Heat at Pacers. Conseco Fieldhouse. Home Opener.
As has been noted, the season opener in Atlanta was tough to watch at times. Still, there was a lot of good offense early when the team wasn’t turning the ball over. The Pacers will try to put the lesser moments from the last game behind them as they go up against Dwyane Wade and the Heat, who should be feeling good about themselves after thumping the Knicks in Miami the other night.
I’m not going to lie to you, guys: Flash is damn scary. He could go off for 40 against the ’85 Bears so, against a mediocre-at-best defensive team like Indiana that is still struggling to incorporate a few new offseason pieces, there is always the possibility that he just walks on the court and takes this thing over. He’s that good.
Jermaine O’Neal is not that good. Not anymore. And, indeed, never even was. Still, he produced like the JO Pacer fans once adored the other night, dropping a very efficient 22 points on 12 shots while also finding the time to nab 12 boards.
If that’s not enough to worry about, Michael Beasley, fresh off some offseason personal issues that landed him in a Houston-area rehab facility, looked a little bit like the guy Pat Riley thought he was taking second overall in the draft two summers ago. All told, Michael finished with 21 points on 9 of 14 from the floor. I’m sure Eric Spoelstra would have expected more than 3 boards out of SuperCoolBeas on a night where the Knicks shot an embarrassing 37.9%, but he had to be happy with the 20-year-old’s scoring in the opener.
Given that the Pacers coughed up 25 turnovers on Wednesday, 16 of which were credited as Atlanta steals, they will also have to worry about Mario Chalmers jumping the passing lanes. Chalmers finished fourth last year in the entire NBA in steals per game with 2.0 per game. Combine that with that Dwyane Wade guy again, who finished second in the league in steals last year with 2.2 thieveries per, and the Pacers best be cautious with the ball or we could see the team hand the game away yet again.
One last note: Daequan Cook might not play. He’s not a huge piece of Miami’s gameplan, but he is a potent three-point weapon, so Jim O’Brien is likely happy to see him in a suit in case this turns into a shootout.
Enjoy the game. Here’s the rest of the particulars.
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers
8:00 PM EST
And just for old time’s sake, here’s some Jermaine highlights over one of my favorite songs of all time, “Paparazzi” by Xzibit. Both conjure a lot of positive nostalgia. It was nice to see JO play well the other evening and here’s to hoping he stay healthy and put together a solid year.
Except for tonight. How about a nice little 4/16 performance again, my man?
Is that something you’d be interested in?