Game 1 vs. Charlotte Bobcats
The Pacers had a fabulous opening night on the road, taking over the game in the second half to win, 106-99. Here are a few observations from tonight's action:
- First of all, the Pacers were fun to watch tonight. The uptempo pace of play is still a work in progress, but looked good most of the night. There were several ugly moments in the first half, especially a stretch in the second quarter when the blue and gold committed several junior high level turnovers. But, they were working hard in the hustle areas on the boards and defense which kept them in the game.
- Not a text book win for the Pacers. Al Harrington spent much of the first three quarters on the bench. JO had to weather a rough shooting start and foul trouble during the first half. JO impressed by coming out in the second half and taking over stretches to finish with 20 points. Al finished off the game playing smart and hitting the glass, including 6 offensive rebounds. These two guys were frustrated but ended up playing like pro's pros down the stretch.
- What happens in preseason, stays in preseason. Saras was nothing short of spectacular coming off the bench tonight. He finished with an efficient 20 points on 5-6 shooting including 2-2 from behind the arc. He played well with Armstrong and only had one turnover. His play was huge in keeping the Pacers within striking distance. Speaking of DA, he provided plenty of spark as advertised (and a few key 3-balls).
- Stephen Jackson played a solid game the whole way through. He didn't have a great shooting night but was able to get to the line, finishing with 18 points. He also played solid on the definsive end scrounging up 4 steals. More importantly you only knew he was on the court when he was making a play. There were no emotional outburst, although it appeared he and Carlisle had a quick, yet heated exchange heading into a time out. Now Jack needs to back up this effort on Friday and bring it consistently.
- The bench had 48 points and allowed all kinds of flexibility with the starters nursing foul trouble. There is suddenly a wealth of guys willing to do the dirty work, hit the boards, take a charge, play tough D. Now if they could find another consistent shooter or two.
- Must mention a major turning point in the game when Danny Granger rose to challenge a break away dunk by Gerald Wallace. The flagrant foul ended Wallace's night which was huge. Wallace was wreaking havoc on the defensive end and providing plenty of offense. Though the play was ugly, I commend Granger for never giving up on it and this may actually help him in the future because players will know if he's on the floor he's coming, ala Tayshaun Prince and Reggie. When Granger develops a consistent outside shot he will have Pippen's game.
- The start of the game looked odd on TV. They needed a fog advisory after the pregame fireworks. Games from that Charlotte arena always seem a little dark anyway and then with the fog it looked like the Kelly Tripuka era Pistons' games from the Silverdome.
- The "You think Michael train in the pool" LeBron ad, kills me every time.
- 1-0 is so much better than 0-1. Next game at home against the Hornets on Friday.