Why do I know the Pacers as a team are actually pretty good? Because we played like absolute crap for the most part, struggled against a very well coached team who knew that tonight’s loss would cost them the season series and lower bracketing in the playoffs and we still won.
I will concede they are missing a lot of key elements to their team but I will not give them the excuse of the back to back thing because, well our season has been one long back to back and in one case back to back to back thanks to them.
We had some players step up tonight and then we had a few players who just stepped back. But again this is credit to Pacers players, coaching and in this case management that is how our team is designed.
There is no one star player on our team, you can’t just focus on shutting down one player and allowing the other players to get theirs because in our system our power forward can score as well as and often times better than our small forward. Our Center can give you points when you aren’t getting anything from your point guard and so on and so forth.
Thus tonight’s problem for the Bulls. They were able to cause Lance & Paul difficulty’s and you could tell the defense was geared to limit the open attempts by either, but like almost any other time that happens West & Hill took over but the added bonus that is once again starting to get going was that Roy also added points in the paint and thus causing real problems for them.
Tonight’s thoughts are going to be short and in fact I’m going to go bullet point style.
• The bench was just flat out awful. Being outscored 31-8 is never good and thankfully we have off till Wed. so that we can rest up but this just can’t continue.
• What has happened to Ian Mahinmi? Over the past few games he has just been atrocious and even though he led the bench in scoring I just feel like there is now a massive drop off when he comes in for Roy, it wasn’t that way even just a month ago.
• I saw Danny bend over and rub his knee after he missed his third shot. I knew immediately by the look on his face he was in pain. When he went to the bench the dude looked nauseated. I’ve seen Danny enough to know when something is wrong and I’m telling you something was wrong and it wasn’t just typical soreness. I hope there is no damage but again his face both on the floor and on the bench did not say “typical soreness” to me.
• Twitter sucks in the fieldhouse. I know they have the new wireless up but I swear its worse since its been up. I end up having 20 drafts not sent that I eventually discard due to them being time and incident sensitive.
• D.J. Augustine is back to being the invisible man again. 2 free throws for almost 13 min of floor time ain’t going to cut it.
• I think it’s well past official time to just come out and say that the Gerald Green signing was a colossal failure. He was brought here to add offense to the club and on a night where our bench scores 8 points he can’t even get on the floor. Second round pick Orlando Johnson & league min. player Sam Young get floor time above him. Barbosa on whatever salary the Celtics signed him for would have been 10 times better than what Green has given us. I keep wondering if Green isn’t some form of payback to Falk (his agent) for something because I just can’t believe that we were bamboozled this badly.
• David West is the best power forward to ever play for the Pacers in the NBA. It will be hard to ever compare him to Big Mac because of era’s and league but I have to believe that really probably isn’t far behind him either.
• Paul George had a bad game. Odd to say that considering he was only 4 assists off of a triple double but I just think he was sloppy tonight. How he is only credited with 4 turn over though is beyond me, by my count he had 43. He played good defense on Belinelli for most of the night but Marco still got his points. But again I won’t argue with anyone who wants to tell me that if this is what is considered a bad game than he has to be a very good player.
• George Hill is the Man.
• George Hill is not the Man when we need to hit a clutch free throw. In fact let us all agree that George Hill needs to get the ball in the hands of about anyone else late in the game if we are down 2 and need free throws to tie.
• Roy Hibbert has now strung together a group of several games where he has played at a high level and contributed. As anyone who saw the Clippers game can tell you that Roy is to our defense as oxygen is to human’s ability to live. But now he is giving you some offense again and he is back to rebounding at a pretty high level.
• Tyler actually once again played decent defense when he was in. It’s funny because he now can’t score on most nights and his jump shot is just a distant memory but he actually plays solid perimeter defense. Who knew this would happen?
• Orlando struggled in his short time on the floor. Nothing but love though as he is a rookie and he is learning.
• Lance was taken out of the game by a couple of really cheap foul calls which is to bad because he looked like he was starting to warm up. He had a beautiful wrap around pass at the beginning of the game to West off of a fast break for a layup.
Okay let’s talk about the Bulls fans in attendance tonight and again, let’s try and deal with the attendance in general without the hyperbole and teeth gnashing that some of us do.
Simply stated the Bulls home games are always sold out, Bulls fans can not go to Bulls.com or the box office and buy tickets. Indiana is a 3 hour drive, depending on where in Chicago you are coming from and traffic and such. Bulls fans know the schedule like everyone else does at the beginning of the season and they purchase single tickets to this game as soon as they become available. There were not a long line of Bulls fans going out front to the ticket booth to buy tickets, they already had them. Also like it or not there are a lot of Bulls fans who live in central Illinois, Northern Indiana and yes even some from right here in Indianapolis
Many were calling it United Center South & I’m sorry but that is just hyperbole. I would say that it was probably 70-30 (Diamond Dave & I differ on this as I actually think it was closer to 80-20 but I’ll concede the point) Pacers fans. Yes there were pockets of them that made it look and seem larger than it was and yes Bulls fans are the absolute worst when it comes to being front running jock sniffing egotistical snot bags, among other things, so no they weren’t going to come here and sit quietly.
But I do not want this to turn into another let’s bash the local population party that some of us like to do. The fans are coming back and we have now had like 5 or 6 really good crowds in a row. We are currently 26th in attendance and we are only 75 people per game behind the Hawks for 25th. Should it be higher? Yes, but I’m saying it is getting higher each game.
Also for the record I am calling B.S. on the Hawks home attendance, the 76ers home attendance and worst of all the Raptors home attendance which is listed at 13th. If you watched Friday nights game you saw a lot of people disguised as empty seats. I even asked Wells about it to make sure I wasn’t just seeing something on TV but he confirmed that it was poorly attended. Toronto, on a Friday night, with a team at the time that was on a winning streak playing against a division rival who they had previously beaten and it was a poorly attended game. Toronto which boast a 2.6 million population could not sell out that game. So I think I’m tired of hearing about Indian’s fans not coming to games.
Either way, at the end of the year we will just look back on this game a s a win. It won’t matter how we won or deserved to win or anything else like that, it’s just a win. It is also an important win as this puts us in the catbird seat in the division (we control our own destiny now with that) and thus assuring us a top 4 seed in the playoffs. In other words home court advantage.
I almost forgot the entire reason I wanted to post something tonight anyway.
Huzzah to Frank Vogel for getting his 100th victory as Indiana's head coach. I've already sung the praises and everyone knows I am a Vogel fan boy but I can't let it pass without at least proclaiming his greatness again. Thank you Frank for making the entire time in Hell I spent having to watch Satan ruin a team seem almost worth it. Well honestly since the only way we got Frank was by suffering through that then, well yeah it was worth it. Hoop & I both talked prior to the Clippers game about how bad it was back then but we both agreed that we are being rewarded right now.
All Hail The Vogel!!!!