I really, really, really wanted to win this game today.
As I entered Conseco Fieldhouse, I had a very strange feeling, maybe because it was 11:45 in the morning, maybe because it was Christmas, but more than anything it felt like a playoff game. The intensity, the anticipation, the overall feel was of a game #5 in the second round of the playoffs.
There were very few Pistons fans there which was a nice Christmas day gift, and thankfully I did not hear "Detroit Baskeballlll" once.
Not sure if ESPN or Channel 4 showed the pregame intros, but the roar for J.O was deafening, that was as loud of an introduction I have ever heard at Conseco. During the Pistons intro there were obviously boos, but I did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
As for the game itself, the Pistons played very well, and I felt it was the same type of game as the ECF a year ago. I said this 7 months ago and I'll say it again, the Pistons were able to get easier shots than the Pacers. Rip and Sheed got any shot they wanted and when they missed a shot they got the rebounds.
I really don't want to bring up who know who, but I have to. The point has been made that Artest is not that important when the Pacers play the Pistons. Afterall Prince is not a big scorer, and Ronnie had trouble scoring against Prince and the Wallaces. Balderdash, there were several times when Jeff and J.O were in there battling for rebounds, and the Pacers desparately needed Artest to help on the boards, he did get 10 rebs per game in the ECF don't forget. Fred Jones at small forward is not going to get it done.
I'll tell you right now a lineup of Tinsley, Reggie, Freddie, Jeff (or Cro) and J.O. is incapable of beating the Pistons in a 7 game series. Fred can't guard Rip. Rip goes into the midpost against Fred and can just shoot over the top of him. Pacers need Jax to guard Rip. But that also allows Price to become a factor offensively and when he scores well the Pistons are almost unbeatable.
Let me discuss the Foster v Croshere situation against the Pistons. Yes the Pacers need Cro in there on offense to spread the floor, I'll buy that, but at the other end, whoever Cro is guarding dominates the Pacers either by scoring at will or by getting easy offensive rebounds, even McDyess was cleaning up against Cro. Cro was getting manhandled in the paint. Pistons are simply a very tough matchup for the Pacers.
Keep in mind I have not seen the replays, but when Foster was fouled hard by Ben Wallace midway through the 4th quarter, I could not help but think back to 11/19. I thought that was a harder foul committed by Ben than Artest commited back on 11/19, granted it was not committed in the last minute of a game that had already been decided.
But what did Jeff do after he was fouled hard, did he look at Ben, no, did he go after Ben, No, did he try to take Ben's head off, No, Jeff simply got up said he was fine and shot his two free throws even though he was bleeding pretty good.
I have lost all respect for Ben Wallace after what he did 11/19, I hate him now, he is someone who I wish never played another NBA game again, and please take your punk *** brother with you.
Enough of that, I don't want to waste another second thinking about that piece of trash.
J.O was a little rusty in the first half, but he came on in the second, and it is so great to have a low post presents once again, most of all it was great to see him on the court after 5 long weeks.
Overall I felt I was watching an extension of the ECF from last season, all the same problems the Pacers had last season look to be the same this season.
I have more to say, but not right now