Monday, February 05, 2007

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Warriors

Al, Jack, and Saras come to town with the Golden State Warriors a mere three weeks since being traded by the Pacers. By all accounts, the former Pacers are real happy with their new team and the style of play. Although the results haven't been there for the Warriors going 3-5 since the deal. In anticipation of the former Pacers' return, Mark Montieth has an article regarding the complaint most ex-Pacers share, Rick Carlisle's offensive system. We've heard the complaint from the players who left town, so this article balances the story with comments from Walsh, Carlisle, Darrell Armstrong, and Jermaine O'Neal that bring forth a view of players who wanted to run but weren't willing to do the hard work that comes along with a running offense.

Carlisle still wants his players to run off opponents' missed shots, and he still devotes time to it in practice. But players must get defensive stops, rebound and sprint down court if they want easy points.

Walsh said that wasn't happening. "I went to practices," Walsh said. "I thought we wanted to run, but I didn't see our players running. It wasn't like I didn't see Rick trying to push it forward. I know there's some idea we should blame it on the coach, but I watched it. I didn't see the players getting out and running."

Darrell Armstrong's take on the situation:
The Pacers' most energetic player, veteran guard Darrell Armstrong, has played on up-tempo teams and knows the sacrifices that have to be made. He wasn't seeing them, either. Running isn't easy," he said. "Running is a lot of discipline. You have to be willing to hit that sideline (and rest) sometimes. It's one thing to do it in practice, but can you do it when the lights come on?"
Carlisle also mentions the need to run the ball through the Pacers' franchise player:

The other half of the offensive equation is Carlisle's desire to run the offense through his leading scorer and only All-Star, O'Neal. When the Pacers run, O'Neal tends to get left behind, something he and Carlisle object to strenuously.

"We have a responsibility to play through our franchise player," Carlisle said. "If we're running up and down the court shooting jump shots, Jermaine O'Neal doesn't touch the ball as much."

JO seems to understand the method to Carlisle's madness now:

That's why O'Neal is on board with Carlisle's system, and with the trade. Harrington and Jackson were close friends, but O'Neal is happier with the revised roster.

"The trade is going to benefit me a lot," O'Neal said. "I guess sometimes you have to sacrifice friendships to gain in other areas. (The new players) do a lot of different things we didn't have before."

Obviously, Rick Carlisle can coach in this league but no one can have success unless the whole team buys into what the coach is selling. There's no doubt Carlisle lost several players earlier in the year, including a few still on the roster. His words were falling on deaf ears and it was time to change either the players or the coach. Larry Joe Legend and Walsh stuck with the coach and the trade shook up the roster enough to get everybody back on the same page.

Other notes: Check out Golden State of Mind for everything you need to know about the Warriors...The Pacer Notebook mentions that the Pacers should everyone on the roster available for Monday's game against Golden State. David Harrison and Keith McLeod returned on Saturday night and Troy Murphy (with mask) and Marquis Daniels plan to be back against the Warriors. This is the first time in a long time that everyone has been available. It will be interesting to see who is inactive for the game. I imagine Oriene Greene, Maceo Baston, and probably Shawne Williams will stay out of uni...The Fieldhouse should be buzzing since the game will follow the downtown victory celebration for the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts!

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from