Milwaukee Bucks 93, Indiana Pacers 81
Look, I forgot they were playing last night. I mean, I knew there was a game – even wrote about it in yesterday’s recap – it’s just that my awareness of it was swept away by the first strong breeze. I wasn’t reminded of it until, while sitting at my nephew’s apartment watching Inglourious Basterds, I happened to check Twitter and see this:
So, I wander over and check the score real quick, and see the Pacers down 7 going into the 4th. I periodically check the box score, see them lingering just within reach before fading. I didn’t see a single second of game action, not even highlights, but, really, would that even be necessary for me to know what happened? Let’s run down the checklist.
Crappy start leads to early double-digit deficit – The Bucks bridged the 1st and 2nd quarters with a 29-10 run that put them up by 18. Check
Pacers get pounded on the boards – The Bucks outrebounded the Pacers by 10, including 6 on the offensive glass. Check
Pacers make a faux comeback, getting close enough to see where the hope dies, but not really close enough to threaten – The Pacers climbed to within three in third, then fell back down by 11. Hope was still alive until two scoreless minutes in the fourth left them down 12 with 3:48 to go. Check
Offensive stagnation and incompetence spelled their doom – The Pacers Offensive Efficiency was a putrid 90. Sadly, that’s not even horrible by this team’s standards. It does appear that they did choose the lesser used Option B – Turnovers as their means of achieving no achievement. Twenty turnovers mortally wounded their hopes of success at the offensive end, and their typical passivity killed them off. Indiana sits well towards the bottom in points in the paint per game at 37, but they could only wheedle their way to 16 points down there tonight. Checkity-Check-Check-Check
I could talk about some other stuff, but really, is there any reason to waste any more of our time on this game?
Oh, and One Other Thing
Look, I know T.J. has played well the last two games, but nothing has really changed. Unless A.J.’s injury is more serious than it appears – granted, a common occurrence with the Pacers – then Earl’s return will result in Ford’s return to the bench. Watson was playing relatively well (“relatively” being the operative word), and he’s been good for Roy Hibbert. There’s no reason to believe that A.J. will be sent to the bench, so, ya know, seeya, T.J.
Some argue that he should play in order to showcase him for a trade. I’m sorry, but this is silly. There isn’t in a GM in the league that will look at Ford over the next two games – four in total before the February 18th trading deadline – and say, “Wow! I was wrong about this guy. Let’s give the Pacers what they want (expiring contracts, prospects) and get him!” The league knows exactly what T.J.’s game is. They know his strengths and weaknesses. “Showcasing” players for trades is really, in my opinion, a figment of the imagination of fans and the media.
The only time that seeing players before a trade is of some value is when you’re trying to prove the guy is healthy. Ford was perfectly healthy when he fell out of the rotation, so that is not the case here. If someone is willing to give us what we want for Ford, then they will whether he plays the next two games or not. Or, more accurately, no one is going to make a sensible trade with us for T.J., regardless of whether he plays or not.
Been There, Done That: By The Numbers
Yeah, I think I might have found a slight problem with the Pacers’ decision loop.