These are the types of games that if you weren’t there you can’t understand. I don’t say that as a snob or trying to make light of those of you that couldn’t get to the fieldhouse because of jobs, live elsewhere or any other legit reason. But there was electricity in the air from the moment I walked through the entrance till the time I left out the tunnel.
It’s almost impossible to put into words how into it this crowd was. Between Reggie being in the house & it being the Knicks the place was ready to erupt all night long.
Can we all put a wooden stake in the heart of the idea that the people of central Indiana won’t support the Pacers? I don’t know where we stand for the season but I’m telling you give the fans good teams to watch with marquee matchups and we can pack the fieldhouse like any arena in the NBA.
This is like the 3rd or 4th great crowd in a row. Now I don’t know how many discount tickets are being given out so I guess I need to hold off on that part but overall I think it’s safe to say that the entire “we hate the Pacers” attitude that did legitimately exist for about 3 or 4 seasons is dead and gone.
There were some Knicks fans in attendance but you know what, for the most part, they never bother me. Unlike scumbag Bulls fans or the jock sniffing front runner fans (you know the ones that show up one week wearing LeBron then next game with Durrant and then Bryant, etc.) Knicks fans are usually both loyal to their club and generally understand the game.
I can respect Knicks fans; I have no use for front runner fans & pretty much despise Bulls fans.
But this isn’t about them this is about Pacer fans and our love for our hero’s of the arena.
This was a game that probably only Uncle Buck & I would like. This was an old school grind it out war in the paint where offense was hard to come by and the team that fought the hardest was going to win. And fight our Pacers did, they fought on the perimeter and they fought on the interior often times against much larger and certainly more experienced opponents.
To score on the Indiana Pacers you absolutely have to hit any mid range shot you get that is even close to open, if you don’t you then are going to be relegated to shooting three point shots or if you have a creative point guard who can score you might be able to get something going via dribble penetration but it won’t be easy.
Frank has that system so locked in place and the players know where to be on every single play that we give you about 2 open shots to work with and if you can’t hit them you better pray for long rebounds because our guys are going to get them if you don’t.
Yes they were missing Mello, so what. You play who you play and it’s not our fault that Anthony couldn’t not resist the urge to chase down Garnett after the game. That’s on him and frankly he hurt his team by not letting that go.
But do I think he would have made a difference? Sure he would, he is a monster of a scorer. Raymond Felton would have helped them as well and for that matter Iman Shumpart would probably be helpful as well. But then again so would a healthy Danny Granger helped us, a non-sick George Hill (*kudos to him for playing with Bronchitis) and a not back spasm Roy Hibbert.
Why did the Knicks lose? Yes Paul George, yes great defense. But they lost because our backups stepped up and filled their roles and theirs did not. Ian Mahinmi came in and pretty much decimated the Knicks in the 4th quarter and Jeff Pendegraph hit them like the German blitzkrieg over Poland. In other words they weren’t expecting it, weren’t ready for it and could do nothing to stop it.
Sure J.R. Smith had stats but frankly he probably shot them out of the game at the end as well. As soon as the refs. stopped falling for his running into our big men and flopping to the ground to draw a foul he was pretty much screwed and resorted to horrific jump shot after horrific jump shot.
Also while I’m here let me make this statement. Steve Novak needs to get down every day and thank God that the three point line exists because if it weren’t for that he would be doing what he is really qualified to do and that is clean truck stop toilets. Never have I seen 24 more useless min. played in a game.
Anyway I have this game taped so I will go watch it and listen to what they have to say about our team & I’m sure Paul George. I have a feeling that as a Pacers fan I will be thrilled but as one of the few remaining Danny Granger fans I will probably be sad.
Let’s just do grades again tonight.
Paul George: A+
God of the fieldhouse. Two way player the likes of which we haven’t seen, probably ever. I’m telling you once he starts getting fouls calls going his way he is going to be breathing some rare air company wise. I’m not going to go over board yet but to say that he won’t be in that top tier level of players would not be accurate. I love Danny Granger & I still absolutely believe they can work together but I’ll just go ahead and say that Paul & more importantly Frank should not change the focus of the offense when Danny comes back. Paul is legit. No his trade value will probably never be any higher not because he won’t improve but because right now I honestly think you could demand Dwight Howard for him. Maybe not straight up but I bet you could make a package deal and the Lakers wouldn’t even flinch. Here is the stunner, I would. In other words I don’t make that trade now. That is how good I think Paul can ultimately be.
David West: B
Old thick power forwards from N.Y. were giving him fits tonight. Couldn’t get to the spots on the floor he wanted and once again was struggling from the field. However tonight he stepped it up on the defensive end and was eating lots and lots of space on the floor & had a couple of blocks and at least 2 other deflections. We aren’t going to win a lot of games with him not hitting double figures but that just tells you how strong our team is. He’s generally our best scorer and we still won the game with him only getting 6.
Roy Hibbert: Incomplete
I’ll give Roy the benefit of the doubt like I did Hill the other night. Dude was legitimately in pain and we could see him trying to loosen up to get on the floor. Still having trouble scoring and his back limited his mobility tonight but if nothing else you have to give him full credit for going out of the game on one hell of a block. In fact that and the previous steal score from Paul George turned this game around and sealed the win for us.
Lance Stephenson: A-
People may not realize this but he was our second leading rebounder tonight (Paul being # 1) and several of his rebounds were not of the pick the ball up off the floor variety. He was in there battling with the trees and in one sequence ripped the ball out of Tyson Chandler’s hands. I really love the way that he plays within the confines of the game because that tells me how far he has progressed since he has come into the league. Sure there is still some Rucker Park in there but it only appears after he has done 2 or 3 great things during a game. Also was second on the club in assists (again Paul was # 1) and shot 50% from the field including a 3 pointer. That 2010 draft is really paying dividends to the Pacers franchise.
George Hill: Incomplete
Still sick. Get’s a very solid A for effort though as not everybody would try and play through that. He did a good job of controlling the ball and still defended at a high level but definitely you could tell his shooting and in particular his penetrating were off.
Ian Mahinmi: A+
Somebody kept tweeting me during the game about how good Kurt Thomas was looking & how good Camby was looking (the tweeters name is very similar to a South American country) but amazingly ceased tweeting me by the end of the game. Of course my damned phone didn’t work in the fieldhouse (poor reception) so I could never reply. So I will take this time to ask, hey how’d you like Mahinmi now? As I said before I don’t really like Green or Augustine but I’ve known since the pre-season that Ian was a great pick up for us and well frankly you have to say that he probably at the very least secured this win for us. His defense of the pick and roll tonight was actually better than Roy’s because of Roy’s back. But in general I think he does as well as Roy does on most nights in the P n R anyway.
Jeff Pendegraph: A+
Yes Jeff Pendegraph. I know I was as stunned when he came in as you were but he not only didn’t hurt the club he actually contributed to the success on the floor. Yes the grade is way too high for what he really did but remember I base my grades also on expectations and Jeff just came in and knocked it out of the park. He didn’t grab many boards but I’m telling you he jarred a lot of bodies.
Tyler Hansbrough: B-
Tyler set a screen on Steve Novak so hard that it knocked him from white to translucent. Of course this made me smile as I think Novak is the world’s biggest albino turd. Anyway take away another horrific shooting night, good God 1-8, and you will find that he spent his night as an agent of chaos causing the Knicks to scramble, dive and attempt to fight for everything when he was on the floor. He made Stoudemire look like he was 6’4” and 130 when they were both going after the ball in the second quarter, in fact I figure he would pull up lame and hobble off to the bench to avoid the embarrassment of being worked over by Tyler. Not great number from him but I’m telling you he certainly had an impact on the game.
Gerald Green: B-
My God this guy loves the three point line. Thankfully he did actually hit a very big three off of that Roy block but up until then he had missed them all. He is what he is and I’ve just had to come to grips with it. Some nights he’s going to look good other nights not so much. I think getting Danny back will help him some because he can then play with another shooter so he won’t be given the green light to chuck up shots all of the time. Oh well I’m making it sound like he sucked tonight and he didn’t. He helped out on the boards and while I don’t think he blocked a shot I am pretty sure he altered an attempt by Copeland.
D.J. Augustine: C
Didn’t help, didn’t hurt. In fact it was kind of like he wasn’t there. But he didn’t hurt so that is a big bonus.
Frank Vogel: A+
I normally don’t grade Frank but that defense was so tight that I have to give him some love here. The only thing I think he is going to need to think about is dressing McGuire over Plumlee. If Roy is having back spasms I think having Miles available is a good idea.
I once again can’t tell you how great the fieldhouse was tonight. I mean playoff feel and everything. It was great to see Reggie Miller in the house I just wish we could have done something to recognize him for his hall of fame induction. I know they showed the video and all and I also understand he was there as a professional commentator so it would not be appropriate. But maybe he can come home for a game where we can do this properly for him some day.
Also I will give Knicks fans one small credit. Yea I would probably be pissed off as well if I were them and Haywood Workman was assigned to work a game in which the giant intro screen shot clearly has video of him bowing to Reggie in his Pacers uniform vs. the Knicks. I think its great myself but I could see where that might upset them.
Ok now enough of this self control, from here below I will be speaking in Pirate hyperbole and I’m not ashamed to do it.
Dear NBA and NBA bandwagon fans.
Up yours. We be th' Pacers an' we care nay fer yer pathetic superstars who jump from one team t' another chasin' titles wi' the'r shipmates as tho they be chasin' lasses o' loose morals.
Our team be built, nay bought.
Nobody demanded t' come here t' Indiana but once they be here nobody wants t' leave. This be a family an' like any family we be havin' had our struggles, but our time be now. Nay longer will we allow ye t' push us around nay longer will ye come in an intimidate us wi' yer athletic firepower. We be havin' fire power o' our own an' more than enough athletes t' compensate.
We be havin' th' best young coach in th' entire world (that’s starboard I spake 't) an' we probably be havin' th' best overall staff o' coach’s in th' game.
We fear nobody.Ok enough Pirate talk.
People when you are rolling like this and another team was standing on the tracks there can only be Aerosmith to tell us about it.