many stat-geeks drooling over the Nuggets before the beginning of this season. Indeed, a host of complex math formulas and arcane statistical projections had the Denver making it to the Western Conference Finals - and perhaps the NBA Finals. Former Pacer Reggie Miller, during a TNT broadcast, balked at such notions and the whole idea of "guys in lab coats" predicting the outcome of NBA games.

    Thus far, Reggie seemed to have it right. The Nuggets have been relatively underwhelming given all the pre-season hype that surrounded them. Tonight, they stroll into Naptown on the second game of a five game road trip sporting a 9-10 record (including a 108-104 loss Tuesday night in Atlanta). As an excuse for Denver’s lackluster start, the team’s proponents have pointed to a brutal schedule -- with only 6 of their first 19 games played at home. This is a legitimate point, but I'd be quicker to point out two other factors; shoddy defense, and inconsistent shooting.

    George Karl has long been known as a run-and-gun coach who loves to push tempo and get up and down the court. He adheres to the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense. As a result, in allowing 104 points per 100 possessions, the Nuggets have the seventh worst defense in the league. Much like Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks of yesteryear, the Nuggets simply try to outgun their opponents. In putting up 103 points per 100 possessions, Denver’s point production is good enough to make them the tenth best offensive team in the NBA. But an offense is only as good as its players (duh), and the Nuggets are a team with streaky shooters aplenty. As a team, they shoot just 46% from the field (just 1% better than the league average). True, they have the potential to be potent on any given night. But where there's feast, there's famine.

    For every night that Ty Lawson puts up 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting (as he did against Atlanta), there are other nights where he'll go 0-for-7, 3-for-12 or 4-for-13 and virtually disappear from the game. Ditto for Iguodala and Gallnari, who have also struggled to find their stride this season. But while Denver’s guards and wings are prone to struggle on any given night, the Nuggets’ big men that carry them. The bigs grab a league-leading 35 offensive rebounds per game. With that kind of offensive rebounding occurring, a wayward guard shooting an ill-advised three now and then isn't regarded as a major tragedy. I predict that tonight's game will be won by rebounding, with the Pacers' stiff D looking to slow a fast running offense.

    Well, enough of this! Time to belch this out. Remember to wear some grey tonight for brain cancer awareness. And be feisty and nasty. We want our boys to keep the wins, particularly at home, coming!

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 12-07-2012 at 02:40 PM.

  2. #52

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    I always look forward to your reviews of the half-time acts, and this one was a classic. It's a rarity when I miss a game, and indeed I missed the last one, but your vivid account of the half-time show was the next best thing to living through it! I especially liked the nod of sympathy to the frustrated husbands!

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  4. #53
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    Greetings, 55ers!

    Tonight our 10-11 Pacers return from a tough road loss to Kevin Durant & Co. to test their mettle against a considerably more inferior foe, the 4-17 Cleveland Cavaliers. While the game against red-hot and high-scoring Oklahoma City (who now have won 8 straight and lead the NBA in scoring) was a loss, no one watching it could come away terribly discouraged. In many ways, it was one of the best games our Granger-less guys have played all year.

    Against OKC, all 5 of the Pacers starters were in double figures (David West leading the crew with 21, Paul George had 17, and George Hill had 15) and our normally dismal shooting was lots better – upwards of 46%. Indeed, we actually shot 60% in the first half and during the same period pretty much corralled the Durant/Westbrook tandem than lays most other NBA teams low.

    Unfortunately, our bench continued to be problematic. It couldn’t corral Kevin Martin, who burned it for 21 points Offensively, Gerald Green managed a commendable 8 points, but nobody else coming off the pines garnered more than 4. Our ongoing bench woes have now led Frank to test Ben Hansbrough as our second-string point man, with D. J. Augustin relegated now to third seed Seeing how Psycho B does in his new role will be one of the serious points of interest tonight.

    In case you’re interested, our loss to OKC now leaves us in 3rd place in the Central, 2 games behind Chicago (11-8) and 1 back of Milwaukee (10-9). A nice home win against the pitiful Cavs might be just the thing to get us back on focus.

    It’s Holiday Party Time! Always timely with important news, my 5:30 P.M. email box featured this cheery Xmas Card from The Pacers Suits:

    “Greetings Area 55’ers,

    Happy holidays from the Area 55 staff. It’s been a great season so far and it’s going to get even better tomorrow after the Cleveland game. As first announced during the preseason meeting, Roy Hibbert is hosting a postgame holiday party exclusively for you.

    During pre-game and the first half, be sure to find Zac to obtain your wristband which grants you entry into the holiday party that is located on the Practice Court. Immediately following the game, take the elevator down to the Event Level, proceed to the left and you will find the Practice Court. Show both your wristband and game ticket to Zac to gain entry to the party.

    This will be a great opportunity to get to know one another. There will be treats to devour, basketball to be played (waiver required and casual shooting only), and [nude pictures of Hobert Montgomery to be snatched up – Ha! I joke here. Fill this space in yourselves – The Area 55 Staff’s email left it blank]

    Only the people that go to the game are eligible for this event. If you can’t make the game, as always, give your ticket to a friend or family member and be sure to tell them about the event planned after the game.

    2012-13 Area 55 Holiday Party Details:

    • What: Area 55 Holiday Event
    • When: Dec 12, 2012 following the game
    • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse Practice Court
    • Why: Celebration
    • Who: Area 55 members attending the Dec. 12 game

    See you tomorrow,
    Area 55 Staff”

    Sasha the Stretchy Lady Comes to BLF! In a welcome reprieve from Frisbee-Snatching Dogs, wood-chopping Korean Tae Kwan Do Dojos, and Air Force Swearing-In Ceremonies, the unnamed Suit who passes for the BLF Halftime Entertainment Meister treated Denver-game attendees with a deeply appreciated treat. I refer, of course, to that rarest of rara avises, an actual paid entertainer. In this case It was Alexandra “Sasha” Pivaral, a hand-balancing, one-of-a-kind acrobatic contortionist from New York City.

    Perched atop what reminded me of three flat-topped wooden bedposts, Sasha (who looked pretty hot to me!) wowed a gob-smacked crowd with a flashy display of double-jointed antics the likes of which had not been seen in Indy for at least two years. Here I segue back to days of yore, back when our arena bore the ancient name “Conseco” and recall another BLF halftime performance I once viewed involving Two Bodies-Painted-White Hungarian Guys whose act was sort of like Sasha's. It featured the Hungarians stretching and climbing over and upon one another’s bodies but little else. I grow wistful. I can only say that that act was a display of homoerotic contortion and pretzeltry that continues to generate nightmares for me even to this day!

    But back to Sasha!

    First she dazzled onlookers with a few easy but graceful handstands on the bedposts. She did these while stretching and posing to some of the most dirge-like violin music that has ever assaulted human ears. Sasha must have liked this music, I guess, because it kept droning on, over and over, until finally, at long last, it seemed to come to an end. But no, then it started up all over again!

    Anyway, while maintaining one of those many clever handstands of hers, and her unseen violins crescendoing into a musical orgasm, Sasha suddenly seized a bedpost with one of her paws and, positioning herself upside-down, then she proceeded to fold her spine downward so that her tush and legs came right over her face! Hell, before it was over her feet were down there too - right around her temples! It looked so weird and unnatural that I nearly choked to death on a nacho watching it all happen! Then in a celebratory masterstroke, Sasha smiled coyly from behind her feet and gave a flirty wink to the crowd. Seeing it brought to mind some of those complex positions from the Kama Sutra that, despite years of begging, I have never been able to persuade my wife to attempt.

    But Sasha had even more tricks up her spidery-webbed, spandexy leotard!

    Reinforcing my belief that she was born under the sign of Sagittarius, the balance of supple Sasha’s show consisted mainly of foot archery! Her violin music still blaring, Sasha first balanced upside-down on one hand on one of her bedposts. Next, she treated the audience to a couple more of her epic body folds. Then she adroitly snatched up a petite bow from a nearby table using only her svelte painted toes to do the snatching. This alone was enough to awaken the latent foot-fetishist in many awed onlookers.

    But there was more!

    Holding her little bow with one foot, Sasha proceeded to notch an arrow in it using only the toes her other foot. Then, taking careful aim, she sent a rubber tipped Cupid’s dart humming outward toward a circular target positioned a good six or seven feet away.

    While Sasha's body-bends and arrow-shooting in this fashion was novel and welcome, I must regretfully report that her marksmanship was nothing that would worry Wilhelm Tell. Sadly, there were no bull’s-eyes. Indeed, Sasha actually missed her circular target completely on her first shot and only just managed to hit it a couple of times in following tries.

    Nevertheless, when all was said and done, Sasha’s was a noble and thrilling effort. She definitely deserved the heartfelt applause that the considerably less limber members of the BLF crowd gave her. Still, as she dismounted from her bedposts and took her leave, I could not help but think that she could have brought the BLF mob watching her to an even more roiling frenzy if she only could have found a way to blast T-shirts, instead of arrows, from that bow of hers. But perhaps that’s for another day.

    I give Sasha a B. Bring her back again, BLF Entertainment Meisters! She’d have gotten a B+ if her aim had been truer and her violins less obnoxious.


    What’s the Story on Anderson Varajao? Cavs darling Anderson Varejão got to Cleveland by way of Brazil (his home country). He was originally picked by the Magic in the second round of the 2004 NBA Draft (30th overall) and was then traded to Cleveland along with Drew Gooden and Steven Hunter for Tony Battie and two future second-round picks. On arrival, Varajao quickly became a regular contributor for the Cavs, exciting fans and earning the nickname "Wild Thing" because of his wild hair and energetic and relentless style of play.

    Anderson has been widely criticized for flopping or overly-dramatizing any physical contact directed against him.. Former teammate LeBron James considered that criticism invalid and asserted "He's taking physical charges." Right, LeBron.

    Noting the similarities in their hair styles, some pundits have speculated that Anderson Varajao and Joakim Noah might have sprung from the same curly loins and hence could be related. You be the judge!

    It is also a little known fact, but true, that Anderson ample hair has its own Facebook page. See:

    A chant about Anderson’s hair – set to the tune of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” -- has been employed in the past by Area 55. Some old and suggested new verses are listed below:

    He’s got a bird’s nest on his head!
    He’s got a bird’s nest on his head!
    He’s got a bird’s nest on his head!
    He’s got a bird’s nest on his head!

    He’s got steel wool on his head!
    He’s got steel wool on his head!
    He’s got steel wool on his head!
    He’s got steel wool on his head!.

    He’s got nerve ends on his head!
    He’s got nerve ends on his head!
    He’s got nerve ends on his head!
    He’s got nerve ends on his head!

    Pick a stanza you like! Invent one of your own! But sing lustily tonight when Anderson toes the Sin Stripe, 55ers. I would so enjoy getting everyone in BLF to sing along and commemorate the Brazilian glory and wonder of Anderson Varajao’s spiraled locks.

    Ah, the night is late, 55ers. I now tire and must bid you adieu.

    I’ll leave you with this:

    Let’s really try to really bring it tonight. And let’s not forget to somewhere along the way sing Roy a Happy Birthday Song! Yesterday he turned the ripe old age of 26!

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 12-13-2012 at 11:50 AM.

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  6. #54

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Joe, it might be prudent to start looking at dates if there is to be an Area55/G2 Zone road trip this season. I took the liberty of looking at the schedule. There are a few road games that take place on weekends or holidays where the driving distance is manageable. To me, the noon Memphis game on Jan. 21 (MLK day) and the 7 PM Detroit game on Saturday, Feb. 23 look like possibilities. I think we would be looking at 5 hour drives similar to the Bucks road trip last year. Of course, if Pacero reported being treated like a gentleman while at the last Chicago road game (or if he can give us the name of a good security team to accompany us), then I suppose the March 23 game in Chicago is also a possibility. For those of us with families and weird occupational schedules, the sooner we plan, the better!

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    Salutations, 55ers!

    Very happy greetings again to all in the Area 55 family! This is everyone's favorite second-year pro Jon LaFollette writing in place of our hoop-hat-wearing president, Mr. Joe. Mr. Joe is swamped with year-end work and yours truly, always willing to lend a helping hand (and being an otherwise unemployed journalism major– [I will write for food!]) is assuming the fill-in role. Hang in there, buddy!

    After turning a would-be rout into a satisfying victory over the Cavaliers of Cleveland Wednesday night, the Pacers (11-11) gear up to host the 76ers of Philadelphia (12-10). This is the first of four times the teams will go at each other this season, and marks the 171st game in the series overall (Philly leads the series 92-62).

    Going back to last year, the 76ers had quite the up and down season. After getting out to an impressive 20-9 mark and pushing for the Eastern Conference's best record, the team stumbled the rest of the year, winning a measly 15 of their last 37 games, and posting a final record of 35-31, squeaking into the postseason as the 8th and the final seed. However, they had a stroke of luck when they played an injury plagued Bulls team and beat them in the series 4-2, before taking Boston (their arch rivals) the full distance in a 7-game series. Coming up one game shy of the Eastern Conference Finals wasn't too bad for a team which essentially had no identity.

    In the off-season, however, the Sixers revamped and retooled their flavorless roster. Gone, now, is the aging Elton Brand and his enormous contract, as well as Andre Iguodala, the former face of the franchise. The team made a highly publicized trade in the off season to acquire center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers who, according to's David Aldridge, is "at worst, the second best center in the league."

    The only thing is Bynum has yet to play a game this year and is now out indefinitely with knee issues. He reportedly re-aggravated the knee after a grueling round of bowling (was it a 7-10 split?). So, rather than helping his hometown team get to the next level, Bynum has used his injury-related free time to grow a really impressive Afro. Seriously. That doo ain't no jive turkey. Anyway, for the wheeling and dealing Sixers, it’s all a bit like Shaft getting on human growth hormones and trading his trench coat and rolodex (or binders) of ladies for post up skills and knees purchased from a glass china shop.

    Bynum's absence will come as a welcome relief for our fearless leader, Roy, who has been prone to struggle against his recently transplanted contemporary. Instead of Bynum, Spencer Hawes will likely start for the Sixers at center tonight. And where Bynum's lustrous 'Fro pays homage to the likes Richard Pryor, Dr. J, and Kobe circa 1999, Hawes' strange mullet-mohawk-mustachioed mix is more contemporary, paying tribute to the likes of Honey-Boo-Boo, Turtle Man and Billy the Exterminator.

    Aside from Bynum, Philly has also signed a few underrated, yet serviceable, guards in Jason Richardson (an 11-year pro who calls the Sixers his 5th team) and Nick Young (a 5- year pro who goes by the laughably awesome nickname of "Swaggy P," Swaggy P is worth a look on Twitter if you're curious enough). Neither are lights-out scorers, but both are plenty capable of filling up the box score and occasionally hitting shots when called upon.

    But even with the new faces, Philly’s scrappy success is mostly due to a trio of young players whom the Sixers have drafted over the last few years: Thaddeus Young (PF), Evan Turner (SG/SF) and Jrue Holiday (PG).

    Young, like the Pacers' own David West, is the workhorse of the Sixers. He's not their go-to offensive guy, but he can post a double double on any given night, be a handful on the glass, and occasionally create turnovers. Turner, in his third year, is averaging a career-best 15 points per game despite just shooting 43% from the field. He's young and streaky, but potent and dangerous - just ask Boston, who let him put up 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks last week. However, it's Jrue Holiday (recently signed to a 4-year $44 million extension) who has been the Sixers best player in the early part of this season. Posting career highs in points per game (18), assists (9) and field goal percentage (45), Holiday is undeniably the biggest reason for the Sixers’ ability to stay above .500 without Bynum, and is on the short list of players to win the NBA’s "Most Improved Player Award." Lucky for us tonight, Holiday's reportedly hurt and probably won't play.

    Philly's season has played out much like the Pacers', doing the best they can while key players are out with prolonged injuries. And, just like the Blue and Gold, they've succeeded in spurts, while struggling in spurts as well. Right now, they’re in a bit of a tailspin. Despite posting a 12-10 record, they've lost 4 of their last 6 with their most recent wins coming over a terrible Detroit team and a last second win over Boston.

    Meanwhile, the boys of Naptown are improving, having won 5 of their last 8 and seeming to have recently gained a semblance of momentum. Credit Paul George, who over the last 7 games has averaged 24 points and begun to show signs of becoming the high caliber player many think he can be. Also credit David "And One" West and his continued steady play, pugnaciousness and leadership.

    Two Hansbroughs Are Better Than One! With a quarter of the season gone and D.J. Augstin still not producing, Coach Vogel promoted Tyler ("Please Call-Me-Gucci-And-Not-Psycho-T") Hansbrough's little brother, Ben, to backup point guard on Wednesday. The results were quite pleasant. His 6 points, lone assist and 2 steals in 17 minutes may seem meager, but his tempo and "eagerness," for lack of a better term, were a breath of fresh air compared to Augustin's ongoing stagnation. Just like his brother, what Ben lacked in productivity at times, he made up for with hustle, spirit and any host of other cliched adjectives. Let's see how Round Two of the Brothers Brough turns out tonight.

    On a side note, the names Psycho-T and Psycho-B are awfully similar and, when chanted, sound almost indistinguishable. I know we could always revert to calling Tyler "Gucci," but it appears as if this appellation has yet to catch on (mostly because it's stupid!). So... I propose letting more creative minds come up with better nicknames for Mr. Ben (maybe Bensanity?).

    The Halftime Show Review Extravaganza! First things first. As much as I strain my ears, squint my eyes and focus my attention, I can never, EVER, hear what P.A. announcer Michael Grady is saying when he introduces the half time talent. So it is with much disappointment, that I have to refer here to Wednesday's entertainer as The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well.

    Anyway, I loved The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well. First, I’m always awed by a good juggling act. Second, and more importantly, I'm easily impressed. In fact, lately I’ve been spending a lot of my idle time gazing at videotaped pictures of Darwin the Ikea Monkey. Never heard of Darwin? Here ya go!

    Anyway, I am even more bemused when I get to watch someone do something that I find incredibly challenging - be it a reverse slam dunk or keeping a bunch of tennis balls suspended in mid-air in twirly fashion. Yup, juggling – any kind of juggling – just fascinates me! But what separates the really expert jugglers from ordinary rank novices is execution. Some can execute and some can’t. Compare that half time show a few games back that featured those off-sync dancing housewives with The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well. Sadly, the dancing mom’s were blessed more with good intentions than talent, They couldn’t execute! The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well's performance was, by contrast, crisp, brisk and professional. Actually, its simple and easy going nature belied the challenge. The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well could execute, making the intricate act juggling seem almost routine.

    Oh, and did I mention The Fine Gentleman Who Could Juggle Quite Well only had one arm? Hey, I didn't call him handicapped in this review one time, did I?. And neither would he! GRADE: A-

    The Founding Five The Philadelphia 76ers' name is obvious given the City of Brotherly Love's connections to the founding of this country. But what isn't quite as well known is the Founding Fathers' connection to the great game of basketball. In what has become forgotten history, the seemingly uptight marble men of early America were actually wizards on the hardwood. In fact, when they weren't busy deciding how to run the country, many of our wig-wearing founders played a mean game of 5-on-5 street ball. In an exclusive Area 55 discovery (the perks of being a hard-nosed-lead-digging-journalist) I've discovered a written transcript of the player introductions from one of those very games. Apparently all players were introduced by Frederick Muhlenberg, the nation's first Speaker of the House (irony anyone?).

    "Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to Providence Hall! Get ready to meet your Philadelphia Freedom Fighters!

    Head coach of the Freedom Fighters, is BEN "ELECTRIC B" FRANKLIN!!!!!!!!!

    Your starting point guard, from King's College, standing at 5' 7" and wearing Number 0, get loud for ALEXANDER "MONKEY MAKER" HAMILTON!!!!!!!

    At shooting guard, from Boston Latin School, at 5' 7" and wearing Number 76, give it up for HENRY " FOXY NOXY" KNOX!!!!!!

    At small forward, from Harvard, at 5' 7" and wearing Number 2, get rowdy for JOHN "THE VP" ADAMS!!!!!!!

    At power forward, from the University of William and Mary, towering in at 6' 2" and wearing Number 3, make some noise for THOMAS "CHOCOLATE MILK" JEFFERSON!!!!!!!!

    And at center, from Mount Vernon, standing tall at 6' 2" and wearing Numero Uno, get on your feet for THE ONE! THE ONLY! TEAM CAPTAIN! G-DUB! THE GENERAL! GEORGE. WASHINGTOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!"

    From what I've read, John Hancock made for quite the sixth man.

    That’s enough for now, campers. Remember, the Sixers must be fended off tonight! With Lance out, we’ve gotta step in and be Frank’s extra man.

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 12-15-2012 at 11:22 AM.

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    Salutations, fellow 55ers!

    Hello Area 55. This is second year vet Jon LaFollette here, composing my third newsletter of the season. President Joe is still rather busy with his ever-important-lawyerly-type-stuff and with me, familiar with all the inside poop on Utah, it was decided that once again that I, rather than Joe, would author the Newsletter.

    OK. Concedely, we must start on a bit of a down note. So, go on. Take a moment to reflect on last night's loss to the Bucks of Milwaukee.

    Take some deep breaths. Now exhale. Do it again. OK, here it comes: Acceptance. Inner peace. Move on. Repeat as many times as needed.

    Still not over it? Well get on with life. Too bad, but its no time to mope over the unchangeable. Besides, the boys in blue and gold do have a game tonight at Bankers Life (their lone home stand for the week) against native son Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz.

    Where the Pacers were burned for 53 points by the Bucks' Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, a pair of highly potent guards, the team tonight faces an entirely different kind of animal in Utah -- a very BIG animal. Where Milwaukee is quick footed and reliant on undersized wings, the Jazz sport one of the more formidable lineups of big men in the NBA. Al Jefferson, their biggest big, averages 17 points and 10 rebounds a game in his seventh season. While starting power forward Paul Millsap is small for his position (a paltry 6' 8"), he's strong, scrappy, and can stretch the floor with his ability to hit the long ball (he's averaging a career best 46 percent from 3-pt. land). And while he doesn't take too many shots from the behind the arc, he's still someone the Pacers must respect and guard tenaciously - a task which will fall to David West, who is taller and more muscular than Millsap, if a bit slower and less athletic.

    The Jazz have another duo of bigs coming off the bench in forward Derrick Favors (third year) and Turkish center Enes Kanter (second year), both products of the team's trade with the (now) Brooklyn Nets involving former Jazz point guard, Deron Williams. While these two are still young and learning the ropes of professional basketball, both were highly touted lottery picks who, despite limited minutes, are already showing signs of their true potential. They will pose matchup problems in the paint for Tyler Hansbrough and Ian Mahinmi.

    All of Utah's bigs mean they're a handful on the glass right? Well, not necessarily. For the Jazz, it's a case of the glass being half-empty and half-full. While they own the fifth best offensive rebounding rate in the league, they're second worst at defensive boards (a category the Pacers are second best in). And while the Jazz post an eighth best 104 points per 100 possessions, they allow their opponents to score just as many points, meaning they have one of the 10 worst defenses in the league. Obviously these things contradict each other, and are reflected in the teams' 14-12 record.

    Despite their contradictions, the Jazz are the winners of five of their last seven games, including a 92-90 come-from-behind victory in Brooklyn last night. And while I've spent most of this Newsletter pontificating on the rather large nature of the team, their wings are noteworthy in their own regards. Starting PG Mo Williams, a well-traveled veteran and underrated for his efficiency, is averaging 13 points and 7 assists per game. Shooting guard Randye Foye, despite shooting just 40 percent, is also putting up a respectable 11 points per game.

    Utah’s backup point guards include former Pacers Earl Watson (who is constantly hurt) and Jamaal Tinsley (no explanations needed). Tinsley has found a niche role as a distributor and averages 7 assists per game.

    It goes without saying that Gordon Hayward is the team's most notable player when it comes to central Indiana. Famous for his days at Brownsburg High School (my alma mater - CLASS OF 2007 REPRESENT!!!!), where he helped the Bulldogs win a state championship in 2008, and Butler University, where he took THOSE Bulldogs to a Final Four and a national championship game. Hence, there will be many in attendance tonight sporting the blue and gold (or green) of Utah with the number 20 on their chest. Try to pay them no mind. They're not Jazz fans, just Gordo fans who are coming to cheer on a hometown boy done good. It may be obnoxious to see Indy residents wearing Jazz gear over Pacers merch, but better a Hayward fan than a Heat or Lakers bandwagoner I say.

    From what I've read in a few rumor mill sites on the web, former Pacers GM Larry Bird thought long and hard about drafting Hayward in the 2010 NBA Draft. Some articles went so far as to claim that Bird told Hayward he was going to become a Pacer on draft night with the tenth pick should he have been available. However, the Jazz selected him with the ninth, leaving the Pacers to take Paul George. Many, including myself, think the Pacers picked the one with more upside, but Hayward, who currently fills a sixth man role at Utah, has turned into a serviceable player in his own right. At 6' 8", he can guard both the two and the three positions and is the team's best wing defender. He is consistently chosen to guard the opposing team's best player. Last year, he ranked in the top ten in several individual defensive categories - including steals per 36 minutes. However, this year Hayward’s offense has been down. Despite putting up 13 points per game, he's averaging a career low 40 percent from the field.


    Tonight's game will be won from the inside out, beginning with Al Jefferson and Roy Hibbert. For Jefferson's 7-foot frame and ability to score, he's a lousy defender. Where Hibbert averages 3 blocks per game, Jefferson barely manages a single block (Rik Smits much?). Jefferson’s known for letting other bigs score almost at will on him for certain stretches of the game. Thus, perhaps this will be a matchup that could give Roy a much needed spark. There’s no better tonic for a center’s offensive woes that a counterpart who can’t play defense..

    Paul George, who struggled in the second half in Milwaukee last night, will have to rekindle the energy that helped him post Granger-esque numbers (23 points, 7 boards, 4 assists) last week and earned him his Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award.

    David West has to contain Milsap.
    Lance Stephenson, who missed two key fastbreak layups last night in his first game back from an ankle injury, has to make better decisions in important moments.

    The bench played their best game of the season last night, scoring 36 points on 10-of-20 shooting, including 16-of-20 from the charity stripe. They must keep up this energy against Utah, who have one of the deeper bench units in the league.

    CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET JAZZ FAN "Wow, Jon. You sure do have a rather deep knowledge of the Utah Jazz,"

    Why, yes. random inquisitive Area 55 member. That's because, after my Pacers, the Jazz are my second favorite basketball team.

    "TRAITOR!!!" you'll shout.

    "NAY!" I reply.

    Only a handful of my Area 55 buddies know of my secret, and almost every one of them has the same response.

    "Dude! You can only have ONE team!"

    Nonsense. Who made up that rule? That's a rather stupid rule if you ask me. My fiercely independent nature refuses to be shackled by such ridiculous constrictions. As much as I love my Pacers, and will bleed blue and gold until my dying breath (and most likely will be buried with some kind of Pacers garb on), I rely on the Jazz to be my lone obsession away from the hoopla and craze of Pacers basketball that I share with my friends and fellow fans.

    "But why the Jazz?"

    Well, if you must know, I've had family in the Salt Lake area my entire life. No, my family is not part Mormon. They are transplanted Hoosiers who found employment in Utah several years before I was born. Thus, it was natural for me to adopt Utah as a second team as it were. That's one reason. Another reason is because I found myself cheering for the Jazz at the height of their Stockton-Malone days in the '90s. At that time the Bulls were an insurmountable monolith that the then-Pacers could never hope to topple. I desperately cheered for vengeance for my Number One team whenever the Jazz squared off against Chicago in the Finals – something they did during back-to-back seasons. Never one to be a fair-weather fan, I've stuck by the Jazz in years thereafter through thick and thin. But never, and I mean NEVER will I cheer for them over my Pacers. So don't worry about hearing wayward Utah chants in the confines of Area 55 tonight from my larynx. Tonight, the Jazz will be my enemy.

    "Still... the Jazz?"

    Shut up. At least their not the Knicks or Lakers.

    PTO Fun LaFollette’s gone. It’s Lame Duck Area 55 Prez Joe from here on out. Sadly, we’ve neglected the Pacers Tailgating Organization in the last couple of Newsletter issues. This is largely due to the fact that its normally bubbly and cherubic VP and GM, Casey O’Brien, has not been in attendance. A saturnalia is just not a saturnalia without a nude Casey O’Brien there shivering in a cold parking area.

    A convicted arsonist, O’Brien has been away dealing with some legal issues stemming from some of his many probation violations. The latest wrinkle in his criminal history arises from a court-ordered Community Service stint that required him to perform work as a Christmas bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. In some sort of mix-up, the funds garnered by O’Brien from the bell-ringing failed to find their way to the Army’s coffers and in a petty act of retribution they refused to sign his Community Service paperwork. Hopefully, O’Brien will still be able to spend Christmas with his wife and kids. We’re all pulling for ya, Casey!

    Anyway, here’s amends for our neglect of PTO happenings. In another bit of Christmas cheer I’ve selected this video of El Pacero’s encounter with a homeless lady from the vault of “Great Moments in PTO History” to enliven your drab holiday lives. P.S., in case you’re wondering, Pacero did manage to get his Championship Women Wrestling Belt back from the homeless lady – but that’s another story!

    A-Caroling We’ll Go! Just got this in from irrepressible holiday guy Rob Laycock:


    What do you think about singing some Christmas Carols again this holiday season? It was fun two years ago. We could even film it at the game tonight. Thoughts?


    I responded positively. However, we need to sing something. So, put pen to paper quickly, 55ers and come up with some Pacers – oriented Christmas Carols. If all else fails, we can reprise “Roy, Roy, Roy” (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells). If you do come up with something, shoot it to my pronto at so we can distribute copies to all merry carolers wishing to be participatory.

    Did Gordon Hayward Play the Banjo in “Deliverance”? OK, I gave closet- polygamist, Fighting John LaFollette, his opportunity to bare his soul about his perverse love affair with Utah. But now I’m briefly back briefly from my mundane legal day job to re-align the balance. I did not attend either Brownsburg High or Butler University. Consequently, I have no biased axes to grind and my Utah gloves are off!.

    First, am I, Joe Murphy, the only NBA fan that has noted the strong facial resemblance between Gordon Hayward and that backwoods, inbred banjo-picker that cameoed so importantly in the movie “Deliverance”? You be the judge:

    First, some mood music:

    Now, take a good look at Gordo:

    Now here’s the “Deliverance” Gordo Look-Alike a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’?

    I maintain there’s something seriously genetic going on here!

    Oh, Those Mormon Homiest! Utah’s jazzy B-ballers play their games at the “Energy Solutions Arena,” usually before rabid fans known for their vociferous partisanship. This fact has not gone unnoticed in the nightmare world of “Whoops, I didn’t really mean to say that” NBA punditry where one little slip can end a lucrative broadcasting career.

    In a 2008 radio broadcast, ESPN's NBA sideline yapper, Ric Bucher, suggested that the reason Utah was one of the toughest places to play was because their fans are so pent-up and frustrated because, you know, well, they're…Mormons. Bucher advanced his thesis thusly:

    "It is the most intimidating place to play because of the configuration of the arena…and let’s be honest, they are Mormons, they are in Salt Lake, and there is nothing else there. You know, [Mormons] gotta smile and be happy all the time. This is the one opportunity for people to get vicious in a fair arena. And the fans seem to take full advantage of it.”

    Jazz fans and clean-living polygamists alike were so pissed at Bucher’s remarks that they inundated ESPN with complaints and forced both Bucher and ESPN to apologize.
    Bucher was thusly contrite:

    “I knew immediately that I had made an inappropriate connection between Mormons and the harsh reception that opposing teams sometimes experience inside Energy Solutions Arena. I regret making that connection and apologize to anyone of the Mormon faith for having done so. And (I hope) that all citizens of Salt Lake City will find it in their hearts to welcome me as hospitably as they have in the past."

    Some NBA players have also had occasion to comment on the enthusiasm of the Salt Lake City fan base:

    Following a 1997 playoff road loss by the Bulls to the Salt Lake City-based Jazz, Dennis Rodman said,

    “It’s difficult to get in sync because of all the (expletive deleted) Mormons out here. And you can quote me on that.”

    Many sportswriters did just that. NBA hell ensued. Afterwards, Dennis said that his remarks were brought on by Jazz fans that were making obscene gestures at him. However, according to press reports, Rodman supposedly had also made lewd comments about Mormons on two prior occasions.

    Like Bucher, Rodman too was quickly and sincerely apologetic:

    “If I knew it was like a religious-type deal, I would have never said it. I’m sorry about that.”

    Phil Jackson, Rodman’s protector and coach at the time, tried to explain and enhance Dennis’ act of contrition by noting,

    “To Dennis, a Mormon may just be a nickname for people from Utah. He may not even know it’s a religious cult or sect or whatever.”

    Dennis later received a $50,000.00 fine for his intemperate comment, the largest fine up to then ever assessed on a player for his remarks.

    So it goes.

    Al Jefferson! Watch Your Back! As we all know, NBA basketball players are human beings. They have lives off-court. Some, however, have livelier lives than others. Back in another December a couple of years ago, Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson made a frantic call to local police. Why? Al, it seems, had been viciously attacked by his girlfriend, Shirley Lewis.

    According to the probable cause statement filed by police in the case, a verbal argument at Jefferson’s Cottonwood Heights mansion took place between Lewis, 38, and Jefferson, 26. The argument then escalated to violence when Lewis allegedly hit Jefferson and then bit him on his back.

    Jefferson refused to discuss the incident at Utah’s media day for the 2011-12 season.

    "It’s a personal matter and I’m done talking about it. I want to discuss basketball. I know you’ve got some good questions about basketball, right?"

    Reporters gave Jefferson space. But Big Al did take a moment to reflect on a strong seven-year professional career that sometimes has been overshadowed by off-court drama

    "It’s life, man. Life is full of adjustments, full of changes. It’s life."

    So true!

    Hey, Look! It’s Olive Gordon! As my counterpart, Fighting Jon has previously mentioned, former Butler Bulldog standout, Gordon Hayward, is now a millionaire serving as a reliable 6th man at forward off the Utah bench. However, success has not spoiled Gordo. Last year, in a jaunt to New York City, one of America’s culinary capitals, Gordon was found dining not in one of Little Italy’s finest dining spots. Instead, he opted for a $13 meal at a Times Square Olive Garden. The press was intrigued and asked him for a review.

    Gordon’s assessment of his menu choice (The Olive Garden’s “Original Spaghetti with Meat Sauce”)?

    “It was good!”

    When asked where he went for lunch between the Jazz’s morning shoot-around and their game with the Knicks, Gordon’s comment was similarly emphatic and terse:


    Well, that’s it, 55ers. Be loud, proud, and nasty tonight. But if you are so inclined, make Gordon feel at home. Toss him a can of verbal Spaghetti-Os.


  11. #57
    Running with the Big Boys BillS's Avatar
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    I guess I could understand cheering for the home town guy. If he just wasn't, you know, from Brownsburg...

    Danville native

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    As a Ben Davis grad and rival by proxy to Brownsburg, I concur.

    The "Drunken Frat Boys" ride again!
    "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

    "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "

  14. #59

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    The Area 55/G2 Zone Christmas carol video is posted on the Pacers website, for those interested in viewing.

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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Well, The G2/Area55/A VERY SNEAKY BillS Christmas Carol video is posted....
    "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

    "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "

  17. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman21 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Well, The G2/Area55/A VERY SNEAKY BillS Christmas Carol video is posted....
    Yes, We're EVERYWHERE.


    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...

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    Seth is so under the radar he can even be in a video and not be outed.

    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

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    Salutations 55ers!

    Today, O brothers and sisters in basketball, we return to normalcy. Christmas is over. We must put away our holiday loot, take down the tree, and focus anew our attention on our Pacers.

    And look! The 16-12 Pacers find themselves, at long last, alone atop the Central, right where we want to be, perched there a half game in front of the Bulls and the Bucks, who are in a nondescript tie for second. Our anticipated post-Xmas BLF meet-up with our bovine buddies from the Windy City was peremptorily shelved at the last minute by the NBA, ostensibly due to wintry conditions. This was undoubtedly a good thing for the Bulls, who were reeling from two consecutive losses and would have been without the services of Luol Deng. At any rate, the Pacers got an unexpected night off and will now face the Suns rested, ready, and hopefully reinvigorated. The Pacers, by the way, are going for a season-first 4 wins in a row

    To me, the Phoenix Suns cause visions of sugar plums to dance in my head. They indeed look like a belated holiday gift ripe and ready for the Pacers’ taking. Their record is 11-16 and they arrive riding a 3-game losing streak. Right now they are 12 games behind the L.A. Clippers in the Pacific, just edging out Sacramento for the uncoveted title of worst team in the West. In case you’re wondering, their road record stands at 2-11 and those wins were at Charlotte and Cleveland. In their last outing on Wednesday, the Carmelo-less Knicks edged them 99-97 at the buzzer, nullifying a fruitless 36-point solar eruption from the Suns’ Jared Dudley.

    On paper, the Suns look like a bunch of nonentities. But while lacking any real stars to speak of, they still sport a lot of scoring balance. Their biggest guns are guards Goran Dragic (14.1 ppg and 6.2 assists) and Shannon Brown (12,9 ppg). Their front line consists of forwards Jared Dudley (11.8 ppg), Luis Scola (11.7 ppg) and Marcin Gortat (11.2 ppg). Their bench features Michael Beasley (10.5), Sebastian Telfair (6.0 ppg) and a familiar face – former Pacer standout Jermaine O’Neal (7.1 ppg). They have lots of vets and lots of foreign players. Dragic, Scola, and Gortat are all Green Card holders hailing from Slovenia, Argentina, and Poland, respectively. Generally speaking, the Suns can be described as physical, experienced, and tough. They’re not very glamorous, but they can’t be taken too lightly either.

    Belated Half-Time Review of “The Russian Bar” As is my wont, while the rest of you peons are replenishing your beers at halftime, I remain glued to my seat, sober and unbiased, gazing intently below eyeing the festivities that PS&E invariably procures for our plebian amusement. For the Utah game on December 19th, we were treated to the high-flying antics of “The Russian Bar”. My review of that august spectacle follows:

    Ever wonder where the hell our halftime entertainment comes from? Well, me too. And “The Russian Bar” piqued my insatiable curiosity and meticulous researching skills. These lead me to the Wolfpack Entertainment website, which is here:

    See, Wolfpack has a deal with the NBA and it also has the likes of “The Red Panda Acrobat” and “Quick Change” under contract. This happy coincidence is what gets us that oriental lady balancing plates on her seven foot unicycle and the babe that so magically changes her wardrobe at the blink of an eye. Wolfpack’s arrangement with the NBA also got us “The Russian Bar.” I’m not usually a betting man, but my guess is that some of Wolfpack’s other entertainers might be coming our way soon too. As I’ve always been partial to contortionists, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what the likes of “Rubberboy” (The World’s Most Flexible Man according to the Guinness Book of Records!) will bring to the normally placid halftime confines of BLF.

    So what did you miss in not seeing “The Russian Bar”? Or better, what the hell is “The Russian Bar”?

    Well, it was not an assortment of flavored vodkas. Nor was it a group of Slavic lawyers. Nyet! Nyet!

    Rather, it was a troupe of three acrobats properly called The Sandou Trio a/k/a “The Russian Bar.” Their act featured two burly guys (possibly former KGB agents, I’ll call them Ivan and Yuri) who were dressed up with head kerchiefs, a bit like pirates from the Caribbean, for no apparent reason. Ivan and Yuri were charged with the manly task of toting a long flexible bar out to center court. Then, a spritely ballerina type (who looked kind of hot to me), swiftly mounted the bar. The burly KGB guys -- each holding ends of the bar – then started bouncing it up and down, thereby using it to launch the Slavic ballerina sprite upwards into space, sort of like an attractive human Sputnik. The hot babe (I’ll call her Olga) was clad in a spangly bodysuit and did most of the work in the act.

    See, “the Russian bar” on which Olga was perched served as sort of a launching pad. When the sprite gave the burly ones the nod, they would hoist the bar upwards and thereby propel Olga way up into the nether reaches of our arena. While airborne, Olga then did gymnastic front flips, back flips, and intricate twists and turns. Then, obedient to the laws of gravity, she fluttered downward invariably landing with her talented feet squarely on the Russian bar, which was kind of flexible, and bent gently under her diminutive weight. Not once did Olga land poorly or otherwise fall off the bar. This is a good thing, since there was no safety net and a misstep on her part could have been ugly.

    Actually, further research on my part has revealed that Olga’s real name was Sandy and she was from San Antonio, Texas and not Moscow, Petrograd, or Kiev. This has disappointed me a bit. I was hoping for something more Zhivago-esque.

    At any rate, you can watch them doing their thing on a tape from “America’s Got Talent” that I’m putting right here:

    I give The Russian Bar a B+. Bring on Rubberboy!


    Luis Scola, Houston Says Good Riddance! Argentine import Luis Scola has always been welcome to Area 55. Last year, you may recall, we greeted him at the free-throw line with one of our more memorable chants: “Wash Your Hair!”

    Here’s Luis and the hair that inspired the chant:

    Yes, Luis does sport a greasy mane reminiscent of the oily pampas grass of his South American homeland. He labored for 5 more or less unmemorable years in Houston, but was then waived and later acquired by Phoenix as part of the intricate maneuvering that ultimately garnered the Rockets the notoriously bearded James Harden. Luis’ lamentable locks earned him few fans in Houston. Following the trade, Rockets’ GM, Daryl Morely posted this Twitter response from a happy Houston fan:


    Ironically, in James Harden, Houston acquired a player with possibly the most fabulously insane facial hair in the NBA. I can think of few players, for example, whose whiskers have served to inspire a fruit arrangement (, a tasty dessert ( or the entrance to a building (

    Here’s James in case you want a peek:

    The Most Famous Proboscis in Poland! Last March, when Steve Nash was still in Phoenix, the Suns’ Polish center, Marcin Gortat, managed to break his nose by accidentally running into teammate Steve Nash’s head. It wasn’t pretty. Marcin went down hard and then bled all over the court.

    Marcin took the injury in stride, tweeting thusly afterwards:

    “I know my modeling job is over now!!!!!! so i can focus 100% on basketball!!!!! I had that nice deal with GUCCI and now ....(((((“

    Marcin elected to have his schnoz reset in a macho way too – without anesthetic. This was a mistake, as he later admitted:

    "It was my fault," he said. "I should take an injection. It was painful. I don't want to use bad words. I had dirty pants almost."

    Ah well. Time to go to press. Let’s tune up for Phoenix and help the Pacers put the Suns into a dark eclipse.

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 12-31-2012 at 02:37 AM.

  21. #64

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Looking forward to the review of the cowboy monkeys. Personally it felt like a live infomercial...too much talk and not enough action, and at the end, I wanted to go out and buy a primate! But it's hard to bash an act where you have monkeys riding dogs!

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    That review will be the province of Fighting Jon LaFollette. He was NOT happy with The Ghost Riders. Stay tuned!

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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    The Milwaukee Odyssey: At this point in the Newsletter I usually talk about PTO doings or slide into a few fun facts about the opposing team. However, my recent road trip to Milwaukee to see our boys handle the Bucks causes me to part from the standard format. A lot of people have been telling me they want to hear the particulars on what happened. Accordingly, here’s the poop. Read further at your peril!

    The impetus that caused 13 devoted Pacers Tailgating Organization and Area 55 members to embark on an impromptu trip to the city of Laverne and Shirley began immediately after our win over the Bobcats. At that time, Kyle “Kielbeze” Brumback (flush with a home victory and doubtlessly inspired by beer) hatched a boozy plan with El Pacero to organize a quickie caravan to Milwaukee for the Pacers’ road game with the Bucks. I learned something was afoot just before the end of the Charlotte game. After Dahntay Jones had unloaded the last of his 19 points on the Bobcats, I looked down and saw Kielbeze directing his bear-like body upwards from the lower echelons of Row 6 of Section 101 and ambling toward where I was sitting in the rarefied air of Row 9.

    I could tell that whatever he had in mind was going to be trouble. In Brumback’s case beer and thought always make for a dangerous combination.

    Anyway, Kielbeze advised we 3 Row 9ers (i.e., yours truly, Brian “Pacers4Ever” Koller, and Colin “Paint Your Face” Lott) that a trip to Wisconsin was in the works. Then, without giving any of us much time to say anything about this one way or the other, he firmly advised us that we didn’t have much say in the matter anyway and that he had simply decided that we would be going. It went something like this:

    “El Pacero will talk to Rob Laycock and nail us some tickets,” said Kielbeze. “And you, IndyHoya, will be one of the drivers!”

    Yeah, it was on pretty short notice. And true, I can’t say I was extremely enthusiastic at first. After all, Kielbeze had more to drink at the PTO than I did. However, drunk or sober, Kielbeze is a persuasive guy. You can’t work as a collection agent for Sallie Mae without picking up some people skills.

    Anyway, Kielbeze pooh-poohed all my perfectly reasonable excuses for not going – clients, work, a sense of responsibility, the wife etc. etc. After all, the Bear was farting off his own job in order to make the trip. Given that, he rightly pointed out that I’d be a total lamer if I didn’t do exactly the same thing. That almost persuaded me, but then he hit me with his most compelling argument – a succinct reminder of how Squad 6 had humiliated us in its visit to Conseco. That memory, of course, rankled. When I heard it, I decided that come hell or high water I would be driving my Toyota to Cheeseville.

    In an ensuing post-game organizational conclave held in the Anthem parking lot, Kielbeze used his skills to dragoon two additional drivers – Justin Dumbrosky and Markus Beresford. And by 9:00 A.M. the next morning fully 13 would-be Argonauts had signed on for the expedition. Who were these intrepid soldiers-of-fortune? Well, as mentioned, there was moi, Joe Murphy, the lovable IndyHoya. There was Justin “The Polish Pacer” Dombrosky, and there was Indianapolis Markus. We were designated as the flotilla’s helmsmen chiefly because we owned functioning automobiles. It certainly wasn’t because of our bubbly and effervescent personalities. Our passengers – helping out with moral support and gas money – were Dave “Day-V” Dearing, the inimitable El Pacero, Colin Lott – a 19 year old psychotic, Big John the Phony Canadian Professional Wrestler, Bryon “BPump33” Pumphrey, our 18-year old NBA savant, Brian “Pacers4Ever” Koller , Zach “Red Foster” Brown, Rob “SuperFan” Greenway, Chris “PacersChants” Goff, and, of course, the main ursine instigator, Kielbeze. Not a bad crew given the short notice. I would have preferred a topless dancer or two, but space was limited. The trip was underway.

    Accordingly, Saturday morning at noon, we rendezvoused at a northwest side location that shall continue to remain nameless. On my arrival with Koller in tow, I immediately noticed that there was this new, strange-looking dude among our number that I hadn’t really seen before. I figured he was somebody’s friend. But after I gunned my engine and set out, BPump told me the guy was none other than El Pacero – only sans mask.

    See, the prospects of four and a half hours of mask sweat caused Pacero to doff his cover. I won’t describe the visage I saw in too much detail. If you want an image of what I saw, segue to that horrible scene from The Phantom of the Opera when the hero pulls his cover off!!! Aaargh!!! The disfiguring scars! The acid burns! The horrible contorted features!!!). Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little here for literary effect.

    Anyway, owing to his sharing us with his unmasking, all of us fellow-travelers were sworn to the highest degree of secrecy. I will therefore say little more here about what we all saw. Being fellow 55ers and buddies of Pacero, we all understood the need to preserve his well-earned aura of mystery. Accordingly, I will say nothing here to endanger his secret identity. However, the next time you order a pizza from Donato’s, scrutinize the features of your delivery guy carefully and tip him well. No, I’m not saying that El Pacero’s alter ego delivers pizzas for a living. I’m only saying that there’s a good chance that he does (*wink* *nudge* *hint*).

    I will also say little about my actual trip from Point X to Milwaukee other than this. I was at the wheel of my noble 1998 Toyota Rav4 the entire time and Brian “Pacers4Ever” Koller served as my navigator. Traveling under these circumstances greatly intensified the excitement already inherent in the adventure. I have to say that Koller did his level best to keep me on the right roads during the trip. However, assigning important map work to a person suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder like Koller proved, in hindsight, to be something of a mistake. Yup, despite a detailed Yahoo Map I had printed off beforehand, and my ruthlessly steady hand at the wheel, with Koller navigating we managed to be lost approximately 70% of the time on the way to Milwaukee. To be fair, besides his ADD, Koller had only had around 2 hours of sleep before we embarked. Also, for some reason, he had swilled down a couple of dozen bottles of “Arnold Palmer Iced Tea” (golfer Koller’s favorite brand) before setting out. Koller’s tea drinking did unfortunately foreseeable things to his young bladder. As a result, our northward progress was sluggish. It seemed like whenever we were about to make some good time, Koller would start hinting about having to whiz on my Toyota’s s front seat upholstery. I don’t know how many unplanned stops we had to make. But I think we visited every McDonald’s john extant between Lafayette and Fowler.

    Originally I was supposed to lead the assembled cars on our long odyssey, However, owing to Koller’s finicky bladder our expedition devolved quickly into a Ray Charles leading Stevie Wonder sort of thing. After the first 10 or 15 minutes of the trip, what with Koller’s navigating and urinating, we soon lost track of one another. When it was all said and done, every vehicle was pretty much forced to fend for itself.

    My trusty Rav4 did manage to make it to Milwaukee without any serious mishaps (no thanks to Koller). However, when we made our approach we all (that is, me, BPump, Colin, and Koller) somehow managed to miss Exit 73A, the designated downtown Milwaukee entry point. As a result, we got to needlessly see where the Milwaukee Brewers play their baseball, view the exit for the town’s Zoo, and scan the get-off point for the famous Potawatomi Casino (which, judging from all the signs advertising it, is the principal basis of Milwaukee’s booming economy).

    At long last, after finding ourselves in a strange place called Waukeesha (another town doubtlessly either founded or owned by Potawatomis), we all concluded that we were hopelessly lost and that we would have to do the extremely unmasculine thing of asking someone for directions. Accordingly, on Colin Lott’s particular insistence, we turned into a seedy-looking Waukeesha gas station to take stock and seek guidance.

    I am ashamed to say that I wound up having to ask an effeminate-looking guy (possibly a gay Potawatomi) that was using a squeegee to wipe muddy water stains from his car windows (a popular local pastime in Milwaukee) for directional help. Our informant pointed a limp wrist toward a nearby highway, provided additional useful information and, as a result, we managed to double back to the mysterious 73A exit that we so successfully blew by in the first place.

    Anyway, we then wound up taking a random downtown exit (it might have said Kilbourne Street, by that time I was hallucinating and can’t now be sure), passed the Marquette University campus (which took us all of about 30 seconds), found Fourth Street, and then took a decisive left. Then we had a “Eureka” moment.

    There it was! Looming up out of the snow squalls and afternoon greyness that so typifies Milwaukee in February (and most other months as well) — a big, black, ugly mother of a building that bore the fabled name:

    “Bradley Center.”

    Hallelujah! We had scaled the mountain! We had made it to Milwaukee!

    Our timing was good. We reached Brew Town just about 3 hours before tip-off time. Dombrosky and Markus had beaten me there, of course. They had already parked their vehicles in a fetid $20 lot surrounded by piles of blackened reminders of Milwaukee’s last snowstorm. After making sure of the fact that all of us had actually arrived intact and in one piece, we sucked on beer Kielbeze had thoughtfully brought along with him from Indianapolis while waiting for Pacero and Greenway to don their standard Area 55 garb. We then hiked a block or two over to our next major checkpoint – “The Old German Beer Hall” a/k/a “The Hofbrauhaus.”

    The Old German Beer Hall is located on “North Old World Third Street” (or something like that). Just an aside here, but it occurs to me now, as I write this, that practically everything is old and German in Milwaukee except possibly the Potawatomi Tribe’s spanking new Casino). Whatever, it’s just a couple of blocks from the Bradley Center. I had previously visited Milwaukee on an earlier gray February to view a Georgetown-Marquette game and had stumbled into the Beer Hall by accident. That was one of the few good things that had happened to me on that trip. Anyway, I talked it up as a potential watering hole. No one else had any alternatives in mind, so we beat a path to it in fairly good order.

    If you want to retrace our intrepid steps someday, here ya go:

    The Old German Beer Hall proved to be a good choice. Once there, we decided to forego any further sightseeing or local Milwaukee tourist attractions. The beer (I had a frothy pitcher of “Amber”) was pretty tasty. After determining that the money we had brought with us was not counterfeit and that some of us actually did possess good credit, the bosomy young serving maids treated us pretty well. A representative portrait of the Beer Hall’s serving wenches is faithfully depicted below:

    Big Jon was probably the one of us most awed by the Beer Hall’s waitresses. To paraphrase his comments at the time, there is just something endearing and welcoming about seeing a waitress, thusly attired, bouncing and jiggling her way towards you, while simultaneously hoisting 4 or 5 mammoth steins of genuine German beer. It’s about the closest thing to Valhalla one can experience without actually dying first in battle.

    Anyway, after seating ourselves on the benches at the Beer Hall, most of us immediately loaded up on beer, mammoth pretzels, and wurst. We were all, of course, rigged out in our standard Area 55 Pacers gear and as we drank and caroused the locals in the place (who appeared to be of either German or Potawatomi ethnicity) were all eyeing us sort of warily.

    We did our best to cozy up to the locals — explaining the noble purpose of our mission and cheerily chanting “Roy, Roy, Roy” at appropriate times as the Hall’s German dance music was playing.

    This is where things turned a bit weird. Towards the back of the Beer Hall, close to where we were doing our drinking, some of the more manly of the locals were involved in a strange sort of game that entailed driving nails into a sawed-off tree trunk with a hammer.

    It seemed a sort of silly pastime to me, however, mindful that we were, indeed, goodwill ambassadors from far off Indy, we kept most of our commentary to ourselves so as not to be any more offensive than we already were. Indeed, when a couple of the locals challenged our manhood and invited us to a nail-hitting competition, a few of our number rose from our benches to face the opposition.

    As mentioned, this odd Milwaukee sport entailed picking up a heavy hammer (that, for some reason, was chained to the sawed-off tree trunk – possibly to prevent theft. Who the hell knows?.), and then using it to try to drive a nail into the top of the tree trunk with as few hammer-strokes as possible. Anyway, three of our baker’s dozen, uncowed and determined, faced the challenge. Their names shall be preserved in the annals of Area 55: Dombrosky, Big Jon, and Indianapolis Markus.

    Dombrosky was first, and his attempt to heft the hammer and hit the nail got things off to a controversial start. He lifted the mallet and smashed it down pretty hard but his stroke didn’t entirely hit his objective – a nail that had been lightly started in the tree trunk. Rather, Dombrosky kind of grazed the nail, causing it to fly off the trunk crazily and ping violently against the glass cover of a framed picture of one of the notable German dignitaries (maybe it was Otto von Bismark or Kaiser Wilhelm, none of us were totally sure) that adorned a nearby wall. Anyway, Dombrosky’s stroke, and all the resulting smashed glass, added a sort of Hunnic festivity to the already wild mood of the competition.

    The establishment’s owners, learning of the damage to their memorabilia took the unanticipated carnage reasonably well. I don’t think they even demanded that we pay for it. At any rate, Dombrosky, perhaps remembering the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, offered no apologies.

    Big Jon the Wrestler was the next PTOer to heft the heavy hammer. And he hit his nail pretty squarely, driving it about three-quarters of the way into the tree trunk at one stroke. The smarmy locals that had invited him to participate were suitably awed. Indeed, none of their strokes matched his.

    But the real hero of the day proved to be Indianapolis Markus, who somehow, some way, on his very first blow drove the nail down to its very head deeply into the cellulose bowels of the tree trunk.

    The locals who had challenged us to the competition in the first place appeared greatly chagrined. Following Markus’ Meisterstroke, we heard no more invites to test our manhood in Milwaukee nail smiting. Indeed, all remarks about us being invading “Hoosiers” petered into a hushed silence. Markus had beaten the locals at their own game! Anyway, after Markus smashed his nail all the way in in a single blow, our detractors sort of slunk away into some of the more obscure areas of the Beer Hall. We didn’t hear any more crap from them for the rest of the evening.

    The rest of us spent the remaining two hours swilling beer and ordering pretzels for no real reason other than to see our bosomy serving wenches come jiggling out to our table carrying them. After a while, a musician attired in lederhosen appeared and began playing a lot of Teutonic drinking songs. We chimed in with lusty choruses of “Hib-Hib-Hooroy” and “Sick-a-sycka, Sick-a- sycka, Roy, Roy, Roy!” (all of which sounded a lot better there at the Beer Hall while we were drinking and singing than it does now here where I put these lyrics to pen).

    Kielbeze, always a good time sort of guy, even got our musician to pull out his huge Swiss Ricola Horn. Hence we were all treated to a couple of bass toots from that thing in return for our giving the tooter money for tips. However, all fun must end.

    When game time approached, it was a lucky thing that Zach “Red Foster” Brown was there to ride herd on us. Otherwise, we would never have computed the proper amount of money that we needed to throw on the table to settle our bill. Trusting souls that we were, we basically kept throwing money down on the table until Red held up his hands and said: “Enough!” Then we then bade our dirndled serving frauleins a fond “Auf Wiedersehen” and staggered out into Old Third Street (or wherever the hell it was that we were). Only the tea-totallers among us – Koller and Lott — maintained their sobriety. The rest of us were feeling no pain.

    For his part, Lott had spent most of the two hours or so that we spent in the Old Beer Hall in the establishment’s rest room painting up his face. When finished, it was, indeed, a fearsome thing to behold.

    From the Beer Hall we then meandered our way through the Old Streets towards the arena, chanting “Pay-Pay-Pay Pacers” and slapping palms with the many friendly Milwaukeans we encountered along the way.

    Most of the locals we met either just grinned at us or responded with amiable calls of “Pacers Suck!”

    At this point in our narrative another small aside is appropriate. If any of you attempt to retrace the heroic path we blazed, and seek to visit the Bradley Center yourselves, be forewarned. Bring a strong flashlight and an ample stock of batteries. It’s darker than ****** in there.

    When we groped our way into the Center, someone immediately thrust a box into my hands containing a goofy looking bobble-head designed in the likeness of Milwaukee’s former Hall of Famer and demigod, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Somehow or other Koller got his mitts on two or three of these suckers. When I asked him his intentions, he muttered something about knowing where he could unload them in the near future for $35 apiece. On hearing that, I grasped my own Jabbar a tad more firmly.

    We then advanced, Argonauts together, into the darkish, cavernous interior of the Bradley Center. Fortified with beer, none of us trembled. “Bring it on!” I thought. Whatever awaited – Götterdammerung, the taunts of hostile Milwaukeans, or an encounter with their antlered mascot, “Bango the Deer” – all of us felt ready.

    The entryway to the Bradley Center had a carpet (I think it was black. Damned near everything in the Bradley Center is black) and stepping on it gave us momentary pause. Being used to bright and cheery Conseco, entering Bradley was quite a contrast. The entryway looked a lot more like an antiquated Holiday Inn lobby than a basketball arena. It was Day-V, I think it was who mused: “Where are the bellhops, the sign-in Desk, and the directions to the businessmen’s sauna?”

    As we penetrated even further into the Bradley Center’s murkiness, our eyes were drawn to a smidgeon of dim light thrown outwards from some of the Center’s kiosks. Straining our eyes, numbers with arrows indicating directions to seating gradually came into focus. We eyeballed our tickets, looked again into the ebony murk, and realized that our seats were not together. Rather, we were an expedition divided, with our seating located in various and sundry sections of the arena. On closer examination we learned that some of us were seated in various parts of an area called “205.” The rest of us were placed on the opposite side of the Center in a region known as “216.”

    Owing to the fact that the expedition to Wisconsin was on such short notice, the 205 and 216 tix Rob Laycock had scrounged up for us were about the best he could do. It meant, however, that we were being scattered and divided. We decided to see if there was some way we could manage to sit together – the numbers on our tickets notwithstanding.

    We opted first to peruse the assigned seating in 216. The plan was to reconnoiter, and then take stock. Maybe a friendly usher could be persuaded to let us all sit somewhere together in the arena if we promised to be well-behaved. We learned quickly, however, that friendly ushers in the Bradley Center are about as rare and hard to find as a rose growing in a Wisconsin February.

    When we got to 216 and stuck our noses in its entryway the National Anthem was being played. As we stood to attention, I for one, felt reassured hearing the notes of the Star Spangled Banner. I guess I didn’t know what to expect. Milwaukee’s a pretty German town. If I had heard “Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles” being played, it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit.

    After the Anthem, we all squeezed into some empty seats in 216. Locals gawked, not really knowing what to make of us. Mothers hugged their infants closer to their bosoms. Fathers and sons, initially stunned by our invasion, began to taunt and jeer. We loved it. I began to understand the rush that Big Jon must feel as a professional wrestling villain. There’s definitely something oddly pleasurable and stimulating about being despised by everyone around you.

    Pacero and Greenway, of course, were both in their typical Area 55 finery. We all had Hibbert shirts and Pacers gear on. The locals were suitably impressed. Seeing the enemy like that up close can be a little staggering for anyone on first view. It was then, while the locals gaped and clucked at us, that we encountered the first of our troubles with the Bradley Center’s elite corps of ushers.

    Given the fact that there were no locals sitting within the rows of seating in 216 that we occupied, and with the game about to get underway, we figured no one would mind our bunching up together in unticketed seating. If a ticketed seat owner actually showed up, obviously we’d have given them their seat and moved elsewhere. We figured that this arrangement would be okay with the BC ushers. We figured wrong.

    Almost immediately after all of us sat down in 216, two uniformed ushers came up to us. One of them, a guy with a goatee, pointed at Greenway, Chants, and Pacero and started yelling to a compatriot that they weren’t sitting in properly ticketed seats. The compatriot, a similarly uniformed black guy, then told us that the three so indicated would have to move. He kept repeating that we would all have to sit in the seats that were tied to our tickets. It was a mantra we’d come to hear a lot more as the night wore on.

    After trying to look dumb (which wasn’t hard for any of us) and pretending that there must have been some kind of seating mistake, the three offenders eventually got up to go. Kielbeze and I (who weren’t dressed as gaudily as Pacero and Greenway) didn’t have the right tickets for our 216 seating either, but, for some reason, the ushers didn’t seem to have any problems with our staying there. We were grinning a bit at that much of a coup when, suddenly, Chris Denari came bouncing up to us out of the Bradley Center’s shadows.

    Denari started merrily shaking our hands and holding out the camera on his cell phone towards us so as to take our photos.

    We obligingly crowded together for pictures and chanted a few loud “Hib Hib Hooroys!” for Denari’s viewing pleasure. Denari seemed genuinely pleased to see us. (It occurs to me now that he was probably happy just to see anything given the all-pervasive blackness that is the Bradley Center).

    After Denari’s welcome, some of the locals sitting in adjoining seats must have figured that we were celebrities or that something special was going on. I say this because two or three of them started jumping out of their seats, ambling over to us, pulling out their cell phones, and asking us to repeat our cheering so that they capture digitalized versions of our act too. Pacero and Greenway were the principal attractions for the locals, but they seemed to regard all of us as a sort of a welcome novelty put there for their general amusement. “Poor fools,” I thought. “We are Pacers fans, and we have come to bury you!”

    Anyway, we chanted, huddled together, and mugged for the locals until they seemed to have had enough of us. Then, as the photo-loving locals abated, our usher – the same black guy that had told Goff, Greenway, and Pacero that they would have to move – actually pulled out his own cell phone and began asking us to huddle together for a personal photo too. Thinking that maybe he had warmed up to us and our natural Indiana charm, we compliantly posed, let loose with a few more partisan Pacer chants, and let Mr. Usher snap photo after photo of us.

    When Mr. Usher finally finished capturing us all in pixels and bytes, he then put his cell phone back into his pocket and, as if nothing previously had happened, again started demanding that those of us not holding the proper tickets for 216 get our butts out.

    By this time, our former protector, Denari, had left and Mr. Usher, all smiles when Denari had been around, was now becoming nastier and nastier with us, continuing to insist that those of us that didn’t have 216 tickets leave.

    El Pacero cogently pointed out to Mr. Usher the incongruity between the friendliness he had shown us just minutes before when Denari was talking to us and his present hostility. But incongruity didn’t bother Mr. Usher at all.

    I tried talking to him too, pointing out that when Squad 6 had visited Conseco, they had been treated kindly. Indeed, in their visit to Indiana, Squad 6 had been allotted a bloc of over 40+ tickets – with all Squad 6 members being permitted to sit together. I told Mr. Usher that we were only asking to be shown similar courtesy. Unfortunately I didn’t get anywhere with him either. Reciprocity wasn’t in Mr. Usher’s playbook.

    Accordingly, rather than provoke any further trouble, those of us without 216 tickets decided to hike over to the other side of the arena and move into our correct seats somewhere in 205.

    Chants, Greenway, and I traveled together to 205. Unfortunately this safari was only the start of a number of nomadic sequences that lasted for most of the first and second quarters of the game.

    After roving (or rather groping – the Bradley Center is as dark as a witch’s heart) our way through the Bradley Center and ultimately getting to its other side –where 205 was located, the three of us then took our assigned seating under the watchful eye of a new unsmiling BC usher.

    After staking out our territory, we politely told the locals sitting in the seats adjoining ours that it was an old Area 55 custom to stand up and cheer throughout the game and that we did not wish to disturb them any more than necessary. We therefore told those immediately behind us that, if they wished, we would happily switch our seats in front of them so that their view of the game would not be inordinately disturbed by our standing. A guy and his date, whose view we would otherwise have blocked, amiably took us up on this offer and we exchanged our seats with theirs.

    Some of the locals ensconced in seating proximate to ours seemed to be generally amused by our chanting. Others, however, didn’t seem to like it at all. One guy across an aisle from me seemed to be an avid collector of filthy hand gestures. I say this because he seemed eager to show me his entire repetoire. I have seen nothing similar other than perhaps once, when, on a visit to Rome, I chanced witnessing two Italian cab drivers gesticulating angrily after their hacks had collided with one another on a street near the Coliseum.

    After settling into our seats in 205 for around 5 minutes or so, who should appear but Bango the Deer, the Bucks’ pathetic excuse for a mascot!

    Yup, Bango seemed to be wandering aimlessly around in the section above ours. Goff, Greenway and I greeted him with a few “Smear the Deer” and “Roadkill” chants. Bango seemed surprised and a bit taken aback at our presence. Our chanting actually had even a few of the locals chuckling. After finally figuring out that we were hostiles, Bango then tried to slide down a railing to get a closer look at us. I respectfully cautioned Bango to be careful about sliding down railed banisters, reminding him of his unfortunate All Star Game accident where he had clumsily managed to fall through a basketball rim, strain his groin muscles and tear an ACL in his knee in the process. Bango seemed irritated by my well-intentioned reminder. He stared at me (the deer-in-the headlights metaphor comes to mind) while I was talking to him as if trying to figure out what he could do to me in revenge. Goff and I “ROADKILLED” him some more and then he left.

    Around this time, Kielbeze ambled over to our seats and instructed us to come with him. We figured he had finally found us some collective seating and we gladly left 205 after first taking leave of all the wonderful Milwaukee friends we had made there.

    Out in the dark passageway leading from 205 to the circulation area of the arena, Kielbeze was standing, chatting with a guy in Bucks gear that told us he was a Squad 6 member. When we asked them, he and his similarly-attired girl friend also claimed to be buddies of Chuckles Love, our Bucks Pacers Digest acquaintance. a man whom we had come to know after Squad 6’s visit to Conseco. When we explained to the Squad 6 guy that we had been unable to find a way to sit together, the guy apologized for the lack of hospitality and told us to come with him, promising that he would use his pull as a Squad 6 member to find us some otherwise vacant seating in the Squad 6 Area. We thanked him for his courtesy and obligingly followed him over to Squad 6’s area. Most of us clung to one another’s sleeves as we followed. By using this buddy system, none of us got lost in the Bradley Center blackness. Navigating in the Bradley Center is a lot like being in a darkened movie theater without those little lights they have on the aisle seats.

    Anyway, on arrival in Squad 6, our pathfinder promptly stuck us in seats located in various parts of the Squad 6 Area. We weren’t together, as he had promised. Nevertheless, we made the best of things and tried to get situated. It was right at this point, thinking that sitting in Squad 6 wasn’t much better than sitting in 216 or 205, that I realized I had left my valuable Kareem Abdul Jabbar bobble-head under my last seat back in 205.

    “Damn!” I thought. “I could have had Koller sell the sucker and split the take, thus netting me a cool $17.” Unfortunately, this realization was only the first of several misfortunes that befell us in the Squad 6 seating area.

    On parking in the empty seating indicated by our benefactor, Greenway, Chants, and I by then were basically so tired from walking around the arena that we decided to hold off on our chanting for a spell and just try to watch the game. By this time, it was late in the first quarter and the score was still pretty close.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t even have time to do a “Let’s Go Pacers” before another uniformed BC usher was up on us demanding to know if we had proper tickets. Taking him for a stupid lackey, I got all lawyerly with him (being a lawyer, it was easy). I told Mr. Lackey that we had been escorted to our seating with the blessing, and at the invitation, of Squad 6. I said it firmly. I could tell he was a moron because he then seemed to repeat what I said a couple of times. “They told you it was OK?” “Yes sir, they did. It’s perfectly OK for us to sit here.” “You’re sure it’s OK? ”Yes sir, it’s absolutely OK.” Chastened, he left us, muttering only “OK, I guess it’ll be all right then.” I again smiled firmly and courteously and our friend retreated off into more of the Bradley blackness. He eventually totally disappeared into the noir. All seemed well.

    But no.

    Approximately three minutes after my chat with Lackey #1, a new uniformed Bradley Center lackey, Lackey #2 — a tall gangly sort reminiscent of an elongated Barney Fife, only with a more officious manner – came up to us, demanding to see our tickets.

    I tried the same, “Squad 6 said it was OK” argument on Lackey #2, but this time it was to no avail. So, one by one, like a herd of exiled cattle, the 13 of us were ousted from the proximity of Squad 6 and again ordered to return to our properly ticketed seating. A few if the Squad 6ers hooted at us, but we left chanting our stuff.

    Squad 6, by the way, for all the people in it, wasn’t very impressive. True, they were all attired in red and white shirts and looked nice visually. But they sure weren’t very loud. I think the way their team was playing may have deflated them. Most of the members seemed to be just sitting around watching the Bucks fail. It reminded me a little of our Lakers home game back in the now happily remote, O’Brien era at Conseco. We were later told that some of the older Squad 6ers had actually resigned, owing to “political” conflicts with some of Squad 6′s newer members. Whatever the case, their product now did not look all that good.

    After our banishment from Squad 6, one of us got the bright idea of giving up our expensive lower-level seating and trying our luck in the cheaper upper reaches of the Center. This upper area, known as “400”, is a strange locale, and accessible only to mountain goats with infra-red vision. There were lots of vacant seats up there in NoseBleedLand and moving there en masse seemed a realistic possibility. We elected to go for it. Sure we’d be far away from things. But what the hell, at least we’d be together.

    Propelled by the thought that we gypsies might now actually find a home in 400 (where the only occupants seemed to be similarly ostracized ne’er-do-wells) we started our upward climb of bank after bank of ill-lit stairs. As I climbed I speculated on what sort of beings I would find seated up there. I figured that they were all probably felons, occupying the dark upper reaches of the BC as a well-deserved punishment for some kind of heinous and unnamed crime. No one, I thought, not even the uniformed BC usher/lackeys, would care if we parked our rumps in 400, where our only company would be llamas, mountain goats, and failed Alpinists. Section 400 was clearly not designed for pleasant basketball viewing. It was more like a Dostoevskian penal colony, a kind of sporting purgatory. Surely the BC coats would allow us to sit up there!
    But again, I was wrong.

    After groping our way through even more squid-ink blackness and two or three more flights of unlit stairs, we eventually emerged at a dimly lit entryway manned by another Bradley Center ushering goon. This one too told us that we couldn’t sit, even in 400, if we weren’t ticketed to be there.

    Resignedly, we again retraced our steps, heading back from whence we came …stumbling and trudging, morosely, down, down, and down again, until once more we found ourselves in the lower reaches of the BC.

    Here I noticed that there was perhaps more oxygen to breathe, but only a tad bit more light.

    To me, it was beginning to seem so weird and Fellini-esque — the goofy ushers, the coal black passageways, the strange Bucks fans with their assorted “you sucks” and “kiss my asses.” My BC experience was like being a character in Sartre’s play, “No Exit” — where the characters wander about forever, chatting aimlessly about nothing, and essentially, doing, seeing, and accomplishing nothing. It was a basketball version of Waiting for Godot.

    By the time we got back down to the Level 200 (home of good old Sections 205 and 216), the game’s second quarter was well underway. The three of us – Greenway, Goff, and myself, elected to give up on sitting together with the other 10 of our number. Yes, the Bradley Center had defeated us. Its evil ushers had won. Resigned to our fates, we slogged back to our real seats in 205.

    When I reverted to my former seat in 205, I groped around under it, trying to find my lost Jabbar bobble-head. Of course, by now it was gone.


    It was an interesting period piece, that lost bobble-head. As depicted, Jabbar had sideburns that our old coach, Jim O’Brien, would certainly have envied. I felt keen pangs of loss.

    After taking my seat in 205, again friendless and now bobble-headless, I took the opportunity to wave a cheery hello to my old friend, the guy I had met there before with the repertoire of filthy Italian hand-gestures. In response, he stood up and amiably grasped his groin. It must have had some sort of local meaning, but I didn’t bother to ask for an explanation. Instead, I simply parked my rump again in my assigned seating, determined to at last savor more of that wholesome, family-oriented, NBA basketball experience that NBA Commish David Stern touts so frequently.

    But suddenly my viewing bliss was interrupted by a new appearance from Bango the Deer!

    In this second chance encounter, Goff, Greenway, and I pointed out to Bango that our home mascot, Boomer the Pacer Panther, for all his miscues, had never managed to fall downwards through a basketball rim and injure his groin. Bango ignored this observation and started spraying us with a can of “silly string” – a weapon that spewed gooey strands of some kind of silly-putty like stuff all over us. Bango’s antics greatly amused the benighted Teutons surrounding us. Cheap thrills for the masses, I suppose.

    I have to admit that Bango got Goff, Greenway and me pretty good with his gooey strands. However his general aim was surprisingly bad and he managed to gunk up not only us, but also the hair and sweater of a foxy-looking blond that was sitting immediately in front of us.

    Finally, his can empty, Bango left, probably to visit a salt lick or something. When he was gone, Goff and I spent the next 5 minutes or so removing the gooey strands from our clothing. I politely pointed out to the blond (who really was pretty hot) where the remnants were that were still stuck in her hair. She was not amused at the damage done to her coiffure. Then, it was half-time.

    By pre-arrangement, Goff, Greenway and I then started trudging back to the other side of the arena to rendezvous with the guys that were situated in 216. Once more we plunged into the dank labyrinthine blackness of the passageways of the Bradley Center. As we trekked the outer hallways, from inside the arena’s floor we heard the sound of locals cheering, still celebrating the triumph of the Packers from Superbowl Sunday. There was so much Teutonic cheering and snorting to be heard that it caused me to wonder how Koller, a diehard Bears fan, must have been taking this. For my own part, I began developing an incipient dislike for Green Bay that had not been there before.

    Feeling once again like Ferdinand Magellan and his lonely crew, Chants, Greenway, and I began our circumnavigation of the Bradley Center from 205 to 216. This entailed yet another trek around to the other side of the arena. As we walked, Chants started doing what he does best – chanting. Plainly Goff had never read Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” As he chanted, I discovered more and more people, like my friend in 205, that were familiar with filthy Italian hand gestures.

    Chants and I were about half-way to 216 when we ran into a strange female usherette that stopped us and asked if we were satisfied with our seats now. I was about to unload on her but noticed that she was actually being serious. In talking further to her, we learned that the guys we were looking for in 216 had been routed by her to the Bradley Center’s Ticketing Czar. Apparently, after doing the proper obeisances and kissing the hem of his ermine robe, the Czar had allowed them, in an act of heartfelt generosity, to move to the 400 Upper Level. Yes, it seemed that we actually had been permitted to sit together after all and at long last – albeit with the bats, goats and Sherpas --in the lonely and isolated upper reaches of the Bradley Center.

    Getting to the 400 Level again meant another spate of blind groping and stair climbing. However, Goff, Greenway, and I did finally get to a portion of the upper deck where, to our surprise, we discovered that around 8 or 9 of our retinue had actually been seated. We joined the soiree.

    It was a strange, desolate area where we were finally perched. We were located immediately behind the Bucks’ 2nd Half basket. Still, if you strained your eyes, you could see the Pacer bench silhouetted in the faint overhead lights from the court. It was here – at long last together — that we definitively parked our fannies and watched the entire second half of the game.

    Our usherette in this area, for some reason, was actually friendly. Plainly she had not received the general Bradley message to treat us like dirt. In chatting with her, she told us that so few people normally sat in her section that she always felt glad when someone actually came up there to see her. She told us, “I like it. It makes the time go faster when I feel like I have something to do. Nobody ever comes up here. Sit wherever you want.”

    As mentioned, we pitched our tents and proceeded to finally watch the game. Squad 6 was in view, but really didn’t resonate. We couldn’t hear them at all.

    And in the 4th Quarter, when the Bucks went 6 minutes without scoring and the Pacers built their decisive14 point lead, Squad 6 was particularly quiescent. It was then that we really intensified our chanting. We must have resonated because people below started turning their heads to curse us.

    The locals in the BC, by this time, were so depressed with the course of the game that there was a lot of thankful silence in the arena. Hence we were probably more audible than would otherwise have been the case. To our surprise, as we looked down while doing our chanting, we could see that some of the Pacers down below were actually hearing us. It was an amazing thing. Brandon Rush and Paul George were nudging one another and pointing up at us. Then our hero, Roy, looked up at us and waved.

    It’s a strange thing to say, but Roy’s wave really made our whole ordeal worth it to us.

    With 3 minutes or so to go, the Milwaukeeites started giving up. They began filing out of the Bradley Center dejectedly, like stockbrokers who have just seen the DOW drop around 200 points.

    I started yelling: “Hey! Where are you going? Hey, there’s still time! Hey! Your team’s still in this! You’re only down 14! Don’t leave now!”

    Then it was over. We started plummeting downward, down again along more long twisting flights of dark stairs – I felt again like a coal miner coming up from the ground and heading for home at the end of a long day. I began to feel a strange sort of brotherhood with all those Chilean guys that had been trapped so long in their mine. The Bradley Center experience is a lot like that.

    As we were leaving our seats in 400, a small balding guy and his date (who looked a lot like him) told us:

    “Why don’t you guys grow up?”

    I was tempted to show him a few of the filthy Italian hand-gestures I had assimilated from my friend down in 205 but, remembering our representative capacity, I resisted the temptation. Instead, I simply said, “Hey, come visit us in Indy! We’re going to the Playoffs!”

    Our trip back to Indy was a long, generally uneventful 4 ½ hour drive. But it was fun. We were all half dead. But our boys had won. Area 55’s honor had been avenged from the Squad 6 visit. We had done about all 13 Pacers fans could do.

    On the way home, Roy tweeted us:

    “Big ups to Area55 members for coming to a road game. It’s messed up they moved y’all.”

    Go Pacers! Go Area 55!
    Joe Murphy (IndyHoya)
    Last edited by IndyHoya; 12-31-2012 at 12:27 PM.

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    Inspired by IndyHoya's description of his impromtu road trip, I would again like to appeal to both the Area 55 and G2 Zone leadership so that we may haul our collective superfan butts to an away game in even greater numbers! Greater participation, of course, requires planning well in advance, and would preferably involve a weekend or holiday game.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, there are a few road games that take place on weekends or holidays where the driving distance is manageable. The noon Memphis game on Jan. 21 (MLK day) and the 7 PM Detroit game on Saturday, Feb. 23 appear to be the best candidates (5 hour drives). However, our own Director of Security for the Pacers suggested that of the 2 games I proposed, the Detroit game is probably the one to go to, as we may actually be able to get good seats there.

    Let's start talking this up so that we can get a decent number of road-trippers!
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    Salutations, 55ers!

    This afternoon at 3:00 P.M. the Pacers will try to shrug off the stigma of their loss two days ago at Atlanta and go for a year-ending win against the interloping Memphis Grizzlies. In our last match up with our ursine foes, which came during the preseason, we edged the Grizz at home 83-80. It was a tight game, with Rudy Gay missing a 3 at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

    That game was a grind-it-out affair. And that’s not too surprising because, when you look at them, the Grizzlies are almost our statistical clones. They have a lot of size underneath in Marc Gasol and Zack Randolph, a lanky and smoothly high scoring forward in Rudy Gay, and two quality guards in Tony Allen and Mike Conley, Jr. Randolph and Conley have Indiana roots and, undoubtedly, will be trying to wow some of their ticket gifted homeboys that will be coming to BLF to see them play. Beating Memphis won’t be easy.

    For one thing, the Pacers are a little banged up. Lance Stephenson (left groin sprain and a possible concussion) and George Hill (right thigh contusion) will probably play but won’t be 100%. Roy Hibbert continues to labor with a right hand/wrist malady that makes shooting with it extremely difficult. Sam Young is recovering from the flu. Danny Granger is still out with his knee injury (although, happily, he is now reportedly taking jumpers in practice).

    At 19-8, the Grizzlies are currently 2nd in the Southwest. They play great D, leading the NBA in the fewest points allowed per game (90.1), just a tad in front of the Pacers (90.5). Like us, they also struggle to score at times, averaging 95.1 ppg to our 92.0. They steal it a lot, averaging over 9 per game. They like to bang too, averaging 43.7 points in the paint to our 39.0. They rebound it well too – 29.6 defensive boards per game to our 33.3. They come to Indy on the heels of an 81-77 home win against Denver. Worse, they’ve beaten us the last 5 times we’ve played them in the regular season.

    My prediction? The Grizzlies will fall.

    The Pacers had a tough loss in Atlanta. Their defense wasn’t up to its typical par and the Hawks burned us with good ball movement and with lights out shooting from mid-range, stinging us repeatedly with pick and rolls. The Pacers looked a little rusty. Maybe that Chicago postponement took some of our edge off. Hard to say.

    Anyway, the Star’s Pacers sports newsie, Mike Wells, responded to our Atlanta loss by dialing in some blather about the Pacers being a mediocre squad that can’t beat class competition. Wells also repeated one of his favorite memes when we lose – basically, that it’s all Roy’s Hibbert’s fault and that Roy doesn’t merit his big salary. Wells’ postgame article, however, omitted mention of some of the other things that went wrong for us against Atlanta- an inopportune technical foul from George Hill, a blown 3 on 1 fast break opportunity that ended with Tyler Hansbrough knocking Lance Stephenson flat and sending him to the locker room, and a coaching decision to bench Roy that allowed the Hawks’ speedy guard, Jeff Teague, to pump in 10 points, mostly in the form of layups, in the last 4 crucial minutes of the game and end any hope the Pacers had for a comeback. If Wells was really worth all that money the Star pays him, maybe he might have reported a little on that too.

    Road losses are admittedly tough. And Atlanta has always more or less had our number. But there is cause for hope. I think we’ll win against Memphis because the Pacers are usually better at home than on foreign shores. They also have a way of rising to the occasion after losses like the one in Atlanta. I kind of like our chances this New Year’s Eve, Wells’ negativity and all the contrary statistical imperatives notwithstanding.

    And as for you, Roy, watch some film, play your game, and stand tall against Gasol and Randolph. And feel appreciated. Conley’s a Teague copy and we saw last night what a rapid guard can do to us when you aren’t in there. And keep your head up. Those points will start coming for you.

    Get Well Jason Mills! I regret to report that Area 55 rookie mainstay, Jason Mills, was hospitalized after the Phoenix game – a victim of a hit-and-run SUV driver. Jason’s reportedly gonna be OK, but he’s pretty banged up.

    The story on this is here:

    Per his Area 55 cohort and friend, Jamie Freeman, Jason has a fractured hand, knee and skull, He’s in good spirits, though, considering. He tweeted this last night:

    “Roy came to see me at the hospital. Love that dude and all my friends. Thanks to everyone for the love.”

    This pics a little better:

    For the record, Jason’s at Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis. You can follow his feeble tweets under his Twitter handle “Gingerdomis”

    Get well quick, buddy! And all the best from Area 55!

    PTO I wanted to pass on the following invite to Area 55 and all the PTO regulars from our buddy Peck, at Pacers Digest:

    “There is the P.T.O. Pacers Tailgating Organization which I know has a good pre game showing. I would like to invite everyone to join us later in the night for the P.T.T.S. Pacers Trash Talking Society. We meet immediately after every game outside section one right near the green trash can (hence the name Trash Talking). We’ve been doing this for a few years and we have our regulars but I wanted to let everyone know that you are welcome to come join in or just stop by and say hi.

    AREA 55 Ticket Exchange Our deal with Roy, in him giving us tix, is to show up for games, stand while play is underway, be in Pacers gear, and chant ourselves hoarse. The aim is to gin up the noise level in BLF and create a hometown atmosphere that makes it really tough on our opponents to play here. That means that we, as recipients of Roy’s largesse, need to really try to make it to the games. Remember, our presence at games is important. We know the drill. When we don’t show up, newbies occupy our seats and the Area 55 noise level suffers.

    However, sometimes things happen and, for some reason or other, an Area 55 member can’t make it to a game. What do we do then? The answer is that you give your ticket to another 55er who will put it to use. This isn’t the optimal solution, but hopefully that receiving member will bring someone equally enthusiastic to replace you for the evening.

    Loyal Area 55er, Yaniv Shmukler (who knows all kinds of dirty words in Russian) recently suggested our opening up a Facebook page so that members looking to score an extra ticket for a family member or a friend can connect with another of our members who is unable to attend. The aim is to facilitate an orderly exchange.

    Understand, however, that this is NOT a place for buying and selling tix!

    Thus, if you, as an Area 55 member, can’t go to a particular game for some reason, the idea is to have you tell other Area 55ers that this is the case so that you can give (not sell) another member your ticket. The member wanting a ticket for a friend or relative can thus use yours. That receiving person should see to it that the person getting your ticket comes to the game, dressed in Pacers gear, prepared to stand up and chant and otherwise participate in everything we normally do. That person is subject to our rules and code of conduct, just like everyone else in 101. It’s on you to see that this happens.

    Accordingly, I have opened a primitive Facebook page titled “AREA 55 Ticket Exchange” where 55ers can post away concerning ticketing needs and availability. Don’t email me anymore asking if I know of any available tickets. Just go to the following Facebook page and make your needs and situations known there:

    But a word of warning! If I hear of anyone abusing this; learn that Area 55 tix are being bought or sold on the site; or find out that the tix are going to lamers that are just going to sit on their hands and not participate in our thing, the site comes down.

    This brings up another matter. We have lots of buy-ins in 101. Some of these people are great. They didn’t get selected by Roy, but they paid hard bucks because they still wanted to be a part of the zaniness of Area 55. But unfortunately a few of them are totally non-participatory -- sitting the entire game, doing no chanting, and generally taking the attitude that their ticket purchase allows them to behave just as they like and without regard to Area 55’s rules and purpose. All Area 55 members should try to get these reticent types, particularly those in the upper reaches of 101, involved in our noise. If they are sitting, tell them politely to stand up. If they are silent, urge them to chant. If necessary, nicely explain to them what we are all about. Remember 50% of 101 are buy-ins. If too many sit on their hands and keep mum, Area 55 looks awfully bad.

    The Annual Area 55 / G2 Zone Road Trek My good bud, former Area 55er and present G2 Zoner, Joey Dynlacht (well, he’s married to a G2 Zoner, at any rate) sent me this:

    “Joe, it might be prudent to start looking at dates if there is to be an Area55/G2 Zone road trip this season. I took the liberty of looking at the schedule. There are a few road games that take place on weekends or holidays where the driving distance is manageable. To me, the noon Memphis game on Jan. 21 (MLK day) and the 7 PM Detroit game on Saturday, Feb. 23 look like possibilities. I think we would be looking at 5 hour drives similar to the Bucks road trip last year. Of course, if Pacero reported being treated like a gentleman while at the last Chicago road game (or if he can give us the name of a good security team to accompany us), then I suppose the March 23 game in Chicago is also a possibility. For those of us with families and weird occupational schedules, the sooner we plan, the better!”

    Okay, I agree! Let’s plan! Memphis sounds more attractive to me than the Motor City. Chicago sounds interesting too. So let’s hear from you. Send me your druthers. If there’s no consensus, I will pick a destination by executive order. Then I’ll check with Rob Laycock and see if we can scare up a block of tickets.

    By the way, the annual road trip is always fun. I chronicled the epic journey we made to Milwaukee in Season I below. It’s kind of a long narrative, but hell, what else do you have to do?

    Fighting John LaFollette’s Take on the Cowboy Monkeys from Hell! "You got this one, LaFollette," President Joe said in reference to Friday's halftime show at Bankers Life. "I hear it's monkeys riding dogs."

    I went for it! In fact, I was entranced! How bizarre! How titillating! How humorous!. How imaginative!. Such an unthinkable and fascinating trio of words!

    Monkeys. Riding. Dogs.

    But in the end, how disappointing!

    What promised to be one of the more memorable and fascinating halftime shows of this long season proved to be nothing more than the very definition of an earth-shattering let down.

    When Tim Lepard, a 44-year-old ex-rodeo entertainer who goes by the nickname "Wild Thang," introduced his duo of canine-riding primates -- dubbed "The Ghost Riders" -- to a soundtrack featuring a fanfare of triumphant trumpets, no less, those of us who remained seated in the arena were initially wowed. There they were! Tiny capuchin monkeys wearing Pacers gear and sporting little bitty cowboy hats actually mounted on saddled border collies! We held our breath in keen anticipation, waiting for the tricks, the stunts and the big payoff that we all knew was sure to come.

    Instead, what we got was a long, overly drawn out, and thoroughly lame-o motivational speech from Lepard (which was largely inaudible, or rather, made indecipherable due in large part to his slow and irritatingly affected cowboy drawl). And when all was said and done, neither his dogs, nor their monkey jockeys, really did very much either. Basically, the monkeys just sat there on their saddles and aimlessly sported around on their collies for a while, mostly looking petrified, frozen and victimized. As a fellow primate, I felt for them.

    Then came what I guess was the grand finale -- one of Lepard’s canines lifted a furry leg and pissed on the Pacers’ half-court logo (Perhaps he was a Suns fan?). At any rate, by the time “The Ghost Riders” finally made their way to the exits (and the crack BLF maintenance team had finished mopping up their mid-court residue), many of us that had endured it all sat together, looking at one another in perplexed silence sharing a "WTF?" moment. Others (including myself) were more vocal, letting loose with the disapproving boos and hisses that the whole truly awful performance actually merited.

    Seriously? That was it? Was this entertainment? No flips? No skips? No Frisbee catching? Not even a "sit" or a "speak"? Mostly, it was a couple of scared monkeys atop some insipid dogs galloping around the arena with their cowboy/conman owner mumbling to us inaudibly, in a manner reminiscent of Boomhower from "King of the Hill”:

    "Dag gum man, I tell you what man, that there ol' halftime show man, it straight up sucked worse than Tony Romo man, I tell you what."

    The excruciating eight half time minutes of “The Ghost Riders” were so devoid of anything captivating, flashy, or even remotely interesting, that this confirmed non-smoker almost thought about picking up the cigarette habit, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to miss out on one of the most mind-bogglingly empty-headed half time events ever to grace Bankers Life Fieldhouse.


    A Very Good Read on Zach Randolph Marion’s own Zach Randolph is a controversial guy. Some love him; some hate him. But here is a very good article I found on what makes him tick. We forget sometimes that NBA ball players are human beings and not simply fodder for the all-knowing pundits gracing us with their learned opinions on ESPN Sports Center. Take a look! It's really a good read.

    Some General Stuff to Know About Memphis! This is important stuff that any real fan needs to know about Memphis:

    1. How Best to Get Out! Memphis is the home of the first Greyhound and Continental Trailways bus lines! So, if push comes to shove, you can always take a bus out of Memphis!

    2. Where to Grocery Shop! The Piggly Wiggly, the world's first self-service grocery store, opened in Memphis in 1916! Pork has been a Memphis staple ever since.

    3. Memphis - Bar-B-Q Capital of the World! Basketball is not king in Memphis. The favorite sport there is competitive barbecuing. And the culmination of competitive barbecuing takes place at the “Memphis in May” Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest held, logically enough, in May each year in Memphis. To get a real flavor for this event it is suggested you slug down a shot of Open Pit and then take a gander at the following video:

    Or, if you want to just get down to the eye-candy, here’s a peek at MIM’s “Miss Piggy Contest.”

    How Did the Grizzlies Get Their Name? The current Memphis Grizzlies had their origin in 1995 when the NBA expanded into Canada, where they were known as the “Vancouver Grizzlies”. In 2001 they abandoned Vancouver and moved to Memphis. In moving, they followed the standard NBA rule of thumb and kept their Grizzlies nickname, this despite the fact that grizzly bears have never been known to roam east of the Mississippi. FedEx, which is headquartered in Memphis, wanted them renamed the “Memphis Express.” The NBA nixed that idea, ruling that no NBA team could be named after a corporation. An additional tidbit! When the team first came to Vancouver, the owner wanted to call them the Vancouver Mounties. That nick was dropped when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police interposed strenuous objections. This is regrettable. I would have loved playing "the Memphis Mounties".

    Meet Grizz, the Grizz Girls, and, the Grizz Grannies!

    A. Here’s Memphis Mascot Grizz doing his now NBA banned “Dreaded Ring of Fire” thing! (Hot!)

    B. And here are the Grizz Girls! (Hotter!)

    C. And best of all, the Grizz Grannies! (Warning! Hottest of All!)

    Still want to do a road trip to Memphis? Hell! I forgot all about its real drawing card, Elvis! Maybe we could do a side trip to Graceland!

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 01-02-2013 at 11:16 AM.

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    Salutations, 55ers!

    OK, now it’s 2013! And surprise, surprise! Our Pacers ended 2012 on a high note, deftly dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies at home 88-83. That win put us back on top of the Central, and up one full game on Chicago and Milwaukee.

    All told, it was a nice team effort. Basically everyone picked up the slack for a missing George Hill (who had to sit out with a thigh contusion). It was a breakout game for D. J. Augustin, who got big minutes and responded. He popped in a season high 17 points in his fill-in role. Paul George too was stellar, holding Memphis’ leading scorer, Rudy Gay, to 3-17 shooting while pumping in 21 points and garnering 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. D-Train was tough when he had to be – as usual, and at crunch time. Roy played a pretty good game too – netting 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

    Tonight, we get another home view from 101 as the hapless Washington Wizards come to town.

    On paper, the 4-25 Wizards should be easy pickings. They have the worst record in the NBA and are coming to Indy on the heels of a loss last night at home to Dallas. They are 1-10 on the road.
    The Wizards are also riddled with injuries. Their best player, John Wall has been out all season with a bad knee. Last night, Trevor Booker (strained right knee), Trevor Ariza (strained left calf), A. J. Price (broken hand) and leading scorer, Jordan Crawford (sore left ankle) were all DNPs. Nene has returned to center, but he’s playing limited minute due to plantar fasciitis. The injuries led the Wizards to recall ex-Butler standout Shelvin Mack and Garrett Temple from the D-League to fill in. Mack isn’t 100% either, playing limited minutes due to a groin strain incurred recently in a game the Wizards lost to Chicago. True to form, they lost again at home last night to Dallas.

    Yup, on paper we should absolutely smear the Wizards. And that’s what worries me. Two of the Wizards’ wins this year came over the Heat and the Thunder. Also, they’re playing better with Nene back in the lineup. They’ve been in a lot of games but haven’t been able to finish well. We have to take a team as desperate as them seriously.

    Annual Road Trip OK, road warriors, what’s it going to be? Detroit on Saturday February 23rd at 7:00 P.M. looks like a target date for a road trip. A large block of tix for MLK Day in Memphis is not likely to be do-able. Therefore, let me know how many of you are interested in going to Detroit and whether you’re willing to buy your ticket. Rob Laycock tells me he’ll check on the potential availability of a block of them in Motown once I give him a heads up on our potential numbers and monetary wherewithal. Email me with your inclinations ASAP or talk to me about it at tonight’s game. We need to start getting things lined up right away.

    Hypnotic Half Time Act Leaves BLF Crowd in Stupor! Perhaps it was numbing carryover from the dog-riding monkeys. Or maybe folks at the Memphis game were drunk or just tired. Whatever the case, fans there were pretty much put to sleep by the half time stage mesmerism of Tom Silver, “The World’s Greatest Hypnotist!”

    Hypnotist Tom from Los Angeles (as he calls himself on his website), wearing a funny sort of sparkly hypno-tux (Possibly this was an homage to Liberace or maybe he was just going to a New Year’s Eve party afterwards. It could have been either or both), started the ball rolling early, trolling the crowd for “volunteers” that were “willing to be hypnotized”. Thus, he had a full 24 minutes to do his Svengali thing on the feeble-minded before his skills would be put to the acid test at half time. Eager to be mentally euthanized, lots of Hoosier hands amiably went up. Hypno Tom then chose around 25 people.

    Lots of Area 55ers’ hands shot up too. I know faithful 55er, Hobert Montgomery IV, (seen volunteering below) was particularly disappointed that he was not selected.

    But Tom knew better than to pick the likes of anyone from Area 55. He opted instead to get all his victims from the notoriously suggestible lower levels of BLF. This is when I began to smell a rat.

    See, it is a well-known fact that weaker minds abound in BLF’s more expensive lower seating. The ticketholders there are half-hypnotized already and mostly snore through their Pacers games. Thus, in selecting from their narcoleptic number, Hypno Tom cleverly gained a decisive hypno-advantage right from the get-go. Indeed, about the only thing known to roil the typical lower-level ticketholder is the prospect of a thrilling Fourth Quarter T-shirt Toss. Hell, everyone – including Hypno Tom -- knows that!

    Anyway, at half time, Tom reappeared, all spangly and energetic, with around seven or eight of his more docile and somnolent selectees. He quickly had them all sit down in chairs strategically placed at mid-court. We were never told what happened to the remainder of the 25 or so that Tom had picked earlier. Possibly they resisted his mesmeric wiles. Then again, they may now be playing cellos in the ISO or, even better, rapping out some backup for Jay-Z.

    Once he had his benumbed acolytes seated, Tom promptly ordered them to “Go to sleep!” And damned if that isn’t just exactly what they did! Heads were lolling and snores were heard even at club seating levels. I would have drifted off too, but the Newsletter’s normal reviewer, Fighting Jon LaFollette, wandered off somewhere with his pert red-headed squeeze and stuck me with doing this review. Hence, I had to keep my eyes open and my head clear and alert to monitor for any untoward shenanigans.

    Once he had the locals sleeping, Hypno Tom then started shoving them in their backs, possibly to wake them up, saying stuff like “Stand up! You’re a concert violinist!” And sure enough, the ones he shoved all stood up and started sawing away on imaginary fiddles like they were all Yitzak Perlman. It was kind of like a silent hoedown. Then Tom made them all sit down, and then get up again and play guitars! Then sit down and then get up and play pianos! It was like watching a silent, musical chairs version of “The Music Man” only with the sinister all-controlling Hypno Tom playing the role of a sort of evil, mind-controlling Professor Harold Hill.

    Tom stayed with a musical theme throughout his act. But abandoning instrumental musicianship, he next turned his subjects into performers, with the hypnotized then assuming, alternately, the roles of hip-hop artists, opera singers, and even hot-bodied erotic rock singers. Being Irish, I particularly liked his chosen finale -- when he turned everybody into obnoxious Riverdancing step dancers. True, none were as good as Michael Flatley, but the effort was certainly there.

    Whether the participants were or were not really “Hip-Mo-Tized” during the spectacle was a subject of great debate in Area 55 afterwards. I dunno. But I’m pretty sure that not all of them were. One of the “hypnotized” totally blew it – standing up from his chair to hip hop before Hypno Tom shoved him in the back and actually told him to do so .

    I once read somewhere that most stage hypnotists get the job done by using cooperative, compliant audience types that so want to be part of the act that they are willing act like, and sometimes even believe, that they are hypnotized. Once selected, they’ll do whatever the hypnotist wants simply because they don’t want to ruin a show that they’re an important part of. Another favorite stage hypno-control technique is for the hypnotist to give the subjects $10.00 apiece and urge them to go along with everything for venal monetary reasons. I think the latter was Hypno Tom’s method. It’s the surest way!

    Well, Hypno Tom from L.A.’s act was something different. It was a bit better than its predecessor -- the devil-dog hell-riding monkeys from the Phoenix game -- but not by much. The whole thing could have been a lot better. A little sex would have helped. For example, if Hypno Tom had grabbed some of the Pacemates, hypnotized them, and turned them into his eager love slaves I would have been more intrigued. I’m just throwing ideas out here, mind you. Tom’s act needed something - more pizzazz. A little prurient sex, and less imaginary music, certainly might have helped.

    By the way, if you weren’t selected by Tom and you still might want him to hyp-mo-tize you, you can call him at 1-805-384-1040 or visit him at his website at As Tom says: ***REASONABLE RATES ***


    Just How Bad Is Washington? Answer: Pretty Bad! If the Pacers weren’t playing them tonight, I’d probably be rooting for the Washington Wizards. Playing them on most nights is a bit like drowning a puppy. There isn’t much glory in beating them. At 4-25, the Wizards presently have the worst record in the NBA. Beating them calls to mind horrendous images: It’s like the bully kicking sand in the face of a weakling at the beach, and then walking off with his girl! It’s like the neighborhood ruffian stealing junior’s lunch money. It conjures up scenes of burly high school lettermen pouring water into the class nerd’s felt-tipped pens.

    How bad are the Wizards? Well, pretty bad. Awfully bad.

    Charles Barkley, with “Sweet Georgia Brown” whistling in the background on TNT, refers to them as the Harlem Globetrotters’ old foil – “The Washington Generals.”

    “You want to call them, Bullets, Wizards. I call ’em the Washington Generals,” Barkley said. “Hey, that’s my man Meadowlark Lemon out there!”

    On Craigslist, a Wizards season-ticket holder recently gave away his tickets for free.

    “I am selling my two Wizards tickets tonight at $20 each,” the ad read. “If the Wizards do not beat the Spurs, I will refund your money.”

    An ensuing subsequent 26-point shellacking by San Antonio wound up costing the guy $40. But, hey, at least he didn’t have to go watch them in person.

    Last year, just before the lock-out, a Washington Post poll found that less than half of D.C-area sports fans — only 44% — had a favorable view of the team. And just 29% of NBA fans in the region named the Wizards as their favorite team in the survey. A surprising 14%t of the region’s NBA fans listed the Lakers as their No. 1 team, while 9%t named the Celtics and 7% picked the Miami Heat. That was last year, when the Wizards were better. God knows what such a poll would reveal today.

    The downward spiral has affected the team. For former Pacer and present Wizard’s guard A. J. Price, all the losses have altered his TV viewing habits:

    “You can’t really watch TV,” Price said before the Wizards faced the Knicks at Madison Square Garden recently. “You can’t really watch ‘Sports Center’ or NBA TV, the stuff you normally watch, because you don’t want to see what they say about you. That’s been the hardest part.”

    What happened to the Wizards?

    For three straight years, they drafted high in the lottery, nabbing a trio of coveted young players: In 2010 they obtained a sure-fire star in John Wall, who’d dazzled college basketball in his one season at Kentucky as a freshman. Next, they picked a terrific athlete in Jan Vesley, a 6’11” center blessed with great energy and solid defensive presence. Finally, in Bradley Beal they acquired a scorer who made the game look easy.

    Of course, there was no guarantee that these lottery tickets would pay off. For the most part, they didn’t.

    Wall showed little progress in his second season, and then came the knee damage that has sidelined him for this season. It’s the kind of injury that might waylay forever a star whose forte is his athleticism. But what’s worse is that Wall’s running mates have turned into a bizarro version of their earlier lottery-pick promise.

    Jan Vesely (the Wizards’ #6 pick in 2011) is presently averaging 2.2 ppg. He’s also arguably the worst free-throw shooter in the league. At times “he’s just running around out there,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said of him earlier this year.

    Drafted for his scoring ability, Bradley Beal (the Wizards’ #3 pick this season) is shooting 36% from the field and 28% from three. Wittman recently benched him following a loss last week to the Cavaliers.

    Kevin Seraphin (the Wizards’ #17 pick in 2010), a pleasant surprise in the spring, has painfully regressed; his PER of 10.5 is well down from the 15.8 he posted last season.

    Chris Singleton (the Wizards’ #18 pick in 2011) now appears to have fallen out of the rotation.

    But the problems don’t end with the Wizards’ young players. The problem is the team’s lack of ability. The problem is their late-game execution. The problem is their injuries. The problem is that there are too many problems. Take your pick.

    It’s sad to pen yet another post about the Wizards’ ongoing struggles. But until the team figures out a way to demonstrate progress, their story will only be about their inability to win. Unfortunately it’s about all you can say about a team that’s lost 25 of its 29 games this year and is on the way to yet one more horrifying season.

    Fan ardor in Washington too has understandably dimmed. See below:

    Ah God, help the Wizards. But not tonight.

    Last edited by IndyHoya; 01-02-2013 at 10:15 AM.

  33. #71

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Thank goodness for IndyHoya's recent review. It allowed me to put the commercial breaks between episodes of SyFy' New Year's Twilight Zone Marathon to good use. Now...let me shed some light upon the mystery of "The Hypmotizer." I'll state for the record that I was one of those "weaker-minded lower seaters" for the Memphis game. When Hypno-Tom solicited volunteers, neither I nor my daughter's hand went up. Instead, I actively campaigned to have Hypno-Tom select the nice-looking lady sitting next to me. My gesturing worked, and she was selected. Much to my chagrin, however, she returned not 10 minutes later. When I asked what happened, she said that if she had agreed to participate in the show, then she would have had to miss the entire first half, which was something she and many other "selections" did not want to do. Thus, with many folks having returned to their seats, we suspected that the selection process was part of the illusion, so to speak! I mean, how many people, especially the guys, would forfeit half a game, especially at the prices that lower level seats are going for? My daughter and I decided that the group that actually allowed themselves to be hypnotized were either plants traveling with the Hypno-Tom act or local "talent" hired by Hypno-Tom (whom which would receive more than $10 for their performance). The latter seems more likely, as my daughter spotted one of the "hypnotees" leaving BLF after the game with her friend/boyfriend/husband. So, there ya go!

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  35. #72
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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    See! Shame your lady-friend didn't go forward with the hypno thing and expose Hypno Tom for the fake Rasputin that he really was!

  36. #73
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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Thank goodness for IndyHoya's recent review. It allowed me to put the commercial breaks between episodes of SyFy' New Year's Twilight Zone Marathon to good use. Now...let me shed some light upon the mystery of "The Hypmotizer." I'll state for the record that I was one of those "weaker-minded lower seaters" for the Memphis game. When Hypno-Tom solicited volunteers, neither I nor my daughter's hand went up. Instead, I actively campaigned to have Hypno-Tom select the nice-looking lady sitting next to me. My gesturing worked, and she was selected. Much to my chagrin, however, she returned not 10 minutes later. When I asked what happened, she said that if she had agreed to participate in the show, then she would have had to miss the entire first half, which was something she and many other "selections" did not want to do. Thus, with many folks having returned to their seats, we suspected that the selection process was part of the illusion, so to speak! I mean, how many people, especially the guys, would forfeit half a game, especially at the prices that lower level seats are going for? My daughter and I decided that the group that actually allowed themselves to be hypnotized were either plants traveling with the Hypno-Tom act or local "talent" hired by Hypno-Tom (whom which would receive more than $10 for their performance). The latter seems more likely, as my daughter spotted one of the "hypnotees" leaving BLF after the game with her friend/boyfriend/husband. So, there ya go!
    Didn't you notice two of the "contestants" wearing shirts from the Fan Jam? They probably gave those to them to wear to look like "real fans". However, their shirts were really big and baggy.

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    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by duke dynamite View Post
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    Didn't you notice two of the "contestants" wearing shirts from the Fan Jam? They probably gave those to them to wear to look like "real fans". However, their shirts were really big and baggy.
    Aha! More phoniness detected by Dukie's keen eyes! Hypno Tom could be the worst case of halftime fraud to hit BLF since Dan Menendez, The Piano Juggler, came to town! I'm writing an angry letter to Commissioner David Stern about this later today! I want an investigation!
    Last edited by IndyHoya; 01-02-2013 at 12:19 PM.

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  40. #75

    Default Re: The all new 2012/13 Area 55, G2 Zone & PTO thread....

    Good review on the first Milwaukee trip. I'm glad that last years trek up there went much more smoothly. It was probably the most memorable part of last season for me. This potential trip to Detroit, however, sounds like it could be even better with G2Zone also being involved.

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