Pacers 101, Pistons 90: Not Too 'Bad'
The Pacers played arguably their most complete game of the year beating the Pistons, 101-90. By playing solid defenes and minimizing the turnovers, the Pacers withstood every challenge the Pistons could throw at them. Jamaal Tinsley carried the offense through the third quarter and then turned it over to JO to finish off the Pistons for good. As the go-to-guy down the stretch, JO hit several key baskets in the paint and all of his free throws to eventually kill the will of the Pistons. Other Pistons vs. Pacers observations:
- This was a big game for the Pacers coming off a trying past four days. The importance of this game showed in the tight playing rotation, relying on the starters to play the bulk of the minutes. Of course, their solid play had a lot to do with it too.
- Speaking of playing rotations, Shawne Williams was close to heading to Alburquerque for some time in the D-League when he was forced into action against Chicago. His solid play earned him more active roster status tonight and some critical playing time. His box line doesn't show anything but gave some solid minutes, including a great pass on a fast break that led Danny Granger to the hoop and eventually the free throw line. In light of how Rick Carlisle used, or should I say didn't use, Tayshaun Prince in his rookie year in Detroit, I was interested to see if Shawne would get any meaningful minutes again. Ironically, there he was playing against Tayshaun Prince tonight.
- The Pistons/Pacers games are still excuses for the media to analyze the brawl impact and the rivalry between the teams. The Indy Star and Detroit News (which Pacer Pundit took exception to) both had articles on the brawl today. I don't get it, so I guess I'm with Detroit Bad Boys on this one. How many ways are there to look at the same thing? There really isn't any juice left in the story with Artest and Ben Wallace no longer involved. It's really hard to work up a lather over the Pistons this year. Their coach, Flip Saunders is benign, not one to stir up the opponent. Chauncy Billups and Rip Hamilton certainly aren't "bad boys" and play a beautiful brand of baskteball. Tayshaun Prince? Seems like a pretty solid dude and a sick talent. Rasheed Wallace may still draw some smack from fans but the guy and his antics have become a caricature of late, far more comedic than contemptible. So until the Pacers can get back into a playoff series against the Pistons there's not much to bring an edge to the match up. These days the only "bad boys" in Detroit are in the stands pounding beers.
- Al Harrington and Jermaine O'Neal ran the floor in the sweet, all-white Nike Air Force 1's as part of the Air Force 1 25 year celebration.
(Photos: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)