We will have a solemn, dignified & measured response to the Indiana Pacers beating the reigning NBA champions Miami Heat. As we all know it was just one game and itís only January and we should never get to up after a win or to down after a loss.
Oh to hell with that.
Up yours front running jock sniffing Bryant/James/Garnett/flavor of the week jersey wearing band wagon fans. I hope the few of you that braved the elements here in our lovely state to come see your accumulated group of malcontents & whiners known as the Heat over paid for ever single seat you got.
Not that there were a lot of you in attendance mind you (or even reading this now for that matter) but please take this from the bottom of my heart and the spirit in which it is intended. **** off!!!!
Actually letís give it up to our fellow Hoosiers & nearby state Pacers fans. For the most part the Miami heat have very few fans that actually come to our games, oh sure there are the few that are there and we will see them again in a few weeks wearing their Durrant jerseyís & Bryant jerseys and well you get the point. But for the most part the fieldhouse is packed with people either coming on to cheer on the Pacers or I suspect a few of our neighbors from Ohio come to boo LeBron.
So unlike some other cityís, when they come to Indiana they do not have another home game. They definitely are the road team & there have been times in the past where I think it has bothered them. Not now but in the past, in fact I think they now like the role of villain in Indiana.
Enough about them, this space is dedicated to glorious Pacers victory and the telling of a tale of Gods of the Fieldhouse.
BTW, there will be little to no objectivity in tonightís review so just be forewarned.
All hail our newly extended coach Frank Vogel. I already spoke on his extension in his thread but itís worth saying again. I believe in Frank.
When team after team after team suffers through ďpoor shooting nightsĒ it stops being a lucky thing for us based on karma but starts to wonder into the wilderness of ďhey we might actually be a good defensive teamĒ. Iíll let NaptownSeth break down the specifics for you with the numbers but Iíll just add this laymenís viewpoint on it, we are actually pretty damned awesome as a defensive unit.
In fact unless a team really gets it going from the outside and takes us out of the defensive scheme we want to run we generally have our way on the defensive side of the floor. Players absolutely have to be given credit for that but Iím telling you when it comes to system wide defense, that is coaching and players buying into the defensive system. Kudos to the entire coaching staff for coming up with a scheme that makes the most of the players we have on our team.
The Heat are pathetic on the boards in general but Iím telling you that not only are we one of the best defensive teams weíve ever had I will go ahead and make this bold proclamation right now.
This is the best rebounding team that I can ever remember as a Pacers fan & Iíve been watching them for almost 40 years. Now we have had better rebounders on our team and weíve even had better rebounding tandems but as a group? Nope, not even close.
There is not one poor rebounder in our starting unit. In fact our point guard & wings are both above average rebounders and both of our starting big men get their fare share.
Iím not going over board here, at least trying not to, but when you are one of the best rebounding teams and one of the best defensive teams wellÖ. You are just one of the best teams and right now the Pacers are starting to edge their way back into the top of the league, not just the east. The early season slump now seems like a lifetime ago.
Letís do grades.
Paul George: A+
The bringer of rain, the slayer of the shadow deathÖOops sorry Iíve been watching Spartacus over the last week. Here is as simple as I can say it. He was the best player on the floor tonight. Now on some nights that isnít saying much but when you consider who we played, well that just tells you how far away we have come from that W.C. trip. The most impressive thing was that he played almost 40 min. without fouling. Again think about who we were playing and that tells you how impressive that was. Yes I know his trade value will never be higher. Letís talk about that for a min. though, in all honesty his trade value probably canít go up much higher than it is right now because unless the Heat are going to trade us LeBron or the Thunder are giving up Durrant I canít think of any trades out there that would benefit us in any way with parting with Paul. I just truly hope he doesnít play himself out of our ability to pay him or he has some burning desire to go back to SoCal.
David West: A-
Man he really is struggling with hitting running one handed shots lately. I think he missed 3 to close out the 4th. But that is truly nitpicking because once again just by being on the floor he benefitted our team. He is such an offensive force that teams simply can not leave him to double team the wings for any length of time because he will burn them. Tonight he also did work on the glass getting more boards than Haslem & Bosh combined. His defense was good because he actually did leave his guy to rotate & defend dribble penetration which did not burn him because Haslem was a big whopping 0-2 from the floor.
Roy Hibbert: C
Sorry Iím not fooled by his rebounding numbers tonight. 9 offensive rebounds are great but sadly Iím guessing 6 or 7 of those were of his own missed shots. There was one particular series of misses that was pretty egregious in nature where he missed 3 bunnies from right at the rim including having another one of his dunks blocked. Still is a very large part of our great team defense and even if a lot of those offensive rebounds were of his own poor shooting he still did mange to grab 5 defensive boards to help the cause. There will come a day though when he is going to get this going for more than a one or two game stint & we will only be better for it.
Lance Stephenson: A-
Probably would have gotten a solid A if it wasnít for his 0-4 shooting to close out the game allowing Miami to get a little more comfortable than what we would have liked. But other than that he played a very solid game including hitting 3-4 from beyond the arc. In fact isnít it kind of scary that by % he is our best overall three point threat? I thought early on he was going to be the benefactor of the typical ďyou have looked at Dwayne Wade therefore you have fouled himĒ treatment however by the second half the refs. werenít giving him the usual & customary fouls thus allowing Lance to stay in the game. That one three point shot he hit though was like 4-5í from behind the arc and then he gave us all the stare as he went to the bench as the Heat called time out. Anyway another great game by our young Lance who has firmly etched himself into a role on our club, weíll see what happens when Danny does return.
George Hill: Incomplete.
His play early on made me question whether or not a drug screen wasnít in order, but when he came to the bench in the 3rd quarter it was very evident that guy was sick. I mean you could tell by looking at him he didnít feel well. Then I found out he had the flu so with that in mind I am not going to judge him for how he played because he was sick. In fact Iíll give him an ďAtta boyĒ accolade for even trying to play.
D.J. Augustin: A
Ok I have a feeling that this is what Pritchard had in mind when they signed him. He was just flat out solid all night long in directing the offense, taking care of the ball & well get ready for this solid defense. He had a couple of really good games as a starter last week but Iím more impressed with this performance because this is why he was brought here, to get that second unit going. It would be great if we could get more of this and a lot less of what he have gotten up until now from him.
Ian Mahinmi: A
Very active when he was on the floor and what was great was that when Roy went to the bench our defense didnít really drop at all. While he didnít block any shots he was still very active in chasing Miami penetrators out of the lane. Also as a backup center he had as many rebounds as Miamiís starting center, thatís not a small thing btw.
Gerald Green: B+
It would be higher if he would just stop settling for so many three point shots. 1-5 from beyond the arc just doesnít work for me. However 2 blocks and 2 steals work just fine for me. That one block, you all know which one Iím talking about, I swear was at the top of the square on the back board. I just really wish he would learn to attack the basket more often or at least get some kind if mid range thing going. Also for every spectacular play he has he still pulls off one of the dumbest passes almost every game you will ever see. Came into the game tonight & immediately made a beautiful chest pass, right to LeBron James.
Tyler Hansbrough: C+
Never underestimate how valuable it is to come in and draw some fouls. Scored 5 of his 7 points from the free throw line. Didnít have the best of games but didnít do anything really wrong either, but again itís always good to draw fouls.
Orlando Johnson: C
Had a couple of nice passes and didnít do anything bad.
Seven straight home wins, eight wins in the last ten games, fourth now in the East with it now being a two team race between us & the Bulls for the central (which we all knew it would be).
Donít care if Iím cocky tonight, itís time to break it out for the first time this year. The Heat were on the tracks when the train kept coming.
Now letís punish the Knicks for all of their slights both real and imaginary from earlier this year.