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Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

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  • Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

    My first thought was to come home and type up some sentimental piece about this being a better season than we expected and how great the crowds were for the entire playoff run and how there are probably better days ahead. But then I thought that would really be short changing the game.

    So my plan is simple tonight I’m going to talk about the game, give some grades and I might throw out a thing or two about the other topics but ultimately I’m planning on doing a grand end of the year Odd Thoughts so instead of trying to do all of that at once I’m going to split it up.

    Let’s jump right to the game.

    The worst part about this is that there is only one team that I can think of that can do what was done to us over the past few games and sadly it had to be the team we were playing.

    What am I talking about you might ask?

    Well in a nutshell its this, our entire defensive strategy all season long has been for our wing players and guards to try and force their player into the painted area only to be met by Roy Hibbert who would jump straight up in the air with his arms extended and force them either into a bad shot, a blocked shot or a charge. This worked more than it didn’t during the regular season and it even worked few times in games 2 & 3. But after game 3 the Heat started doing regularly the one thing that only they can do as a team because they have two players capable of doing this (OKC might be able to as well but I don’t think nearly as well). They started getting around their man and instead of driving in or pulling up for a jumper or fouling or anything else we would have preferred, they started shooting & hitting these one handed running floaters from 8-12’ out. Just far enough to be beyond their man and just far enough out that Roy could not contest the shot or even alter them.

    Like I said there are some players in the league that could do this. Bryant, Rose, Durrant, etc. But only the Heat have two players that can do that and do it well enough to do it multiple times a game.

    As much as I want to gripe and complain the truth is I don’t know how you defend that. I mean I guess you don’t allow them to get to the lane but that is a lot easier said than done.

    Also could we make sure that we dispense with the entire line of “the refs. screwed us” thinking tonight? Yes there were bad calls but nothing horribly egregious and nothing that I think would have altered the outcome of the game.

    Simply put, and believe me I hate saying this as much as you hate reading it, a two superstar combination can beat a team. Sure they got some help again tonight from some of their role players but in the end it was the two man combo that once again sounded the horns of ragnarok on our season. I hate both of them but at the end of the day this was the Wade I have known and feared for years as a Pacer fan. He has always killed us, even back when he was a rookie we knew this guy was for real and tonight he was just hitting shots that he had no business hitting. There were times that he was defended as well as he could be defended and he still sunk hard shots. At that point all I could do was sit in both disgust and amazement. Yes, he really looks to be bailed out on every play by the referee’s but at the end of the day he is just amazing to watch and if he wasn’t kicking our team’s butts I probably would have enjoyed his performance. But since we were on the receiving end of that I could not enjoy it.

    Defensively you have to give it to Spolstra, he designed a system that essentially shut off our interior play from game 3 going forward. Between our inability to make an entry pass, Roy’s inability to maintain position and their quick hands and good floor position we once again resorted to being a jump shooting team which is never really a good idea and often leads to long rebounds which often leads to fast breaks and this is the one team you do NOT want to do that to.

    So while I hate their guts I will freely acknowledge that Miami has the superior talent (I refuse to say team because beyond the big 3 most of the other players would have trouble making the Bobcats team) and until Wade finally retires they are probably going to be the bane of our existence.

    Now before I go any further let me make sure this point is loud and clear. I believe in Frank Vogel. I think he is one of the best coach’s in the NBA and honestly believe that he was the result of divine intervention saving our team from the clutches of evil.

    Now having said that I will say this, I think he probably cost us this game. That may be harsh and it may not even be completely accurate but once again tonight our starters built a lead and like clockwork (orange in this case) in comes the bench and the lead not only dissipates but is now a deficit that the starters have to come back in and try and get back. But of course by this time they are cold and Miami has grown in confidence from seeing the ball go through the hoop so often.

    Yes I know we got the lead back and I know that he didn’t play them again as a unit but at the end of the day it just seemed like they sucked the life out of both the building and the team. Why he once again insisted playing them as a unit is beyond me.

    Ok, let’s do some grades.

    Danny Granger: B It started so well for him. He was able to move, he grabbed some rebounds, he hit a couple of shots and for awhile he was even doing a decent job of containing James in the first half. Then after half time he came back flat and on occasion he seemed to be limping or at the very least favoring the leg. I don’t know if it tightened up on him, the meds were wearing off or he just hit the proverbial wall. But I do know that in the second half he missed a lot of shots, didn’t grab many rebounds and frankly could not keep up with James. Overall I have to say that I think Danny had a disappointing playoffs in general but I will give him full credit for trying to go at it tonight when the season was on the line.

    David West: B I know this is going to be controversial but while I think David West had a very good offensive game for the most part there were a lot of the things about West that I don’t like that reared their ugly head tonight. First and foremost whether it’s because he is slow, lazy or a combination he is just atrocious as a weak side defender. He offered absolutely no help in cutting off the drivers and while I know there weren’t a ton of rebounds to get I was not thrilled with his rebounding effort tonight, not by a long shot. Also in the 4th quarter I have no idea why he was trying to play like he was Rod Strickland driving the lanes and kicking it out to a three point shooter (who almost never hit other than Collison). He was going to go one on one with Battier and he passes out? Can’t say I was a fan of that happening as often as it did. However I don’t want to sound like I thought he was a scrub out there, on the offensive end when he did try and do work down low he owned Battier most of the night, which makes the pass outs even more maddening.

    Roy Hibbert: B Look, there is no doubt our guards can not make a good crisp clean entry pass (or any pass for that matter) but Roy has got to work harder to get position as well. Also I think Roy looked gassed for most of the game tonight. Could just be the increased playing time in the second season catching up to him or it could have just been my imagination. Either way I just don’t think he had that great of a game, certainly not what we were hoping for coming into an elimination game.

    Paul George: C Keep saying over and over to yourself “he’s young and still learning”. Look thank God Vogel is our coach because Paul got lots of valuable playoff experience and there are several other coach’s who would have never let him have the time on the floor that he got in the regular season let alone the playoffs. So for that we are grateful. Once again had some elite level defense tonight, yes Wade lit him up but it very rarely was because Paul was not right in his grill. He just hit tough shots. Paul needs to desperately work on his dribbling, passing and most importantly his laissez faire attitude that he sometimes develops on the floor.

    George Hill: C+ Better than his last game but that is not really that much of a compliment. He did hit some shots but like every other guard on our team had the passing ability and instincts of a goat wearing mittens and sun glasses. I’m going to be honest and say that I was a little disappointed in his defense in this series. I really thought that he would have been so good on defense that he would have been able to both help on the dribbler and still cover his man. That was probably hoping for to much on my end.

    Darren Collison: D Hey he had a 2-1 turnover to assist ratio, sadly that is supposed to be the other way around. He had a decent series overall and kept us in one game and saved us in another so I can forgive that he didn’t have the best of games tonight. I’m not sure of his place on our team going forward but other than tonight’s bad game he had a pleasant playoffs for us.

    Tyler Hansbrough: D 2 of his 4 shots were blocked at the rim and the other two he just missed. Sadly Tyler just is not fast enough off of his feet to be of much use in the paint when the opposition has a chance to set their defense. He did draw fouls and did hit 3 of 4 of them and he even grabbed 5 rebounds. But at the end of the day with the way our team is designed those are just not good enough statistics to help the club.

    Leandro Barbosa: F- Just an absolute turd out there. His entire playoff run was more than disappointing, it was downright miserable. He did nothing right tonight and every min. he was on the floor I was counting down till the moment he could be replaced. I can’t think of a much worse player on either side during this entire series. Which is so disappointing as he had such a good regular season and our record definitely improved once he got here, but man did his playoffs totally take away in good feelings I had about him.

    Dahntay & Lou both played so limited time that I am just going to say that they each gave us what you would expect from either which is usually decent.

    Now here is a question for everyone. Do we care that Danny Granger & David West left the floor without shaking the Heat's hand? Everybody else on the bench and the starters congratulated the Heat but West immediately bolted the floor as soon as the buzzer sounded followed quickly by Granger. Probably not a big deal either way but these are the two leaders of the team so I guess some might have a problem with it. God knows Isiah and the Pistons got a ton of crap for not shaking hands with the Bulls when they finally beat them.

    I don’t want to end on a sour note.

    Yes it was a fun year and yes we took the Heat one more game than I thought we could. The really good news is that we are still fairly young and have a good chance to continue improving.

    We just now have to quickly determine if Bird, Morway & company will be the ones running the show or not.

    The fans were unbelievable during this entire playoff run. I mean that in all honesty and sincerity. By far and away this is the largest pro pacers groups I have ever seen in there except maybe back in 2000 when we played the Bucks and they didn’t have many fans present. But other than that there are usually always far more of the oppositions fans in the house (of course not usually as bad as last years Bulls invasion). But even the Lakers had more fans in the house than the Magic or Heat had. But it goes beyond that, people weren’t only there to be at the game they were actually cheering the Pacers. It generally was so loud that I could not hear Michael Grady or for that matter often times I couldn’t hear area 55.

    So while we always rip on the area for not supporting the team, in this case they deserve a standing ovation of their own for taking Indiana Pacer fandom to the next level.

    Also I can’t leave without once again thanking my ticket rep. He read my tweet about it being our wedding anniversary and came over and said that as a gift he wanted to upgrade us. I thought it might be lower on a corner or something but when I got to my seat I could reach out and polish Van Gundy’s head if I wanted to (which I did want to). So thanks to Brian Stutzman and all of the Pacers sales staff.

    I hope that this is the last year you have to work to sell the team and next year you are having to make a waiting list for game tickets.

    Let the off season healing and hand wringing begin. I’ll be back with a year in review odd thoughts hopefully tomorrow.

    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

  • #2
    Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

    good stuff as always Peck and thanks for doing the odd thoughts dedicated to the game only - pretty sure everyone else still feels the need to vent about the game a bit before we summarize everything about the season.

    This game in my mind showed that we are still not ready on a mental level - the amount of unforced turnovers was pretty much due to the players being a bit too anxious and not ready to handle the pressure of the game and what it meant - I truly believe that was the case.

    David West started off well but in the 4th - that Tech he picked up really changed the whole momentum of the game - just as we cut it down to 1, he gets the tech, then miami makes another bucket and they get rolling again.

    Speaking of making come backs - we were horrible this whole series with them - as soon as we would cut it to 2-4 points, we would end up jacking 3 pointers instead of doing what was working and it was driving me INSANE!

    We came out really flat in the 3rd quarter - so did the Heat - if we only came out a bit more focused (i mean seriously, we had to take a time out to inbound the ball the first posession we have it shows just how out there the team was mentally) I think this game could've been ours.

    Barbosa - what has been said about him has pretty much hit the head on everything - he was definitely useful during the regular season but his game did not translate well to the playoffs.

    Vogel definitely is going through learning curve right now himself - he is trying to keep everyone's confidence high but he also needs to realize that in game adjustments are very very critical - when one guy is off don't force it - some of the way Barbosa was getting burned on D was giving me flashbacks of Murphy trying to guard R.Wallace....eek.

    Granger - he came out well in the first half - but I think he ended up not being able to handle the pain in the second half so he was going for the lazy defense of reaching in at James - this caused the foul trouble which got us in a bad funk. I'll give him props for coming out to play but his decision making continues to baffle me on a regular basis.

    Honestly I don't recall us giving the ball to Hibbert at all in the 3rd quarter - it was like he was never able to get involved in the second half - which just boggles my mind - our guards continue to pick up their dribble without having a clear person to give the ball to which in turn forces wild passes - and playing right into the hands of the opponent's defense.

    Hibbert should watch some of the better performances of Rik Smits in terms of how he could get position and make something happen - sure we don't have the passer which Mark Jackson is nowadays - but he can still look to make life easier on our guards who are looking clueless when it comes to entry passes.

    This was a series which we could've won - I still firmly believe that. We just did not make the necessary adjustments or throw enough different looks to Heat to make them second guess. We were exploited for what we were - a young team without much experience - hopefully come next year this will no longer bite us in the a$$.

    Just like to vent that I HATE THE OFF SEASON.


    • #3
      Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

      also I think this series has brought out the truth about just how "deep" we really are - after Granger, Hill, George, Hibbert, West and Collison, the talent really drops off.


      • #4
        Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

        Originally posted by bellisimo View Post
        also I think this series has brought out the truth about just how "deep" we really are - after Granger, Hill, George, Hibbert, West and Collison, the talent really drops off.
        That's been true most of the season. Lou had his moments in the regular season, less so in the playoffs. And as for Barbosa, well let's just say he didn't help himself in the FA market.


        • #5
          Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

          Originally posted by bellisimo View Post
          also I think this series has brought out the truth about just how "deep" we really are - after Granger, Hill, George, Hibbert, West and Collison, the talent really drops off.

          I couldn't agree more! The bench was good enough to help get the Pacers to the 3 seed in the playoffs, but not playoff quality help. As of now, it wouldn't hurt my feelings 1 iota to see certain players playing elsewhere come next season. Bird w/o a doubt has to UPGRADE the bench this off season! No ifs, ands, nor buts about it. Otherwise, this team will have the same results in the playoffs next year. That just can't be allowed to happen.

          Everyone from tv announcers on down give Wade and Lebron their due for their play, but the one Heat player I was impressed with was Joel Anthony. He rebs, plays "D", blocks shots, and shoots FT. He played Hibbert very well in this series. He got my respect as I hadn't thought much of him previously.


          • #6
            Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs


            Paul George: Paul needs to desperately work on his dribbling, passing and most importantly his laissez faire attitude that he sometimes develops on the floor. /QUOTE]

            Nail met hammer! He absolutely positively drives me up a wall with his lazy careless play. I just hope he works on these things as well as a mid-range game this off season.


            • #7
              Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

              I am VERY VERY VERY PROUD of this Pacers team .. We REALLY brought it to the Heat this series.. and I think in the process, earned the respect that no one seemed to want to give us before the playoffs this year...

              Yes, I believe that we could have very well beat Miami .. BUT , I don't think it was our time ..... just yet ..

              Baby steps ...

              Last year, we finally made the playoffs and was very competitive vs the Bulls while picking up valuable experience...
              This year, we made it to the 2nd round and put the fear into a (2 superstar/1 all star(even tho he was injured) ) Miami Heat team that are definitely contenders and 1 of the top 3 teams in the NBA who will be competing for championships for years to come...
              I mean it too EPIC hall of fame type performances from 2 top 5 players in the whole of the NBA , in James and Wade .. combining for anywhere from 50+ to 70+ points between the 2 of them, in order to beat us ... THAT is saying something....

              Next year, I see us getting to the ECF , provided the natural growth of our young guys, a few tweaks to the bench, and another season of being together as a team with the same core group ...

              While I am sad to see our post-season end, at least it took an elite team in Miami to take us out in 6 games... Our team and coaching staff more than exceeded any expectations I had for the regular season as well as the playoffs .. So while it is frustrating to be so damn close to advancing to the ECF , I can't be mad ..
              Sorry I just cannot ..

              I am gonna take a break from PD for a little while , at least till the sting of the playoff loss wears off around here .. Because honestly , our resident bi-polar bridge-jumpers are just gonna "urinate" me off if I have to read them bashing our guys after the hard work , heart , sweat and tears they put out on the floor for us .. I just won't have it ... I just hope some of you here stay classy and think before you post..

              Last edited by Kemo; 05-25-2012, 06:59 AM.
              "Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."


              • #8
                Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                Lebron and DWade showed their greatness as the series wound down. I don't like them, will root against them, but I have to admire them.

                We just had no one who could sort of kind of match that.
                "Look, it's up to me to put a team around ... Lance right now." —Kevin Pritchard press conference


                • #9
                  Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                  Here are a few nice quotes........

                  "The chant 'Thank you Pacers' really meant a lot to us a team and individuals. This is what we have been striving for, to get back to this level."
                  - Danny Granger

                  "On the positive side we feel that the players have gotten the city back on track to where we used to be. We want to thank all of our fans for that." - George Hill

                  "Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."


                  • #10
                    Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                    One thing that I think is important after the season is to not judge a player based on this series alone. Like many of you said, Barbosa was absolutely horrible. That said he was going up against DWade. he was pretty good for most of the season, and I believe that has to account for more than one poor series against an elite perimiter team.

                    The thing that frusturated me about tonights game was the offense. Too many times we took quick jumpers instead of working the ball around and our player movement. Van Gundy said last night that our spacing was horrible, which it was. So many times we would attempt to drive and kick and two of our guys would be standing in the same place or we jumped before knowing where we were going with the ball which caused awkward possessions and many turnovers. If we would have just stayed consistent, spaced the court properly and worked Hibbert and West more down low we would have won the game.


                    • #11
                      Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                      Now here is a question for everyone. Do we care that Danny Granger & David West left the floor without shaking the Heat's hand?
                      Not even slightly. The cHeat were dirty, cheap, and arrogant the entire series. That doesn't get forgotten just because the final horn sounds.


                      • #12
                        Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                        The good thing is, we now know exactly what we need to fix in order to compete with this Miami team, which is the one that will always be standing in our way. Now we just need to go out there and get it.


                        • #13
                          Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                          Also, ironically, Bosh being out probably actually hurt us in this series. With Bosh in the lane, LeBron and Wade would have likely not been driving and getting to the basket in the half court so much.

                          When those two bring their A games, as they did the last two games of this series, we simply can't beat them. They are that good.


                          • #14
                            Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                            Originally posted by Shade View Post
                            Also, ironically, Bosh being out probably actually hurt us in this series. With Bosh in the lane, LeBron and Wade would have likely not been driving and getting to the basket in the half court so much.

                            When those two bring their A games, as they did the last two games of this series, we simply can't beat them. They are that good.
                            With a healthy Bosh we don't win a game and Wade/Lebron didn't stop driving to the basket because for some reason Vogel's defensive plan was to tell Danny and George to go over the screen and get stuck to the screener letting Lewade tear drop it everytime, I still don't understand why we didn't make the adjustment of going under the screen instead.
                            Last edited by vnzla81; 05-25-2012, 08:54 AM.
                            @WhatTheFFacts: Studies show that sarcasm enhances the ability of the human mind to solve complex problems!


                            • #15
                              Re: Odd Thoughts: Round 2 game 6 of 2012 NBA playoffs

                              Our passing is just lazy.