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The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
We look forward to another very successful run from all of the great Pacers fan groups. I know that area 55 has already had their tryouts with some new members being selected (even a few new/old members coming back). I don't know when the G2 zone will be having tryouts but I'm sure the Pacers will keep us posted.
As always this space is for you guys to chat back and forth and for Indyhoya to give us all the news we can take to the bank.
Looking forward to a great season from all the fan groups and the Pacers themselves.
Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!!!
Down goes New York! Down goes Boston! And tonight our 11-1 Pacers attempt to do the Rare Trifecta and eliminate, before our expectant eyes, the last remaining challenge from our nation’s Eastern seaboard – the Philadelphia 76ers.
Yes, all is truly well in Pacerland. Lance Stephenson is registering triple doubles; Roy leads the NBA in swats; and PG is regularly tallying 20+ games no matter who defenses him. George Hill and David West are as reliable as ever. Luis Scola is raining in soft jumpers; Chris Copeland is beginning to hit 3s, and C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan are running a producing bench. Our D is as reliable as it was last year. Life is indeed good.
But tonight, me buckos, let’s not take Philly all that lightly. Yeah, they’re supposed to be tanking and yeah, they’re young and “rebuilding” But they’re still capable of things. Among their wins is one over a group we’re gonna be seeing pretty soon – the Miami Heat.
Bill Manlove, as usual, provides us with the dope on Philadelphia:
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Philadelphia 76ers - After a very hot 3 - 0 start that included wins over Miami and Chicago, Philly enters the Temple of Doom with a still surprising 6 - 8 resumé after an overtime win last night against Milwaukee. Still, the Sixers aren’t something that should exactly set our teeth to chattering. They’ve been 3 - 7 in their last ten games. The media expects nothing this year from them and most gurus predict them as winding up the year with possibly the worst NBA W-L record of all time and almost a sure-thing for a Number 1 draft pick come the summer.
True, the Sixers have some young talent in Arnett Moultrie and lottery pick Nerlens Noel. However both have been injured. (In Noel's case, he’s likely unavailable for the entire season as he’s been recovering from ACL surgery). Thus, first time head coach and Gregg Popovich – protégé, Brett Brown, has turned the keys of his currently 7th ranked Eastern Conference team over to rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams. It’s been a good move. Carter-Williams is making an early case for Rookie of the Year props (16.6 PPG, 7.4 APG). Never heard of him? Well, he’s perhaps best known as being one of the Syracuse Orangemen primarily responsible for IU's early departure from the NCAA tournament last spring.
Williams has a VERY young core of players around him. The oldest players on the team are pubescents Evan Turner (21.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG) and G2Zone Favorite target, Spencer Hawes (16.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.2 APG), who clocks in at the ripe old age of 25. Actually, looking at the Sixers, makes me -- at 27 years of age – feel kind of long in the tooth. I feel like I should recommend them a good acne medication.
The Sixers’ starting 5 may or may not feature Thaddeus Young (14.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG) tonight. Young has missed the last two games to “personal reasons” (Nah, the Sixers won’t say what these are). Anyway, his recent absence has bought more minutes for James Anderson (10.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG), and sixth man Tony Wroten (13.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.2 APG) . If Young doesn't go tonight, look for bigs Lavoy Allen (5.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG) and Daniel Orton (2.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG) to emerge from the pines, youthful and starry-eyed, to take his place. The rest of the Sixers’ bench is filled out by Darius Morris (6.9 PPG, 2.6 APG); one of Roy Hibbert’s buddies - former Georgetown Hoya, Hollis Thompson (2.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG); and Brandon Davies (2.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG).
As a team, Philly plays a fast offense and likes to run, breathlessly setting the fastest offensive pace in the league. As a result, they average a 9th best 103.2 PPG per night. While they shoot a 12th best 49% from the field inside the arc, their 3P shooting isn't nearly as prolific. They’re only hitting it at an 8th best 34% from downtown (a stat which is mostly the product of Evan Turner’s abysmal 17% 3P shooting average).
The team also is near the top of the rebounding charts, ranking 8th in offensive boards, 2nd in defensive boards, and 3rd in overall rebounds. They share the ball very well -- ranking 5th in the league in assists. They also turn that same ball over on a regular basis (they’re 3rd from the bottom in the NBA in this department). They also struggle a tad from the charity line (shooting it at only 70%, a figured skewed by the cross-eyed efforts of Wroten (57%) and Allen (53%)).
Despite ranking 6th and 11th in blocks and steals, the Philly D is otherwise non-existent. They allow more points than anyone in the NBA on a nightly basis (109.8 PPG), something partially caused by their also allowing a league worst 40% from 3-point land.
On paper, the youth and defensive inability of this Philly squad should be its undoing tonight, but considering that the 76ers have already knocked off the Bulls and Heat, the draw of being the first team to beat Indiana at the Temple of Doom this season (as well as being the first to win against all off the top 3 squads in the conference) makes them dangerous and not a team to sleep on. Be on your best games tonight Area 55 and G2!
Ref Assignments: Tonight’s refs, you ask? Ed Malloy, Tony Brown, and Steve Anderson. Bring plenty of rotten fruit. And speaking of referees, watch Joey Crawford’s frustration at not being able to T-up an NBA mop boy:
Lin Dunn Is Coming! Well, maybe not tonight. But I had this bit of Twitter interaction yesterday with Fever Coach Lin Dunn:
Lin Dunn @coachlindunn - There are no secrets.... You don't have to think out of the box...there is no box!
It’s Bat Boy @EptesicusFuscus - Except for the "box and 1
Lin Dunn @coachlindunn – That’s a great out of the box comment!
It’s Bat Boy! @Eptesicus Fuscus - *grin* You gotta sit with us someday in Area 55. Coach!
Lin Dunn @coachlindunn - Will do! Would be fun!
It’s Bat Boy @EptesicusFuscus - Hooray! Just let me know and we'll clear a spot for ya!
Halftime Magic Act Wows Crowd! Okay, when I first learned that there was going to be a magic act at the halftime of the Milwaukee game I was doubly intrigued. I say this because I am a BIG fan of legerdemain and when I thought I heard Michael Grady introduce the magician as “J. Frank Wilson” my interest was REALLY piqued. J. Frank Wilson, you see, is the man who gave the world the unforgettable song: “Last Kiss” (a truly poignant early 60s tear-jerker that you can listen to here while reading the rest of this review):
But no, Grady, as usual, garbled the intro and I learned to my chagrin that the Maestro was really (to my manifest disappointment) a guy named “J. P. Wilson.” I guess inwardly I harbored hopes that J. Frank Wilson was going be there, back from the days of my youth, back from that fateful night in his daddy’s car, to make his long-dead girlfriend at last come back to life.
Alas, it was not to be.
Still, J. Frank’s substitute, J. P., was pretty good. His 10-minute quickie act consisted mainly in making thing’s – chiefly his leggy blonde assistant – disappear and reappear. For you beer-mongers that missed it, a lot of what J.P. did is captured here:
Being a big fan of “Kill Bill,” I was especially thrilled when J.P. did his stunning climax, which consisted mainly of stuffing his comely assistant into a box and then repeatedly puncturing the thing with a bunch of Samurai swords. Despite all the flashing swordplay, the blonde somehow eventually emerged from the box, all radiant and aglow. The crowd, of course, was pleased that there was no carnage and gave J.P. a big hand. However, I think Quentin Tarentino, had he been watching, would have been disappointed.
Anyway, the festivities ended on a happy note when the Blonde justly turned the tables on J. P. and finally crammed him into the same punctured box that he’d been sticking her in for most of the act. Then, after a quick whisk of a piece of cloth. J.P. emerged, grinning and happy, wearing Boomer’s jersey. Quick Change could not have done much better.
I for one love this sort of thing. Making things magically go away and then reappear has always provoked my awe and amazement. The Suits at PS&E should consider bringing J.P. back for an encore, where, I hope, he will add a new wrinkle to his act and make the PS&E on-court loudness promoter, Ace McKay (together with his sideburns, pimp hat, and shades), permanently vanish.
Knowing Rob Laycock and his fellow PS&E running dogs so well, I seriously doubt that this will happen. Like so many of my other halftime entertainment suggestions (competitive cow-milking, bear-baiting, gladiatorial combat), the above too will likely be consigned to the dustbin.
Well, that’s it, Fun-seekers! Time to go to press!
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!!!
Greetings, fellow 55ers!
Our Pacers stand tall at 12-1 tied for the best record in the NBA. Only the jangling Spurs of San Antonio match our won-loss record. That places us 5 ½ games up on Chicago, our closest foe in the Central.
Tonight we face Western Conference opposition. Kevin Love (a man I do not “heart” at all), Ricky Rubio, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves arrive hell-bent on taking us down.
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota enters the Temple of Doom tonight with a 8-7 record following a loss Saturday to Houston. They come looking to build on last season's injury riddled 31 - 51 record. In many ways, they have improved vastly. For one thing, there are only 3 players on their injured list right now (Chase Budinger, Ronny Turiaf and rookie Shabazz Muhammad). For another, they currently rank 2nd in the league in FGs made and also in attempted 3 pointers. Surprisingly, they’re also 6th in made 3s (something which is especially impressive considering the Wolves were absolutely PUTRID behind the arc last season). Moreover, this is a team that LOVES to crash the boards, ranking first in offensive rebounds and 3rd in defensive rebounds.
They are led, as usual, by their star forward Kevin Love – a living testimonial to the fact that, on occasion, White Men Can Too Jump! This year Kevin has been assembling an MVP resume, registering 24.9 PPG, 3.9 ORPG, 13.6 RPG, and 4.5 APG nightly. He's also been no slouch behind the arc. (Remember, he was the 2011 - 2012 All-Star Game 3-pt. Shootout Champ). This year he’s been knocking down a highly-respectable 35% of his shots from behind the arc.
As you may remember, Mr. Love is no fan of the Pacers. His animosity harkens back to a very physical Pacers win that occurred in February 2012. On that occasion Kevin got banged around a lot by David West, Roy Hibbert, and Tyler Hansbrough. He also had his normally reliable shot swatted quite a bit in that encounter. This caused a normally placid Kevin Love to go sort of crazy! http://tinyurl.com/kuxb39b
Post-game, a bitter Kevin bizarrely maintained that unnamed members of the Pacers took “those toughness pills” http://tinyurl.com/7m9o9do Then, in a fashion reminiscent of Dr. Claw, the evil nemesis of Inspector Gadget, he went totally werewolf and “guaranteed” that, in his next encounter with us, he would match our physicality and most certainly take us down. http://tinyurl.com/q48pyxw
Unfortunately, due to injuries and the vagaries of schedules, Kevin hasn’t played against the Pacers since that fateful night in 2012 when he promised such retribution. Tonight will be Mr. Love’s first opportunity, since then, to make good on his promise.
So look for Kevin to be all mean and nasty tonight. Anticipate lots of howls from him and plenty of growly lupine tussles under the glass.
Let’s be sure to let Kevin know that Area 55 and the G2Zone remember his prophecy. Swallow one of your own “toughness pills,” 55ers! Let’s dog Kevin mercilessly all night!
But Kevin doesn’t come alone. He is joined on the front line by big fella and native Montenegrin (an NBA squad is never truly complete until it picks up a player from Lithuania or one of the former Yugoslave republics), Nikola Pekovic (14.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.3 ORPG), and small forward Corey Brewer (14.7 PPG on 55% shooting, 2.1 SPG).
The Wolves backcourt is headed up by the young magician -- point guard Ricard "Ricky" Rubio y Vives. Rubio is a huge factor in the T-Wolves’ game. It’s because of him that they top the NBA in both assists and steals. (Rubio himself ranks first in steals and second in assists). He posts a nightly 8.1 PPG, 3.0 SPG, and 8.7 APG average stat lines. His 3-PT shooting has improved greatly from last year. He’s bumped his 29.3% average of a year ago to 46%. He's good. He's gotta be checked.
Part of Little Ricky’s Minnesota hoops success might be attributed to the arrival of his new back court mate, Kevin Martin, who comes to the Wolves after a season in OKC. Martin is a tough defensive matchup for Indiana too. He enters tonight's game with a 22.8 PPG average on 42% shooting. He shoots 3s at a 46% clip and is almost automatic from the charity line with 92% accuracy.
The Wolves’ motley bench is led by notorious flopper and retaliator J.J. Berea. J.J.’s beached carp act can best be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/nzpte25 and his troublemaking here http://tinyurl.com/lulcuke He’s complimented by Dante Cunningham (5.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG) and one time 2nd overall NBA draft pick, Derrick Williams (4.9 PPG). Derrick’s a guy who looks an awful lot like former Purdue star Robbie Hummel (whom my sources report is putting his business degree to good use in Istanbul, don't fall for the resemblance folks!). The Wolves pine crew also features Russian transvestite http://tinyurl.com/owr6boo Alexey Shved (2.5 PPG), former Pacer A.J. Price, rookie Gorgui Dieng, and one time number one pick candidate, Shabazz Muhammad.
Shabazz is hurt and likely won’t play tonight. It is sad we won’t get to see him, for he is a font of human interest. Muhammad massively disappointed at UCLA after finally gaining eligibility there after a long NCAA investigation probing him went awry for internal reasons http://tinyurl.com/qdlu9xh He also turned out to be considerably older than originally claimed due largely to his doting father’s decision to lie to everyone about his age. http://tinyurl.com/plwbt2s Young Shabazz also hasn't quite gotten the “NBA good citizen” wakeup call yet either. He managed to get sent home from the NBA's mandatory rookie program after breaking its rules. He thus has all the makings for a sterling future in the D-League somewhere or perhaps in a European venue like Slovenia.
Tonight’s Crackerjack Refereeing Crew! Always reliable, tonight’s vesper conclave of warlocks will feature Scott Foster, Tre Maddox, and Eddie Rush. Scott Foster is a game-keep especially near and dear to Pacers’ fans’ hearts: http://tinyurl.com/mmbwvvv
The Russian Bar! The PS&E Suits graced our Philadelphia halftime show with the amazing spectacle of The Russian Bar! Sounds like a cozy hangout in Broad Ripple, doesn’t it? But no! It’s nor that kind of a bar. It's people! Acrobatic people!
Doubtless you first-timers, who probably have never seen their act, were suitably impressed by this springy trio. I was my first time too. Babes that can twist, gyrate, and contort in mid-air have always had a welcome home in the Kama Sutra-esque recesses of my jaded libido. However, I’ve seen this group at least 3 times before and I’m here to report they haven’t added anything new to their repertoire since Area 55 Year 1.
For those of you who missed it, The Russian Bar consists of this American girl (her name is “Cassie”) and two Russian guys (“Konstantin” and “Sergei”) with this flexible 4” bar. Cassie does all the work. The Russians just handle the bar.
On Friday, the babe warmed up the crowd first by doing a couple of handstands (nothing to make Boomer envious. They were pretty ordinary) and a lot of graceful bowing and posing. Then her burly former Soviet buddies picked up the bar (The Russian Bar!) and she started bouncing up and down on it. They ultimately got her up kind of high where rolls and flips became feasible.
Her bar biggie was a “double” flip. You knew it was coming because she held up two fingers in advance. She followed that with a couple of spinning half-turns. To her credit, she always managed to land, without incident, lightly on her feet right there on top of The Russian Bar!
The crowd was into it. Cassie even got some to clap a little – which is highly unusual. As we all know, it ordinarily takes a thrown T-shirt or two to enliven the usually staid BLF crowd.
All in all, The Russian Bar was pretty good. However (and as is true of most BLF halftime fare) I would have liked it better, if I’d had a couple of big shots of Absolut first.
Pics from the Meet & Greet! Joey Dylacht sent me some pics from the Meet & Greet / Organizational Meeting. Attached the suckers for your viewing pleasure. Do you see yourself? Ha! Looking aren’t you? Narcissists!
Check Out the “Miller Time Podcast”! I’ve been meaning to give Area 55 members Jon LaFollette and Dave Searle and their “Miller Time Podcast” blog a plug. It’s really a good pre-game read. These guys are Nuvo employees and have been tasked with sporting up that weekly rag. Their blog, however, is their own unaffiliated creation. It’s a good pre- and post-game read chock full of stuff nobody but them knows. Give it a look-see! It’s here:
Area 55er Dana Williams Wins Indy Star “Dress the Turkey” Contest! Huzzahs and kudos to long-time Area 55 member (and hot Warren Central Special Ed Teacher!), Dana Williams, who corralled the big prize in the adult entry category in the Indy Star “Dress the Turkey” Contest with this Pacers-themed gobbler: http://tinyurl.com/olpe78h
I’ve been told the Star sent some of its newsies out to Warren Central afterward and awarded Dana with a frozen bird for her artistic trouble. Way to go, Dana! Gobble gobble!
And on that holiday note, we adjourn!
Be nasty this eve, 55ers! Send the Wolves whimpering back to their dens up there in the arctic north!
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!!!
Rise and shine, 55ers!
Shake off that turkey-induced, tryptophan high! Gird your loins! Gargle your Lavoris! Tonight (at a rare 8:00 P.M. start-time) we greet the Wizards on Black Friday!
First, let us assess:
We are 14-1 with the best record in the NBA. We lead our closest rivals in the Central, our bovine buddies from Chicago, by 6 ½ games. We are the best defensive squad in the NBA. And Roy goes for his 28th straight game-with-a-block.
Ah, life is good. So much to be thankful for!
But harken! Kentuckian John Wall, Brazilian Nene (whose real name is Hilario), and Polished Pole, Marcin Gortat, and the rest of the Wizards have arrived. They come on the heels of a 3-game win streak. They mean us ill! Many see the Wiz in the Playoffs this year. So, be on your guards, 55ers! This one does not figure to be a ho-hum, easy win.
We need this one. It’s important that the Pacers leave town on a high note. Remember, they’re embarking on a 5-game western swing that features successive encounters with the L.A. Clippers, Portland, Utah, San Antonio, and OKC. On returning, they meet South Beach LeBron and his comical entourage of Flopping Carp.
The ever-reliable Bill Manlove took a break from his holiday turkey and trimmings to clue us in:
As the Romans would say, “Tolle et Lege!”
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Washington Wizards
The Wizards enter Blue and Gold Friday at the Temple of Doom 7- 8 on the year. Currently they’re on a roll, riding the crest of a 3-game winning streak and a Wednesday overtime win in Milwaukee. The Wiz accomplished the latter feat without the services of their young up-and-comer and leading scorer, Bradley Beal (20.6 PPG, 44% from 3 point land). Beal was out with a stress injury to his right leg. He’s expected to be hobbled tonight as well.
Another questionable for this eve is Washington’s latest hopeful, Otto Porter (3rd overall pick in this season’s NBA draft). Otto, another former Georgetown standout, only began practicing with the Wizards for the first time this season 3 days ago.
Even with their early losses, Wizards coach (Indianapolis native, and former Pacer) Randy Whitman still has his young star point guard John Wall (19.5 PPG, 8.8 APG) healthy. And that’s a load. He leads a very talented and tough core of players, all of whom are looking to bring the Wizards back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Up front, the Wizards are big but a bit ungainly. There’s power forward Nene (15.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG). There’s center Marcin Gortat (13.2 PPG, 1.7 BPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.4 ORPG). There’s small forward Trevor Ariza (14.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG). And there’s bench reserve Martell Webster (12.8 PPG, 39% from 3), who will likely slide into Beal's vacant starting spot tonight.
With Webster starting, the rest of the Wiz bench is led by former Pacer Al Harrington (7.9 PPG, 43% from 3) and Jan Vesely (2.9 PPG). They are joined by journeyman point guard Eric Maynor (2.5 PPG, 2.1 APG), Trevor Booker (3.3 PPG), Garrett Temple (1.8 PPG) and the enigmatic Kevin Seraphin. Seraphin, a Frenchie, is best known for:
As a team, the Wizards are VERY tall. Wall is the shortest player of their starting five at 6’-4”. They are proficient at the 3, shooting at a league 8th best 39% . They share the ball, ranking 8th in assists. They score it pretty well too. They’re at a mid-pack 100.3 PPG. They live by the jumper and don't draw a lot of fouls, ranking near the bottom both in free throws made and in free throws attempted. Ariza, in particular, struggles from the line, shooting only 57%.
Defensively, the Wizards tend to struggle. They are not a good defensive rebounding team, and they allow teams to score on them at a 7th worst league clip, 101.3 PPG. Wall, while lightning quick and the engine that makes the Wiz go, also is sometimes sloppy. He turns the ball over 3.4 times per game.
MORE WASHINGTON STUFF!
Washington Ted and the Raiders Of The Lost Trophy?
When Wizard’s owner Ted Leonsis purchased a majority stake in the franchise from the estate of late team founder Abe Pollin in 2010, he promised Washington fans that he would bring an NBA championship to the nation's capital. And for a brief period of time this spring, it appeared that he HAD.... well kind of…but not in the way most fans thought he would.
See, the Larry O'Brien trophy, which was won by the then-Washington Bullets back in 1978 went missing!
Following the standard "look in the last place you saw it" method, according to Leonsis, team staff went on the hunt for it and traced it to the home of a former staff member of Pollin’s who had taken it to his home for safe keeping. Then the staffer passed away. But sure enough, the trophy was still there at the bottom of a closet. It was all dinged up and not very shiny.
In a way, this is almost exactly what has befallen the Wizards since the glory days of Wes Unseld (his playing days, not the not-so glorious days of coaching and GM-ing the team) and Elvin Hayes. (Rumor has it that the staffers also found original copies of the massive 100 million+ dollar contracts for both Juwan Howard and Gilbert Arenas there as well, but left them where they were, in the same closet.)
But never fear readers! Leonsis' wife just happened to be friends with someone at the DC Tiffany's! Just 3 months later the trophy was back to its original sterling condition and restored to a new home at DC’s Verizon Center. And for once, long-suffering Wizards fans had a happy ending.
Or did they?
Upon the reporting of the above story, Abe Pollin's widow (who is still a minority owner of the team) stepped in. According to her, most of Leonsis' story about locating the missing trophy was “untrue.”
According to the widow, the trophy WAS in a closet, but that closet was located on the 3rd floor of the Verizon Center, waiting for the construction of a trophy case to hold it that, for some unknown reason, took 3 years to build.
Rats. Personally, I preferred Ted's story.
Dance, Dance, Dance! Halftime at the Minnesota game was enlivened by the insightful interpretive dancing of a local troupe whose name Michael Grady garbled again so I can’t share it with you here. No matter who seem to appears at our halftimes, Grady always seems to welcome them with what sounds like a muffled “Welcome to McDonald’s Can I take your order?”
Anyway, whoever they were, I’m here to tell you that they had some hot looking adult women in there. These were interspersed with a bunch of kids endearingly dressed exactly like their moms. Their performance was a thrilling cultural interlude that came and went all too quickly.
On the eventful night, I presciently shared my viewing with notorious Area 55 corn-dog promiser and interpretive dance maven, Mike (“Jackie Moon”) Burgan, who provided me with an informed running commentary and explanation for everything that was happening. Thankfully, Mike drew on his former expertise as a male dancer to clue me in on exactly what went on below on the floor. I usually rely on long-time member Casey O’Brien for these sorts of explanations, but he was sadly temporarily incarcerated Monday night due to a parole violation.
First, the dancers came out all frenetic and crazy, throwing their nubile bods around to a quick series of various hip-hop accompaniments. Novice aficionado that I am, I thought they were trying to depict a scene from Walmart on Black Friday. Burgan, however, opined that they were trying to display the vagaries of Indiana winter weather. Thus informed, I realized Burgan was right, because afterwards the music slowed a little and the troupe quickly segued into a more graceful Spring and a hot, lazy Summer.
Fall was the highlight for me – it featured the older hotties sprawling about on the hardwood like dead leaves. Then, after a tad, their urchins crept forward and persuaded their deceased mothers to rise to their feet all refreshed and shimmying again. Burgan sagely noted that this depicted the eternal cycle of death and rebirth. Burgan is truly a sensitive guy.
Anyway, it was all good. I especially liked a point where the ladies all got down on the floor together and started contorting their bodies into a sort of kaleidoscopic blossoming. Burgan pointed out that this was Spring again and, sure enough, I then managed to see that down below there were flowers with petals and everything! I thought I saw a garden hose as well, but it could also have been a snake. Anyhow, Spring freshened things up a lot and gave me a life lesson, reminding me that sooner or later the cold will go away and warmer days will surely come!
We need more cultural interludes like this. We Pacers viewers are not simply ignorant yokels and peasants! We need our aesthetic fancies tickled too!
More interpretive dance like this, PS&E! Please!
Kudos to Our Stem Cell Guy! Colin Lott is a long-time buddy from the original Area 55 days of Season One. At that time, Colin sat next to me in Row 9, always painted up and directing his stentorian voice downwards bellowing advice to a clueless Jim O’Brien; pleading for better play from Mike Donleavy; and demanding a fairer shake from the refs. Anyway, Colin’s one of our most loyal members with a heart bigger than all outdoors.
Accordingly, it was really gratifying for me to see that big heart of his mentioned last week when he gave stem-cells to a matching donor. He did it in memory of a dying kid and that kid’s sadly unfulfilled wish to meet Roy Hibbert.
Hell, I’m not going to retell this. It’s all right here. And everybody in Area 55 really needs to read this:
Yeah, people sometimes talk about we Area 55ers as being “bought” by Roy Hibbert. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard us accused of being a “paid cheering section” or a PS&E “publicity stunt.”
Well, Colin Lott’s beneficence proves that some of our members are a lot more than that. And this episode demonstrates that Roy Hibbert is a lot more than just an NBA basketball player.
Goodbye Sandy Anderson! I can’t let this Newsletter end without adding a farewell note to Sandy Anderson, a lady that has been Area 55’s usher and mother-figure for nearly four years. Sandy’s last game with us occurred, without much fanfare, when our boys happily took down Minnesota.
Sandy elected to move on (Nah, it wasn’t us. She strangely loves the snot out of us.) and she won’t be taking our tickets anymore in 101. That and 102 were her assigned sections when Roy decided to put us there. It was a big challenge for Sandy since presiding over our act isn’t exactly like attending an ice-cream social. Sandy gulped when she learned she’d be our usher, but agreed to take us on. She stayed with us for four long seasons – minding crazy drunks, ejecting hostile infiltrators, and generally heading off anything nasty that might injure Area 55’s and Roy’s reputations.
That’s saying a lot for a diminutive lady whose physical stature only comes up to about my waist.
But there she was, almost every night, cheerfully keeping an eye on things, deftly heading off trouble, and making herself loved in the process. When it was all over, Area 55 had more than a uniformed keeper. We had someone that knew us; cared about us; and shared all our travails. Sandy was our buffer when BLF security hated us; our censor when our cheers and jeers got dicey; and our apologist to her bosses when no one else came to our defense.
Sandy Anderson was, and remains, a very special lady. She’s unforgettable and sure to be missed. Still, she promises to come back and sit with us now and then. I hope she does.
There will always be a place for her in 101 and in the hearts of those of us who sit there.
Thanks, Sandy. We’re honored to have known you and wish you all the best!
Let’s help our boys win tonight, 55ers and dedicate this game to Sandy Anderson.
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!
Yeah, it’s cold outside. But who cares? The Pacers are home again, fresh off a thumping of Miami. What refreshes me about that primo win was that the Pacers didn’t particularly play all that well in order to accomplish it. OK, yeah, we were good when we had to be and we shut the Heat off in BLF when we needed to, but we all know it wasn’t one of our best games. We can play tons better! Hell, we’ve all seen our guys play tons better. It warms my heart a tad knowing this and knowing that Miami still hasn’t seen us running on all cylinders. Maybe that will happen when we see them in the balmy south on December 18th.
Heart-warming thing #2 to remember is that Danny Granger will be coming back. OK, maybe not tonight. But it’ll be pretty soon. And that can’t bode well for our opposition. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, that will spell all kinds of trouble for the Heat et al.
Finally, there’s this bit of news to remember: Our schedule relaxes a tad after the road hell we just went through. Aside from road trips to South Beach and Brooklyn, we can look forward to 6 more games at friendly BLF before we all ring in the New Year.
But as Frank says, “One game at a time.” First let’s see who is wear the striped shirts tonight:
Referee Assignments: James Capers, Mark Lindsay, and Kevin Scott
And here’s what Bill Manlove thinks about our opposition:
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Charlotte Bobcats
Wow, these guys are pretty bland.
Charlotte enters tonight's match at the Temple of Doom sporting an almost Un-Bobcats like 10 – 12 record. They’ve already won half as many games as they won under the short-lived Mike Dunlap era in what alas, will be the final year of the Bobcats before the long-awaited return of the Charlotte Hornets next fall. And while former Lakers assistant Steve Clifford is off to a respectable start at the helm of the team owned by "His Airness," Michael Jordan, they've been hit hard by injuries to their young core.
Hyphenated second year man Michael Kidd-Gilcrist (9.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG) still is looking at a few weeks to recover from his broken hand and likely won’t be seen this evening. He may also be joined on the pines by center Bismark Biyombo (6.8 RPG, .9 BPG), who is questionable for tonight with a sprained ankle. Couple this with veteran Brendan Haywood's foot surgery, which will leave him out for at least another month, and things become a tad challenging for team leader Al Jefferson (15.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.8 ORPG).
Jefferson, you may recall, was the Bobcats big off-season free agent pickup. He will be joined by starters Gerald Henderson (15.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG), Kemba Walker (17.0 PPG, 4.5 APG, 1.5 SPG), Jeff Taylor (8.5 PPG), and former Pacer and Carmel native, Josh McRoberts (8.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.1 APG). McRoberts may have finally found himself a home after bouncing around several rosters since leaving the Pacers in 2011 free agency.
The Charlotte bench is led by veterans Ben Gordon (6.0 PPG) and Ramon Sessions (10.8 PPG, 2.9 APG). They are accompanied by rookie Cody Zeller (5.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG), who joins the team after two seasons at Indiana. Much like Victor Oladipo, if you wish to give him some ovation when he first enters the game, that’s fine, but after that, remember he then becomes the enemy, plain and simple.
Rounding out the bench is Jeff Adrien (2.9 PPG), Anthony Tolliver (3 PPG), Jannero Pargo (2.5) and the mysterious James Southerland (0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 SPG, Who is this guy?.
As a team, Charlotte, despite only being 2 games below the .500 mark, is absolutely PUTRID offensively. They average a second worst 90.5 PPG, and they run the 6th slowest paced offense in the league. They shoot a league worst 41% from the field and a worst 29% from 3 land. They do manage to take a lot of free throws, (3rd in attempts, 5th in makes), but they are 25th in FT percentage (71%). They are a decent rebounding team, ranking 13th in offensive boards and 11th in defensive boards. But they also rank 4th in turnovers (which can be tied to Walker's 2.5 TOV per game average).
Charlotte's bread and butter is their defense, which is averaging a 92.4 PPG allowed clip, second only to the Pacers (who rank in at a RIDICULOUSLY GOOD 89.3 PPG allowed). They allow a 5th best 43% from the field, but struggle on the perimeter, where opponents shoot 37% against them. Look for PG, Lance, and George Hill to destroy them from outside while Roy and DW deny them from the interior. In hosting Charlotte tonight, Christmas comes early for the Pacers.
A-Caroling We Go! Remember to assemble as early as possible at the Penn street entrance because, starting at 4:45 PM or so, we will be serenading the arrivistes to BLF with Pacer-themed Christmas carols. Write some, if you’re so inclined. G2Zone people will be doing the same and our harmonious throats will be caroling away until 6:45 P.M. or so. It should give a whole new meaning to the holiday season.
Should Charlotte Change Its Name? When George Shinn (arguably the NBA’s worst former owner) picked up stakes and moved the old Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans in 2002, Charlotte was left without an NBA team. Shinn’s good buddy, NBA Commish, David Stern, however, promised the town a replacement squad just as soon as he could manage it. True to his word, a new franchise was awarded to Charlotte in 2004 under the control of Robert L. “Bob” Johnson – the first black team-owner in the NBA and a man who previously had earned his wealth and success as the proprietor of the Black Entertainment Television (better known as the “BET” Network).
When Johnson took over, there was the standard contest to name the team. The name Johnson selected was “the Charlotte Bobcats”. This mysterious selection prevailed over alternative popular entries – like the “Flight” and the “Dragons.” However, the “Bobcats” selection by Johnson was never really explained. Consequently, a lot of the locals suspected him of chosing the name “Bobcats” because “Bob” was Johnson’s nickname and he regarded himself as a “Cat.” (as in “That Bob, he’s one kewl cat!”)
Anyway, a lot of Charlotte fans hated the name – conjuring up, as it does, images of the first stage of Cub Scouting or an obscure feline that most people have never seen.
Johnson flopped in Charlotte and did not endear himself to fans. He only occasionally visited the arena to watch his abysmal team and he also made several other big ownership missteps. These included a failed venture to start a regional sports TV network and his inciting a lot of fan anger by hiking ticket prices for a worthless product. Johnson also clashed with local Charlotte business leaders about his future plans for the team and famously did not get along well with the local press.
His team did not do too well during his ownership tenure either. The Bobcats struggled on the court and had a hard time winning over the same Carolina fans who had been upset at the peremptory departure of the old Hornets. While the Bobcats lost big on the floor, Johnson lost big money in the front office. Here I mean Big Money -- tens of millions of dollars.
Looking to get out of what had turned into a crummy deal, Johnson was able to first lure Michael Jordan into becoming a minority owner. Then, in 2009, he sold His Airness his majority interest in the team. Voila! Welcome to the Jordan Era in Charlotte.
When His Airness took over, there was a lot of local clamor for a new team name. MJ has an ego himself and the initial reports were that he was not exactly enamored of a team that bore the albeit disguised name of a departed owner. Jordan also fueled rumors of a name change himself by indicating he was open to the idea.
Doing a name change isn’t a cheap thing in the NBA. It is estimated that it costs a franchise anywhere from $3 million to $10 million to rebrand a team. Signs and logos have to be replaced, and any pre-existing merchandise still in the gift shops winds up getting deeply discounted, thrown away, or appearing later on Antiques Roadshow. Just the same, that isn’t to say assuming the cost would be a bad move either. After all the Bobcats have given Charlotte much to forget.
At any rate, Jordan’s statement that he was receptive to a name change prompted a flurry of excited newspaper polls and lots of popular name suggestions in Charlotte. In the polling, only 25% of those responding wanted to keep the name “Bobcats.” Thus, change was in the wind!
Some top new choices thrown out there by readers were again “the Flight,” “the Airmen” and my personal favorite, “the Jordan-aires.”
There were some more imaginative entries too. These included “the Charlotte Nelson Reilly's”; “the Charlotte Catfish”; “the Charlotte Webs”; “the Charlotte Brontés”; “the Charlotte Barbecues”; “the Charlotte Ramplings”; “the Charlotte Showboats”; “the Charlotte Space Jam” and “Charlotte O’Hara”.
Happily MJ has now finally decided that Charlotte will just go back to being the “Hornets” (as New Orleans has dropped the “Hornets” name in order to become “the Pelicans” thus freeing up the Hornets name up again for His Airness’s opportune use.
Be thankful, I guess. Hosting the Charlotte Jordan-aires in BLF would be just too much to handle.
Well, that’s it, me hearties. Tune up for the carols and for the basketball. See you on the doorstep at BLF at 4:45 PM!
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!
OK, we’re now 21-5! The bad news, I guess, is that we no longer have the best record in the NBA.
The good news, however, is that we have just weathered the toughest stretch of our schedule. Something that Miami, who hasn’t gone out on a brutal western swing yet, can’t really say.
Also, on another happy note, we just rebounded from a couple of tough losses in exemplary fashion, and still better, Danny Granger is back. The latter spells big trouble for the rest of the League!
I like to read the opposition press after games. It conveys to me (far better than Sports Center) how we are really perceived by the rest of the NBA. Yesterday’s article from the Houston Chronicle, I think, was a gem in this regard. It’s definitely worth a read. The whole thing is here:
OK, so if you aren’t into reading long articles, just read the following excerpts. I particularly liked this quote from Houston’s coach, Kevin McHale, discussing what the Pacers did to his team:
“We had no answers for them,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “They just played way better than we did. They played more aggressively. They moved the ball well; we didn’t. They attacked us. They spread us out. Got 3s; we didn’t. They were just a lot better than we were all the way around. We weren’t precise. We weren’t moving. They just had us on our heels all night.”
I also particularly enjoyed this description of how we put Houston away:
“…Indiana ran the same play on five consecutive half-court possessions with the Rockets powerless to stop it. The Pacers had George Hill in a pick-and-roll with Paul George, while David West flashed into the lane. West jumper. Hill layup, layup. George 3-pointer. Lance Stephenson 3. Ballgame.”
This reprise of Ground Hog Day left Houston somewhat dismayed and non-plussed.
“The longer you play together, the more comfortable you’re going to be, but we can’t use that as an excuse,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said. “We have talented players. We just had to make adjustments. There’s no reason a team should execute the same play five times in a row.”
While still on the topic of sportswriting, Nuvo’s piece this week on Frank Vogel is also certainly worth a look. It too is a very good read. The cover caricature of Frank is a piece of memorabilia in and of itself. Thanks, by the way, to Nuvo newsies and Area 55 members, Flava Dave Searle and Jon LaFollette, for passing copies of that cover out to us at the Houston game. The article inside, by Conrad Brunner, is here. Read it and learn some stuff you perhaps didn’t know about Frank the Tank:
But enough well-merited, but transitory, praise for a the Pacers’ nice piece of work in demolishing Houston. Let’s leave self-adulation to the true masters of the art, the Miami Heat and put our shoulders to the task at hand:
Tonight, starting at 6:00 P.M for a change, we face former Butler coach, Brad Stevens, and his renascent Boston Celtics. This game too should be another sellout, but, unlike fan-friendless Houston, look to see a lot of Carmelites there, their bright-eyed tots in tow, all sporting bilious green and cluelessly littering our arena. It’s always that way – like a midsummer crabgrass invasion taking over your well-manicured lawn -- when Boston comes here.
Anyway, we need to neutralize these morons. Be loud!
Bill “The Sandman” Manlove will now fill you in on just what to expect from The Green Beantowners.
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Boston Celtics. Boston enters the Temple of Doom with a somewhat surprising lead in the Atlantic Division. Yup, they lead that sad grouping, albeit with a 12 - 16 record, after falling last night in a home loss to Washington. The Celtics are mentored by first year NBA Coach and former Butler head man, Brad Stevens. Don't let that record fool you however. This is a hungry young team that Stevens has only begun to mold into his pubescent image (as the guys down in South Beach found out to their chagrin on November 9th). And Boston’s about to get lots better, as star point guard, Rajon Rondo, has been cleared to return to practice after the ACL surgery that ended his season early last year. True, we won’t be seeing Rondo until after the New Year, but for a talented defensive squad, his encore represents a promising light beaming from the end of what has been a dismal and star-depleted Bay State tunnel. You’ll recall that former Celtics standouts, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, pulled up stakes and took their act to woeful Brooklyn.
While Rondo has been recuperating, the Celtics have been paced by Roy Hibbert’s buddy and former Georgetown product, Jeff Green (16.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and volume scoring wing, one time Indiana player, and G2 Zone favorite target Jordan Crawford (13.9 PPG, 5.5 APG). This scoring tandem is joined in the starting five by rebounding beast, Jared Sullinger (14.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG), always reliable Brandon Bass (11.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG), and Rondo speedy fill-in, Avery Bradley (13.5 PPG, 1.3 APG). This is an extremely adequate starting unit, people. And it will only get better when Rondo,the floor-leader, returns. Hey, that sounds like a Louis L’Amour western title, doesn’t it? “The Return of Rondo!”
The Celtics bench features the likes of Pike High School product, Courtney Lee (7.4 PPG), Gerald "Crash" Wallace (4.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG), and Kim Kardassian’s old squeeze, Kris Humphries (5.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG). We will likely also see a fair amount of Kelly Olynyk (7.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG), a 7-foot rookie from Gonzaga and would-be Luis Scola impersonator
and second generation NBA journeyman Phil Pressey (2.0 PPG, 1.9 APG). There’s also a new international man of mystery, Vitor Faverani (5.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG) and a couple of little used also-rans that we perhaps might get to see. Here I am referring to Bulls reject, Keith Bogans, and former Providence College and ex-Nets sharpshooter, MarShon Brooks (2.9 PPG, 50% from 3).
As a team, the Celtics real strength is definitely their defense, which is ranked 5th in the league, allowing a pretty measly 96.2 PPG a night. This can be attributed to great play on the perimeter, where the Celtics excel, allowing only 33% shooting from 3 point land, the best in the league. They aren't too shabby inside the arc either, allowing a 13th best 48%. They also rank in the top half of the Association in defensive rebounding and blocks – mostly accomplished by Sullinger. They do not get a lot of steals (9th lowest), but expect this to improve when Rondo works his way back into game shape upon his return.
Offensively, Brad Stevens probably cannot wait for the delayed Christmas present he’s been given in Rondo's return. Right now the Celtics are averaging a league 6th worst (95.4 PPG) in scoring. They are decent shooters in close, at a 12th best 45% from the field, but struggle from outside the arc (35%). They are good free throw shooters (77% as a team), but mediocre in crashing the offensive boards (18th). Also, and oddly for a Stevens-coached team that is supposedly imbued with Butler principles, they have the 4th fewest assists in the league.
But don't let their losing record fool you, Area 55 and G2ers, the Celtics are a dangerous team, perfectly capable of exploding and then chewing away at the private parts of any teams that take them too lightly, something the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Hawks, and Heat have all had to learn the hard way. Thanks to a masterful rebuilding plan engineered by Stevens and Boston GM Danny Ainge (and with a lot of unsolicited help from a very foolish Russian billionaire owner in Brooklyn), they are eventually going to be a VERY dominant team in the Atlantic soon.
Be on your toes, 55ers. This is Boston. Remember what happened to us recently with lowly Detroit and be wary.
New Year’s Jingling Got the following missive from our PS&E buddy and minder, Zac Fronterhouse:
“Since the caroling at City Sidewalks was a big hit, we are asking you to create a Pacers theme to the first verse of the New Year’s Eve song, Auld Lang Syne. Sunday, December 22 after the game, we will meet on the Main Concourse at the grand staircase and record your Pacers edition of Auld Lang Syne for Pacers.com. Area 55 member Joe Murphy will be point man for this event. Get with Joe to coordinate the lyrics of the song. Also, G2 Zone will be in attendance. It will be a coordinated effort to help bring in the New Year.
Area 55 Staff”
OK, there you go! So send me – Mr. Point Man (Ha! That’s a laugh! I don’t think anyone in Area 55 could even be pointed to a bathroom) -- any of your lyrical contributions. And remember to show up ( no matter how sloshed you are), at the “Grand Staircase” following the Boston game. There will transpire the filming of our epic chorale..
I hope this will all go well. However, being a pessimist, I envision something Eisensteinian happening on the Grand Staircase.
Yeah, I know this Auld Lang Syne this is on short notice, but if you’re so inclined please email me your two cents’ worth! Hopefully, with more pre-game suggestions and a smidgeon of editing, we can come up with something that we can actually give voice to tonight and thus keep Fronterhouse a happy guy.
Here’s what we have so far, courtesy of moi and Radioactive 55er, Joe Dynlacht:
Will our few losses be forgot, and be never brought to mind?
Will our few losses be forgot, when we kick the Heat’s behind?
We’ll kick the Heat’s behind, my dear,
We’ll kick the Heat’s behind!
We’ll raise a banner higher yet
When we kick the Heat’s behind!
Will refs dole out no flopping calls? Will Battier use shoves?
Will refs dole out no technicals? And Treat Chalmers with kid gloves?
Still we’ll put the Heat away, my friends.
We will put the Heat away!
And “The King” will cry and he will moan,
When we put the Heat away!
Will we shut down Bosh and Wade? Will they even get a shot?
Will we shut down Bosh and Wade? Yes, their games will go to pot
For they will get no looks, my friends!
No un-con-tested shots!
Roy will swat them all to kingdom come
And tie LeBron in knots!
Will Sports Center mention us? Do they even know our names?
Will E-S-P-N cover us? Will the country see our games?
Oh they’ll soon know our names, my friends.
Soon all will see our games!
And all will know of George and West,
When the Heat go down in flames!
The T-Shirts Are Coming! And none too soon, I might add! My old number has gone unwashed for quite some time and I’m beginning not to be able to stand it myself. Also, I’ve been getting all kinds of nasty emails and phone calls from some of you about the missing T-shirts for weeks. OK. Relax! They’re coming! We don’t know quite when, exactly. But they're in the works. Read this timely message from The Suits:
“Area 55’s first theme night of the year-T-Shirt Night, is right around the corner. T-shirts will be placed in your seats when you arrive at the game. We want to accommodate everyone with their proper shirt size, so we are asking that you register by clicking here http://www.nba.com/pacers/area-55-t-shirt-night and completing this short form. Please register by December 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Be prepared to wear the shirts the night you receive them. We are excited about our Area 55 Season 4 shirts and we want you to show them off during the game.
Due to the limited amount of shirts we are only able to give one to each section member. If you don’t attend the game that night, it is your responsibility to coordinate t-shirt pickup with the person using your tickets.
We can’t wait to see you in your Area 55 Season 4 shirts!
Area 55 Staff”
Please note again that you will need to do some clicking if you actually want the right size. We’ll have none of this!
Such runs counter to the wholesome, family-friendly experience that our ever-popular Commissioner, David Stern, http://tinyurl.com/ome2pgd is attempting to instill in NBA venues.
Let’s Help Roy! Now this could be fun! Still more from The Suits!
“Roy Hibbert needs your help!
To get involved with All-Star voting, Roy needs Area 55 members to create a video or picture with the theme, “The best reason to vote Roy Hibbert for All-Star is…”. Your submissions will be posted to Roy’s personal web page, RoyHibbert.com.
Submissions can be funny, serious or cool like Roy but it is required that your use the theme, “The best reason to vote Roy Hibbert for All-Star is…”
o Please write a brief caption or description of the video.
o Upload the video to YouTube. Add your description.
o Use “55forRoy:” in subject line before your own title/subject when uploading to Youtube
§ Example subject line: 55forRoy: Roy is the best defensive center in the league
o Send a link to the YouTube video with a brief description via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
o Please submit any picture or graphic via email to 55forRoy@gmail.com to go along with a description.
o If file is too large to be an email attachment it will likely not be used in its original form.
You have the freedom to be as creative as you want, but please keep family-friendly and within the NBA guidelines.
Let’s support and impress the Big Dawg!
Area 55 Staff”
OK, let’s do this! We can maybe discuss a spot where the video-clueless (such as me) can hook up with the more technically inclined and do some artsy videotaping. Roy deserves an All-Star Berth on his own merits, but if there’s anything we can do to help, it’s gotta be done.
Owner and Talented Chihuahua Draw Raves! It had to happen sooner or later and at our halftime with Houston it did! The Entertainment Gurus at PS&E at long last finally got it all right.
Folks, there is absolutely NOTHING BAD that I can about Christian Stoinev and his canine pal, Scooby! Au contraire! I loved this act!
Those of you that jetted off for your mid-game cerveza really missed out for a change. You can glimpse what I’m going on about here:
What can I say? It was this young Illinois State grad (and circus acrobat), Stoinev, there along with his pet Chihuahua, Scooby.
And their little act was unabashedly straightforward -- conceptually simple actually. It was amateurish in the good sense of the word. Unpretentious. But when said and done, really, really amusing and fun to watch.
Basically, it involved Stoinev doing head- and handstands and balancing himself upside-down while his pet dog came out of a box and started climbing around on him. That doesn’t sound like much, I suppose, but it worked great! And that diminutive little dog was fabulous!
Watching it all had an odd effect on me. I felt a warm glow. Then, I wanted to immediately run to the nearest Taco Bell and order a chalupa. Happily, my near seatmate, Mandy Dicks, exited for water and made the mistake of leaving me alone to guard the remains of her order of spicy Totchos (Tater-Tot Nachos! Yum!) BTW, Totchos have the Hobert Montgomery IV taste seal of approval! Be advised! They need to be special-ordered from our waitress, Hope. But at $6.50 a pop they’re really a great deal).
Anyway, I say this to the Suits: Bring both Christian and Scooby back for the Playoffs!. They personify us! Built not bought! No locker-room issues! Smash-mouth entertainment!
But enough’s enough. Let’s be fired up and irreverent tonight and help our guys eradicate Boston!
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!
First off, my apologies for getting this to you so late. What can I say? I’m back from my annual trek to Cleveland to do Christmas with the wife’s relatives. There I managed to contract the flu. Since then I’ve had hot and cold chills, coughing spells, and a lot of hallucinations. Actually, as I write this, surrealistic visions of sugar plums are dancing in my head.
Happily, I have motored back to Indy – all drugged up but nevertheless alive -- where I hope to gather myself for further challenges and rejuvenate my now-depleted immune system. I am cheered by the Heat’s recent road loss to the Kings. Ha! That puts us 2 up on them in the East.
I am even further cheered by a second opportunity for our 23-5 Pacers to feast on the Brooklyn Nets, an assemblage which, due to the state of my fevered and Dickensian holiday brain, resembles, more than anything, a big, fat, juicy Christmas goose.
Oh hell, I can’t write with this coven of witches in here. I’ll just let the Sandman finish this one.
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Brooklyn Nets
As the Nets make their first appearance of the season at the Temple of Doom, it's perhaps needless to say that when one considers all the expectations that were made in regards to Brooklyn prior to the season (and their 180 Million Dollar Payroll), they are not only a dumpster fire, but a dumpster INFERNO!
The Nets are 10 - 19 after last night's home win against Milwaukee. Despite being a woeful .344 (losing around 2 games for every 3 they’ve played) this is still good enough to put them just 3 games out of 1st place in the sorry tale of woe that is the Atlantic Division.
When Jason Kidd became the Nets’ new head coach (their 3rd in just less than 12 months) the Nets were optimistic that he would at last be the Moses that would lead them to the promised land.
His selection was odd.
Their first guru, Avery Johnson, was canned immediately after having garnered two NBA Coach of the Month nods. The next candidate, P.J. Carlesimo (perhaps best known as the man Latrell Sprewell tried to strangle) quickly joined Johnson prognosticating at ESPN after an embarrassing playoff loss to a depleted Chicago Bulls squad. The Nets’ Russian Billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov (whom my sources say translates roughly into English as "Dan Snyder") had this to say about picking Kidd:
"Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York, he has the fire in the belly we need and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve. We believe he will lead us there. Welcome home, Jason."
Nets GM Billy King added this:
"Jason is a proven winner and leader with an incredible wealth of basketball knowledge and experience. This will be a natural transition for him to move into the role of head coach, as he embodies the tough, smart and team-first mentality that we are trying to establish in Brooklyn."
Um, yeah... About that.....
Unfortunately, he’s no Moses. It is actually fair to say that Jason Kidd has shown that he has absolutely NO IDEA what he is doing. This literally could be the most incompetent coaching job in the storied history of the NBA.
One of the reasons that Kidd got the job was because he was able to bring in with him his former coach, Lawrence Frank, to serve as his lead assistant to help him make the transition to the coaching ranks. At first, during the off-season and in their training camp, the two seemed to be working together to create a star-studded plan of attack. Sadly, it all went south from there. Kidd, from the outset of the season, seemed lost, unfocused, and even disinterested. He was caught talking to someone on his cell phone while supposedly coaching a game. Then Kidd blew up at Frank after his first game on the bench, a blowout loss to Orlando. Their friendship fractured even further after that. As losses mounted It spiraled further downward. Ultimately Frank was reassigned on Dec 3rd. He is now officially tasked with writing daily reports on the team. Frank, for his part, has brought in lawyers to negotiate a buyout so that he can (smartly) distance himself from the whole Nets debacle.
Oh, and did I fail to mention that Frank is the HIGHEST paid assistant coach in the NBA? Oops. My bad.
And all this was AFTER "SodaGate." Out of time outs and trailing late against the Lakers on November 28th, Kidd was caught on camera staging a spilled drink to garner an “official” time out in order to clean up the resultant mess on the floor. You can view it all again here. Thousands already have.
Anyway, this allowed the Nets a time out that they really shouldn’t have had. It didn't help much though. The Nets still lost 99 – 94. On review, the League found Kidd’s protestations of innocence incredible and fined him $50,000.
Last night, Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski released a scathing column that revealed just how toxic things have gotten in Bricklyn.
The locker room is unhappy, the players have told their Coach that they don't know what their particular roles with the team are, and what could be the worst part of all, the players feel that Kidd quit on them during their epic Christmas Day embarrassment against the Bulls by putting in reserve players when the Nets were still within single digits during the 3rd quarter.
Not only that, but it appears Kidd is taking no blame for his role in the Brooklyn dumpster fire. Reports have surfaced that Kidd ripped into his players in their locker room following both their Monday loss to the Pacers http://tinyurl.com/m8poc6j
and after their even more humiliating Christmas Day dissection by the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls http://tinyurl.com/ltay9b3
For all of Kidd's missteps (and he's made enough to create his own line dance), not all of the Nets' woes can be blamed on him. The team lost starting center Brook Lopez (20.7 PPG, 1.8 BPG, 6.0 RPG) for the season with a broken foot earlier this month – something that all but cements our own Roy Hibbert for an NBA East All-Star slot. A key reserve, Andrei Kirilenko, hasn't played since early November (Kirilenko is a whole story unto himself. The proprieties surrounding his signing caused a lot of league furor: http://tinyurl.com/n42vmcz In fact, with the exceptions of reserves Alan Anderson (8.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG), and Shaun Livingston (5.9 PPG, 3.1 APG), not a single player on the Nets’ roster has played in every game this season. They were joined in that category by Andray Blatche (11.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG), until last night, when it was announced before the tipoff that he too would be out for 4 games to deal with some “personal issues.” (For Blatche, life is a personal issue).
Age has played a role in the Nets’ failure as well. This is especially the case with off-season geriatric pickups Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. While Pierce is maintaining a respectable 12.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG average, Garnett and Terry's scoring numbers have fallen off a cliff, with 6.7 and 5.4 PPG averages, respectively. Pierce seems frustrated. As we all know, on Monday, when we last saw the Nets, Pierce was deservedly tossed after cheaply clotheslining George Hill and being assessed a flagrant 2.
The ensuing fine cost Pierce $15,000. Until the ejectment, Pierce had gone 0-7 from the floor. It was his first scoreless game since March, 1999.
Meanwhile the Nets’ point man, Deron Williams (12.8 PPG, 7.4 APG) , has battled injuries (he’s played in only 18 games so far this season). Only his counterpart, Joe Johnson (16.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG), has been available to occasionally enliven the Nets’ generally lackluster backcourt scoring. However, both of these guys can, and sometimes do, get hot from behind the arc at a moment's notice. Recall last season when Williams exploded for 33 here against us. They have to be contained.
The Nets are rounded out by the soda-spill aider and abettor Tyshawn Taylor (4.6 PPG), Reggie Evans (5.1 RPG), Mirza Teletovic (Can we do a "Teletubbie" chant?) (7.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG), rookie Mason Plumlee (6.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG) and the VERY mysterious Tornike Shengelia, a Georgian national who may or may not have been a 6'9" Sherpa prior to his NBA days.
As a team, the Nets score a 9th worst 96.9 PPG nightly, this can be tied to the low amount of shots that they take (4th lowest in both FG and FGA), although they are midpack in percentage made at 44%. This trend also shows itself in their 3 point shooting. Here they rank 12th in 3P% at 37%. They don't get many second chance opportunities, ranking 4th lowest in offensive rebounds. They struggle with moving the ball, ranking 8th worst in assists and 11th highest in turnovers.
Defensively, it doesn't get any better. While the Nets are allowing a midpack 46% shooting from the field, their perimeter defense is awful, ranking 2nd in 3p% allowed at almost 40%. They don't generate many turnovers and they allow a lot of second chance opportunities. They rank in at the 8th lowest in defense rebounds, and they also don't have a lot of blocks (3rd fewest) on their way to allowing a 102.3 PPG average.
We should win this. Let’s help our guys make sure it happens!
Performer’s Edge Dancers Bring BLF Crowd to Brink of Mass Suicide! When I saw that Performer’s Edge was the featured halftime entertainment for Monday’s game I was momentarily intrigued. It was the name that intrigued me.
It conjured up images of thousands of moronic shaving commercials that have plagued my sports television watching over the years. For just a tad I suspected that PS&E had sold its corporate soul to the Gillette razor people and that we’d have a triple-tracked shaving exhibition courtside.. But no! It was worse than that!
What is it about Carmel, Indiana and dance troupes? Is there something in the water north of 96th Street that makes the women up there want to climb into sparkly little body suits and frolic about like gamboling forest sprites? I don’t know. Too many bored women; too many Pilates classes; too much time on their hands?
Whatever it is, it always seems to translate into truly insipid halftime entertainment for Pacers basketball-goers like me that have to sit there, watch it, and then try to look for meaning in it all.
Performer’s Edge truly took me to the edge. How can I find words to describe it?
First there were certainly a lot of them. There must have been around a hundred and fifty or so. Hell, half the eligible dance population of Carmel must have been there! All of them seemed to be women (although I thought I spotted an odd transvestite or two among them, but of this I cannot really be sure). Anyway, they ran out onto the floor with determination, indicating to me that they seemed hell-bent on doing something, but exactly what it was they were hell-bent on doing was very much subject to conjecture.
I thought possibly it was all meant to be educational. I say this because they started moving about like some of the tiny percolating quarks that they show on the Science Channel whenever Morgan Freeman tries to explain the weirdness of quantum mechanics. They sparkled and faded and reappeared in a sort of random chaos. Could it have been a modern dance depiction of the elusive quest for the Higgs Bozon? Probably not.
Yes, there was a musical backdrop of some kind and this usually serves a clue of sorts in these kinds of things. But here, the dancing was to no tune that I recognized. At first I thought it might have been an old Donna Summer Disco medley. However, my authority on these matters, Mike Burgan, indicated it was an obscure New Age Bulgarian folk melody. He must have recognized the pain on my face, for as he munched his nachos, he counseled patience on my part: “Go with the flow,” he said. “Just watch, listen, and to try not to read too much into it.” That's easy for you to say, Burgan!
I tried. I really did. But I couldn’t. My brain kept intruding. I kept trying to analyze it. Making analogies. Groping for metaphors. It was impossible not to. Something was going on down there! But what? To me, it was like watching a Satanic dance of death. I kept thinking of Kurtz’s dying words from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: "The horror! The horror!"
The spangly ladies wandered around the floor for quite a while, performing intricate quarky maneuvers and thrusting various parts of their bodies about into myriad strange and unnatural angles. Then, as a grand finale, the Pacemates, came in, all Christmasy and dressed like Santa’s elves, joining the Performers’ Edge women and making the whole ghastly spectacle even more Kafka-esque.
The PS&E people, of course, have to cater to the whims of the local populace. They have to pay lip-service to community whims and urges. I suppose it is the desire of any local dance troupe to “perform” and what better venue than the floor at a BLF Halftime Show to do this. I am sure that the PS&E Entertainment Gurus are inundated with lots of applications from groups like Performers’ Edge and their ilk. I understand the need to accommodate people.
But what about us, the fans? How many more of these ordeals must we be forced to witness?
Please! PS&E No more dance troupes; no more Pilates swarms; no more mom-daughter Zumba shows! Show us Terry Lee nude! Let Mark Boyle wrestle Eddie White! Have a monkey dressed a dentist show us the proper way to floss our teeth! But no more of this!
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!!!!
The Pacers hope to close out the year 25-5 this afternoon when they take on the now Andrew Bynum-less Cleveland Cavaliers. If that happens, we’ll be tied with Oklahoma City for the best record in the NBA. Early January bodes well too. Aside from Saturday’s face-off with the Pelicans, we face mostly weak Eastern Conference opposition until January 20th when our guys will set out on another Western road swing.
We’ve been winning so much of late that it almost seems something that can be taken for granted. But this is an impulse that has to be resisted, people. The East’s general weakness has been something the pundits have been ranting about, but some of the teams (Washington, Toronto and Atlanta come to mind here) have been playing better and even the Confrence’s dogs are capable of rising to the occasion and biting our butts (witness our Detroit loss). We have to keep bringing the noise and keeping BLF a place that is no fun for an opponent to play in.
Please note that tip-off is at 3:00 P.M.
Here’s the skinny on Cleveland:
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland returns to the Temple of Doom on this last day of 2013 looking to just get the calendar year over and done with. Then again, considering the other Cleveland sports franchises, that's probably par for the course for the North Coasters. For a team that was hoping to return to the playoffs this season, not much has gone right for Mike Brown and his 10 - 20 young team following their overtime loss at home to Golden State on Sunday.
First of all, that number one overall pick of theirs, Anthony Bennett, is only averaging a measly 2.4 points per game on 27% shooting (and 15% behind the arc!). He’s been generally a negative factor for the Cavs. Indeed, not since the dark days of Darko Milicic has a premier NBA lottery pick shown so much failure so quickly. Cleveland’s other first round pick, Sergey Karasev, really hasn't done much better either, shooting just 32% from the field and 25% from the arc on his way to averaging 2.2 PPG in spot minutes.
But there’s more bad news. Cleveland’s big free agency signing of Andrew Bynum has turned to offal. Bynum was suspended indefinitely on Saturday for “conduct detrimental to the team,” and while his suspension was lifted a day later, it is likely he will never wear a Cleveland jersey again. And even worse, somewhere near the Cuyahoga River there is a garbage dump full of Andrew Bynum Fatheads:
Bynum now claims that he never really liked basketball all that much, which I can see considering the man did make a whopping 16 million dollars without playing a minute after injuring himself bowling while with the 76ers last year. But my gut feeling is that Bynum left a few key words out, and actually meant to say that he never really liked to play basketball in Cleveland. I think its pretty clear he wants to get away from that tortured place and take his services to either South Beach or his adopted home of Los Angeles.
A move to South Beach seems unlikely. I sense that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert would prefer to pay Bynum to sit and rot rather than let another one of his players go to Miami. A move to the Clippers seems more in the cards. As the owner of the human Fathead, Gilbert’s got to have something to do with those cardboard Bynum facsimiles. Maybe he can palm them off on L.A. too.
There are some bright spots. Kyrie Irving (22.6 PPG, 6.1 APG) continues to lead a young core of Cavs who are looking to turn the season around. He's joined in the starting 5 by the journeyman Earl Clark (6.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG), CJ Miles (8.4 PPG, 1.0 APG), the ambidextrous Tristan Thompson (12.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.6 ORPG).
And of course, there’s Mr. Bird Nest himself, Anderson Varejao (7.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG), who will likely benefit the most from the removal of Mr. Bynum from the lineup.
The Cleveland bench does have some talent, starting with the backcourt duo of Dion Waiters (14.9 PPG, 2.5 APG) and Jarrett Jack (10.1 PPG, 3.7 APG), both of whom can get hot at a moment's notice. They also each shoot around 40% from beyond the arc. They are joined by alleged Hoosier native Tyler Zeller (3.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG and another beneficiary of a Bynum-less team, Alonzo Gee (3.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG). There’s also their most productive rookie, the Australian Sensation, the one, the only, Matthew Dellavedova (4.2 PPG. 1.4 APG), famous for a surreal November tirade from Brown in which he said his entire team, with the blatantly notable exception of Dellavedova, did not compete:
The bench is rounded out by the mysterious tandem of Carrick Felix and Henry Sims, and no, Cleveland has no idea who these guys are either.
Looking at the team stats, it’s clear that Cleveland is struggling. They are averaging a lower pack 96.9 PPG, and don't really particularly shoot the ball very well. The try to make up for this by getting a lot of offensive rebounds (10th in the league). They don't move the ball well (4th fewest assists), and are near the top of the turnover charts as well.
Defensively, its pretty clear that the Cavs are struggling to adapt to the style of Defensive Guru Brown, as they allow a rather putrid 102.8 PPG nightly. They are not good on the defensive boards either – a situation which should worsen with Bynum gone. They also are not good paint defenders --, ranking in the bottom 10 in the blocks column.
But be on your toes Area 55 and G2! The Cavs may be mediocre, but they would love to come in and end their 2013 on a positive note. Let's send this mistake back to its Lake!
Saturday Game Parking As we all now know, the NFL has done Indianapolis the SPECTACULAR (note sarcasm here) favor of scheduling a Colts playoff game on the same day as the Pacers showdown with New Orleans,.which is going to make parking for both fun. I would fully expect to pay Colts rates to park, which needless to say, is likely going to be more than normal, unless you plan ahead.
Fortunately, as of late Monday, there are a few prepaid options available for not much more than the $5 we pay to park in the lovingly known PTO lot, which can be reserved here:
I'd snap up some of these spots quick folks, especially as we draw closer to Saturday.
Sugar Hill Gang to Perform Today! I got this missive yesterday from Member Joe Dynlacht:
“I think that you, me and the wifey will be the only people in Area 55 that will appreciate the talents of our next halftime show performers, that old school hip hop group known as the Sugar Hill Gang. Feel free to use the following blurb in your newsie:
Wikipedia says that the Sugar Hill Gang is "known mostly for its 1979 hit "Rapper's Delight," the first hip hop single to become a Top 40 hit. The song uses an interpolation of the instrumental track from the hit "Good Times" by Chic as its foundation." Fact of the matter is...if I hadn't read that and remembered the "Good Times" groove (remember that show?), I wouldn't have recognized anything about this group! But nevertheless, Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright, Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson, and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien will be there Tuesday, front and center, and ready to entertain us!
Personally, I will be attempting to perfect my own version of the Lance Dance to whatever music they plan to pump out, and that alone will be entertainment enough to those sitting near me! Join me, Prez!
Simon Sez: “Go Take a Leak!” The half time of our Saturday game with Brooklyn was punctuated with 10 minutes of the antics of perennial NBA entertainer, Steve Max, who graced lucky viewers with his machine-gun version of the wholesome children’s game, “Simon Sez.”
Having seen Steve do his “Simon Sez” act for 4 years straight now, I feel compelled to apologize here, in advance, for the tepid enthusiasm which undoubtedly permeates this review. Ten minutes of Steve is just about all normal people can stand. I’ve somehow weathered around 40 minutes. And that’s a lot!
According to his website (which can be viewed here: http://halftimeshow.com/ ), Steve has been doing his “Simon Sez” thing at various sports venues for over 10 years – since around 2003.
I suppose he deserves at least a pat on the back for this. After all, it isn’t every day that a grown man can parlay a simple children’s game into a 10-year NBA entertainment career. And I have to admit that Steve has his enthusiastic supporters. Indeed, his website says he actually has a “fan club” and those willing to join can thus be kept abreast of “important things happening in Steve’s career by sending Steve their email addresses”
Steve’s act Saturday ran true to his many past performances.
As usual, he ran out onto mid-court, grinning with enthusiasm, and bringing two lines of people in tow – one all male and one all female – making for a battle of the sexes sure to pique the interest of the crowd. My seat-mate, Jason Mills (an obvious novice to “Simon Sez” and apparently not a member of Steve’s fan club), opined that it looked like a game of “Red Rover” was in the offing. Alas, this was not to be.
Instead, Steve then went through his staccato standard of “Simonsezhandup, handsdown! Simonsezturnright, turnleft! SimonSezEtc.Etc.Etc.” and in no time at all he succeeded in winnowing down the throngs of feeble-minded beginning participants to ultimately just two people – one of each sex.
As the winnowing transpired, I pretty much gave up on it and opted for watching the Jumbotron hoping for perhaps just one more fleeting glimpse of car-salesman Terry Lee demonstrating his shooting prowess. In this, I was disappointed. But back to Steve!
The two finalists in the runoff were a sexy Pacemate and a little boy. Steve gave them a couple of commands and to me, it looked like the Pacemate won. Steve, however, declared the encounter a draw and awarded them each a T-Shirt.
The crowd seemed OK with this. Simon Sez purists, like myself, were slightly disappointed. After 10 minutes of Steve, I wanted a clear winner.
All in all, it was another OK performance from Steve Max. It was kind of Pavlovian, but about par for the typical BLF half time entertainment.
Personally, I suppose I have to commend Steve for not abusing his mesmeric powers over his hapless and entranced subjects. If it had been me, I wouldn’t have been able to resist commands like: “Simon sez give me your wallet!” “Simon sez imitate a wombat” or “Simon sez disrobe completely!” Especially where sexy Pacemates are concerned.
Re: The official 2013-14 G2 Zone, Area 55 and PTO thread
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!!
Important stuff goes down tonight, O ye winter-weary!
Our 35-9 Pacers return home to BLF from a long western sojourn. On that trip they went 3-2, defeating Golden State, Sacramento, and the Lakers, but losing to Phoenix and Denver. That’s not bad. We still emerge from it with the best record in the NBA. Also, last night Oklahoma City handed LeBron & Co. another loss, which resulted in us now being up 4 games on Miami in the East.
Yeah, the 124-100 blowout loss to Phoenix last Wednesday was pretty humbling. You’ll recall that it was the second game of a back-to-back. Our guys had had a tough win over Golden State the night before and were tired. But that excuse aside, our defense was MIA, Paul George was off; David West’s game was affected by an injured hand; and Roy fouled out.. Worse, the Phoenix loss was administered by a lot of our former players -- Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, and Leandro Barbosa – who now all get their paychecks from the Suns and played us as if they really had something to prove. Green, notably, had 23 points in the win and Phoenix, as a team, went 11-16 from 3-point land.
Tonight, it is Phoenix, ironically, that is the team that is on the road playing the tough second of a back-to-back. The Pacers, thus, have a great opportunity to return the Sun’s former recent hospitality.
Important Read for the Milwaukee Trip!!!!! OK, 55ers! PLEASE READ THIS NOTICE!
Anyone interested in going on our planned trip to Milwaukee on Saturday, February 22, 2014 (Game time: 7:30 P.M. Milwaukee Time – We’re an hour ahead so that’s 8:30 P.M. to us) needs to bring $30.00 in cash with them to the game tonight.
Please put the money in an envelope with your name on it!
Yours truly and loyal Area 55 member Joe Dynlacht will be on hand to collect the envelopes from you at the top of the stairs at the Section 101 Entrance both pre-game and at half-time.
The aim in doing this is to get hard commitments from everyone going to Milwaukee. We need you to pay up so that we can obtain a definitive final headcount and garner funds to pay for the number of tickets we need.
Finality is the aim here, people! Those not paying tonight will not be counted!
AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO GO TO MILWAUKEE, PUT YOUR $30.00 IN CASH IN AN ENVELOPE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT AND GIVE IT ME OR DYNLACHT TONIGHT. NO CHECKS OR IOUs WILL BE ACCEPTED!
The Sandman Scouting Report: The Phoenix Suns. Phoenix arrives in the cold tundra surrounding our beloved Temple of Doom tonight as the undisputed surprise team of the season. Expected to only be in contention for a high lottery pick at season's start, first time head coach Jeff Hornacek has emerged as a serious Coach of the Year contender as Phoenix stands at 6th place in the West sporting an impressive 27 - 18 record Last night they won in Milwaukee, making it their third win in a row on a 4 game road trip.
Until recently, Phoenix’s main spark was Eric Bledsoe (18.0 PPG, 5.8 APG). However, a couple of weeks ago he was lost to knee surgery. Some thought that would be the end of Phoenix’s Playoff aspirations. But that’s not been the case. After some initial rough spots, point guard Goran Dragic (19.4 PPG, 6.1 APG) stepped up his game. He’s taken the team’s helm and runs an offense consisting of forwards P.J.Tucker (9.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG) and Channing Frye (12.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 42% from 3). These three are joined in the starting lineup by a couple of familiar faces; former Pacers Miles Plumlee (9.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG) and Gerald "Chuckem" Green (13.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG).
Plumlee and Green likely had an axe to grind with the Good Guys in Blue and Gold last week. Green went off on us for 23 points on 60% shooting from 3-point land, and Plumlee chipped in 11 points and 7 boards to contribute to the 124 - 100 Phoenix win.
Another former Pacer comes off the Phoenix bench. Yup, Leandro Barbosa has returned to Phoenix, where he started his NBA career in 2003. Since his signing a few weeks ago, he has brought a spark to the Suns’ second unit to the tune of 8.7 PPG, However, he’s shooting a very abnormal 17% from beyond the arc.
Barbossa is joined by the hulky Morris Brothers (and unlike our fabled "Davis Boys" of 90s lore, these twins really are brothers). They’re good. Markieff registers in at12.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG and Marcus clocks 9.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG. Other benchies are rookie Archie Goodwin (3.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG), journeyman Ish Smith (3.4 PPG, 2.3 APG), rookie Alex Len (2.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG), and the mysterious duo of Dionte Christmas (2.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG) and Viacheslav Kravtsov (1.1 PPG, .8 RPG).
As a team, the Suns have reprised the go-go offense of the classic Nash and Stoudamire teams with a sixth best 104.5 PPG average and 7th fastest pace in the league. The Great Balls of Fire are in the NBA top-10 in shooting at 46% from the field, an 11th best 37% from 3, and 8th best 50% from inside the arc. They also do a good job in getting 2nd chance opportunities, ranking 12th in offensive boards. They struggle with assists, ranking dead last in the league, and also struggle with turnovers.
Again like the classic Nash and Stoudamire teams, Phoenix has problems defensively. The Suns allow 101.2 PPG; commit the 12th most fouls in the league; and only rank 19th in defensive rebounds. They do a good job in the protecting the paint (12th in blocks) and allow only 34% from 3. Inside the arc, however, they are suspect (allowing opponents to shoot there at a whopping 48% clip..
Remember, these guys are going to be motivated. They’d very much like to be the first team this season to win a season series against the Blue and Gold.
That all said, the biggest news tonight will like be announced shortly after tipoff. Then, if all goes as expected, Area 55 Patron and Leader, Roy Hibbert, and Larry Bird’s brain-child, Lance Stephenson, should be confirmed as being named as reserves to the NBA Eastern Conference All Star team. If this happens, they will join Frank the Tank Vogel (who’s been named as the East’s coach) and G2 Zone Patron, the #PaulStar (who’s been named as an East starter). Be ready to break out the appropriate chants at a moment's notice, Pacer maniacs!
Now let's defend our house tonight!
T-Shirt Ballistics! Speculation abounds in idle moments at BLF. Some of this was in evidence at our last home game. It was then that I chanced to ask my seatmate, educator and scientist Joe “I’m Radioactive” Dynlacht, exactly what savant invented the now-ubiquitous NBA Multi-Barreled T-Shirt Gun.
The question stumped Dynlacht. I was stumped too. We speculated! Could it have been Elias Howe? Eli Whitney? George Washington Carver? Thomas Edison? El Pacero? Or was it Terry Lee, the Honda dealer from beautiful Avon?
My question went unanswered. But the need for an answer gnawed at my vitals! Hence, as the Pacers trekked west, I decided to Google. Eureka!
Here’s what I came up with. Read at your peril:
Who invented the T-shirt cannon? Well, according to this article it was a guy named Tim Derk, who came up with it while serving in his capacity as “Rambote,” the San Antonio Spur’s Coyote Mascot, back in the 1990s. Derk was looking for a more mechanized means of shooting stuff into otherwise placid crowds. Prior to the T-Shirt Gun, crowds could only be agitated by primitive T-Shirt Slingshots, whose range was limited. Derk’s CO2 powered gun was a vast improvement.
Tim Derk, however, was only the inventor of the original, now-outdated 90-Pound prototype. Improvements to his design were quickly made by other lights. The gun’s range was quickly lengthened, its weight adjusted, and its load magnified as other mascots – most notably Kenn Solomon a/k/a Rocky the Lion, the Denver mascot -- tinkered with, and then commercialized, Derk’s original. It wasn’t long before the mammoth “Gatling T-Shirt Gun ” was unveiled.
The Suits at PS&E, not to be outdone by other NBA venues, bought one of these and the rest is happy history. You can see the Pacers’ new Gatling T-Shirt Shooter’s unveiling right here!
Think we have the best T-Shirt Shooter in basketball? Think again. Unfortunately that seems to be the property of the Phoenix Suns. It is known as “The Gorilla T-Shirt Shooter” You Second Amendment fans can drool over it right here:
So there you go. Now you can tell all your friends and neighbors about T-Shirt guns. And the next time you catch one of those shirts, after its having been propelled at you through the wonder of compressed air, you can give your prize to junior, bounce him on your knee, and hear him say as you relate all this history: “Gee, Dad, you’re so smart!”
Oh, would you like a T-Shirt Gun of your very own? Something you can mount in your pickup? OK, here’s where you go!