The Pacers offense was anemic. Their second-best player — and I’m just giving Danny the benefit of the doubt here — was Solomon Jones. They looked significantly worse than they did in a game during which they committed 25 turnovers.
Ok. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s game two. Enhance your calm.
Still, it is not unfair to say that, through two games, the Pacers look like they have the potential to be in the worst team in the NBA discussion. Yes, the same NBA that features the Sacramento Kings. Right now, the Pacers only have two players who you can actually expect anything from offensively: Granger and Murphy. The Kings similarly only have two reliable guys: Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans. Granger is better than K-Mart and Murphy should be more consistent than a rookie, so, for now, they are safe, but the fact that you can even legitimately compare the talent level of your team to that of the Sacramento Kings means there are some real issues.
Whoops. I said in the headline that I was gonna avoid hyperbole and here I am talking about how the Pacers resemble the Kings.
But if not for hyperbole and overreaction, really, what can I say about last night? It was just very ugly. Granger’s shot was really, really off for a reason I really, really hope has nothing to do with injury. And since he was unwilling to penetrate until the game was, for practical purposes, over, there was nowhere else to look for offense. Like, literally, no option two. Hibbert showed some flashes in the post early, Luther Head started off the fourth aggressively with six straight points, and Troy looked like he was about to emerge from the nap he apparently took during half time when he made that hard drive to the hoop, got hammered and made the layup. But other than those moments, this whole game was an exercise in “I don’t want the ball.”
36 second half points is just not acceptable — particularly when, defensively, you’re letting Jermaine O’Neal score like it’s 2003 again and making Michael Beasley and Dwyane Wade look like Hakeem and Ralph Sampson in the post by trying to check them with Dahntay Jones and Luther Head. And 16 points in the third quarter? Where have we seen that before? I mean, Miami didn’t even play particularly well and the game never even felt remotely close after the half. Wade dropped 32 and didn’t even look like he was trying. And not in his normal “he makes the sport of basketball look so easy that it’s like he isn’t even trying” way, but in a “he’s fine with just standing around the perimeter and letting JO and Beas win this one” way. Sure, they cut the deficit to 8 at one point, but was anyone really predicting a comeback victory at that point?
And if all that wasn’t enough, Jeff Foster left the game with a sprained ankle and couldn’t return. Fantastic.
Whatever. Let’s not dwell.
But because the next game isn’t until Tueday (which is, oh by the way, against Denver and the on-another-planet-right-now Carmelo Anthony), I may as well add some more thoughts on this game. Plus, I may as well alert you now that Twitter is the best place to hang out while you’re watching NBA nowadays.
There are dozens upon dozens of smart and entertaining people out there who spend several nights a week providing insightful commentary and witty jokes about any number of games going on at the time, and you’re really missing out if you don’t follow some of them to learn and laugh along. It’s essentially a live blog or a game thread, but rather than being restricted to the number of people who are a part of that forum, it features commentary from anyone in the world who happens to be watching.
As far as Pacer-related tweets, there isn’t a ton of activity — at least not a ton that I’m aware of anyway. Hopefully that will change as I find more Pacer fans out there. Still, me, Tom Lewis of IndyCornrows (@IndyCornrows) and Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star have all been hanging out during the last two games and chirping in some thoughts. So in case you missed it — and to avoid saying anything further that I might later regret about Brandon Rush, TJ Ford or Dahntay Jones — below is a full replay of what went down in my world on Twitter last night (with an attempt at showing the conversations in a threaded-like manner).
If you are into the whole Twitter thing, you can follow me @8pts9secs. I look forward to chatting with some more of yall during the games to come.
@8pts9secs — High scorer in tonight’s game: Dwyane Wade or Danny Granger? Or do you have a wildcard pick?
@8pts9secs — I think the Pacers are gonna need Murphy to win the match up with Beasley. And not just statistically.
@8pts9secs — 1 possession. 1 Hibbert foul.
@8pts9secs — Is Beasley wearing a wet suit?
@8pts9secs — Brandon Rush makes his first jumper. That’s a good sign for his confidence
@8pts9secs — 2 fouls on Hibbert. He’s still in the game? Looks like O’Brien is tryna teach him to play without being stupid. We’ll see…
@8pts9secs — Brandon Rush has now fouled two guys who have also made the basket. 2nd-year guys got no discipline right now.
@8pts9secs — TJ gambling for a reach in steal on two straight possessions. He has: One foul, two buckets, two turnovers. Net: neutral performance so far.
@8pts9secs — Solomon Jones makes a short jumper on one end, gets roasted by JO on the other. Jermaine headed to the line. Again.
@8pts9secs — Dwyane only led the Heat in scoring 71 times last year? Slacker.
@8pts9secs — Danny fouled taking a trey. May as well pencil em all in.
@8pts9secs — Unforced turnover by the Pacers. Dahntay Jones couldn’t catch a routine pass to get the ball across half court. Sloppy, sloppy.
@8pts9secs — Chris Denari: “Indiana really out of sync.” Pretty much sums it up. Careless fouls and turnovers. Jumpers way off. Can’t guard the paint.
@8pts9secs — Nice offensive board by Solomon Jones. Dude went and got that one. Man rebound.
@8pts9secs — Shot-clock violation for the Pacers, who just keep finding new ways to turn the ball over.
@8pts9secs — As a guy who’s watched several Doug Collins and Reggie Miller broadcasts this week, praise the Lord for Quinn Buckner.
@8pts9secs — Watson w/ a needle-threading cross-court pass to Troy for the J. How he do that? Sick. TJ might be on the bench for a while.
@8pts9secs — Hibbert doing some work on the block. Nice deliberate jump hook.
@8pts9secs — Dude from Third Eye Blind is chatting live on the Pacers broadcast. First time all week I would rather hear Doug Collins.
@8pts9secs — Luther Head for three. Pacers only down three. I’m expecting a lot more threes like that from Luther this year.
@8pts9secs — Solomon Jones is hitting jumpers this eve. Anomaly?
@8pts9secs — Ummm…Yeah. Just like Dahntay can’t guard Beasley in the post, Head can’t check Flash down there.
@8pts9secs — Flash has 14 points on 9 shots in 15 mins. 2 steals too. And he hasn’t even looked like he’s trying yet.
@8pts9secs — Great penetration by TJ.
@8pts9secs — Danny about to pick up a T. Or at least he better on that. This aint tiddlywinks, zebra-jerk-face.
@8pts9secs — Dahntay Jones beasts Q in the post to end the half and cut the Heat lead to 2. They should be down more shooting 35%. I’ll take it.
@8pts9secs — Dear Troy Murphy, Never take another fadeaway jumper ever again. – Mgmt
@8pts9secs — Roy Hibbert has 3 offensive boards. I like that. Keep doing that, please and thank you.
@8pts9secs — Hibbert just went head-first Jeter-style into the fifth row.
@jose3030 — Celtics playing like someone stole their puppy and the only way to get him back is to drill 3s
@8pts9secs — Heat have 4 FGs in the 2nd half. JO has 4 FGs in the 2nd half. I see a pattern.
@8pts9secs — Yet another “Wait? Are these guys shaving points” turnover from a Pacer player this season. They should get assists for these.
@8pts9secs — Solomon Jones has recorded assists on the past four Heat points.
@8pts9secs — I love that Quinn Buckner says exactly what I’m thinking only better. Great of Danny to punish Q on the block.
@8pts9secs — Brandon Rush has been, um, let’s just say “uneffective” tonight.
@8pts9secs — Solomon Jones is the Pacers second best player tonight. They’re down 13. These facts are possibly related.
@8pts9secs — Danny Granger is shooting like Marquis Daniels tonight. They might hafta re-paint this rim tomorrow.
@8pts9secs — Great steal by Ford. I’ll stop there.
@8pts9secs — TJ was playing great D right there til he tried just a little too hard. Puts a guy on the line 25 feet from the hoop. #GetOutOfMyHeadQuinn
@8pts9secs — Nice coat, Diener. Slick.
@8pts9secs — Solomon Jones sorta moves like a giraffe learning to walk, but I think I like him. He’ll be easy to root for.
@8pts9secs — Nice move anyway, Dahntay. Good to see someone take it hard to the rack.
@8pts9secs — JO with 19 points on 9 shots. This is, how you say? Unexpected. Similarly, Danny Granger is 4/16. Indy down 17.
@8pts9secs — Looks like Tyler Hansbrough got a haircut. To barber: “Hook me up with that Llyod Christmas, son.”
@russbengtson Brandon Bass should be made an honorary Davis Brother.
@IndyCornrows — So I guess the BMX guy leaving on a stretcher was a bad sign for the Pacers. Down 79-63 end 3Q. Seems worse than score though.
@8pts9secs — Luther Head bringing the Pacers back from the dead. Has all 6 of Indy’s pts in the 4th. Back-to-back buckets in the paint.
@8pts9secs — Pacers down 10 and play some good scramble D to strip Wade and get the ball back. Can’t score though.
@8pts9secs — I mean, I’m not tryna be a dick BUT JESUS CHRIST. Swing passes are NOT this difficult, people.
@8pts9secs — Troy Murphy turns into Altered Beast and gets some. Three-point play at the cup while getting hammered. Down 10. Momentum-changer?
@8pts9secs — Best play of the game for the Pacers. But Danny can’t hit a WIDE OPEN three. He musta eaten something weird. So off tonight.
@IndyCornrows DG 33 now 2-11 from 3-land.
@8pts9secs — Danny for three. Let’s turn that tide, son. Down only 8 somehow.
@8pts9secs — Offensive fouls are the new “pass it directly to the other team.”