Some random thoughts from the Pacers first loss of the year.
- New Year’s Eve 2011: The night Jonas Jerebko became Detlef Schrempf. As mentioned in the Post-Game Grades, the floodgates opened when David West allowed the big Swede to get two uncontested layups. Later, he was sticking threes and generally causing havoc all over. He shot 57% and scored 20 points on 14 shots while grabbing 12 boards. Just look at his shot chart. Good to see him healthy though.
- One possession in the second quarter, about 7 minutes before the half, summed up Lance’s game — and, really, his whole pro career. At the top of the key, he nearly dribbled the ball into a sloppy turnover. But he was athletic enough to beat two defenders to the loose ball. He then took one more dribble right and saw an open shooter on the wing. He stared right at him and looked like he was going to make the safe swing pass. Instead, he threw a gorgeous, rifle pass inside to Tyler Hansbrough. It was Mark Jackson-level vision delivered at Brett Farve velocity. Hansbrough caught it in rhythm, turned to go up strong and … missed the layup. All in one play, Lance looked Born Ready for the D-League and like an NBA All-Star. And none of it amounted to anything that affected the scoreboard.
- Via Pacers.com writer Conrad Brunner: “Starters outscored 46-28, outrebounded 18-12 in 1st half as Pacers trail 52-44 in Detroit.”
- Late in the first half, the Pacers hit back-to-back jumpers (West from 18 feet and a Collison with catch-and-shoot trey) followed by an acrobatic Paul George coast-to-coast layup (plus a foul) to bring some seeming respectability back to Indy’s offense. This 8-2 run reinvigorated the team headed into the locker room, which was nice. But it took these three buckets — and a 35-foot Granger three with the shot clock expiring 90 seconds later — for Indiana to raise their FG% to 36.8% for the half. Take these away three buckets in the final 3 minutes of the half and the Pacers shot 10-for-34 (29.4%) in the half. Basketball is a game of runs and all that, but if your offense spends its first 21 minutes shooting at a clip that wouldn’t even get you into the Baseball Hall of Fame — against the Detroit Pistons of all teams — there are some real problems. And they go deeper than lazy shot selection.
- The bad news is that, after a 4-for-11 shooting night, David West is now shooting 18-for-49, or 36.7%, on the season. The worse news is that this figure is barely even hurting the team’s overall shooting percentage, which now sits at a blistering 38.5% — good for league worst. And the worstest news is Indiana has yet to shoot 40% from the floor in any of its four games. (The Pacers other marquee off-season acquisition, George Hill, isn’t off to a hot start either, shooting just 39.5% through four games. In fairness, as Tim Donahue texted me during the game, “I doubt that it’s completely their fault.”)
- Pacers play-by-play announcer Chris Denari in the mid-third quarter: “This is one of those nights where Paul George reminds me of last year. Just not as aggressive as he was in games one and two.”
- New Jersey lost to the Cavs tonight to fall to 1-4 on the year. They only managed to score 33 points in the second half. This, compared to the 30 points Cleveland scored in the 3rd quarter. And the Nets will be on a back-to-back tomorrow night when they face the Pacers. That’s good news for Indiana at least.