Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cornrows on the Move to Sports Blog Nation

Cornrows is officially joining the Sports Blog Nation network at where I'm excited to add my name to some of the best NBA bloggers around. In addition to the delivering the content you expect, the SB Nation sites make it extremely easy to give readers a voice and join in the discussion. I'm looking forward to building a strong Pacers community, so come on over and join the fray.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Line of the Night 2/15/07

Some notable LoNny regulars were on display last night, finishing up the pre-All-Star break portion of the season. You had Dirk, T-Mac, Kobe and LeBron playing in the TNT Thursday nighters. Yes, they all led their teams statistically, but none matched the mind boggling lines we normally expect. Considering T-Mac and Kobe lost, their lines were diminished, leaving Dirk and LeBron. Dirk's line was quite ordinary, so that left the LoNny in the hands of LeBron. He did lead his team to a win over the Lakers with 38 points. It really is a no brainer, but with 0 in the 3-ball column I had to hunt for a better option, yet none existed.

LeBron James3843030

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pacers 114, Grizzlies 104: Win - Pacers Style

Let's see, sluggish start, falling behind early? Check. Battle back, stay within ten points at the half? Check. Come out with a strong third quarter to take the lead? Check. Get strong minutes from the bench? Check. Get 20 and 10 from your All-Star forward? Check.

When the Pacers win, that's how they roll and that's just what happened on Wednesday night when the Pacers beat the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, 114-104. I didn't see the game but from reading the recaps, it sounds like a game I've seen play out at least 20 times in prior games. Other thoughts:
  • Danny Granger didn't start but played well, appearing fine after his scary fall against the Clippers. His 21 points led a bench brigade that outscored the starters.
  • Shawne Williams started in Granger's place but only played six minutes.
  • The Pacers finally had a full compliment of players with Darrell Armstrong back from his one game suspension.
  • Marquis Daniels had another solid night off the bench. Dare I say he's becoming reliable.
  • The Pacers head into the All-Star break feeling pretty good (again). They're in the two steps forward portion of the two steps forward, one step back dance they've been performing all year.
  • I'd really feel good about the Pacers overcoming their latest step back and moving forward if it wasn't for the 10,000 pound elephant sitting in the corner of the locker room, that being the Tinsley/Daniels situation with the local authorities.
  • Here's to a nice quiet All-Star break with no off-court headlines involving the blue and gold. Is it too much to ask for everyone (save JO on Sunday) taking it easy, getting some rest so they come back healthy and ready to attack their schedule after the break? I don't think so.

Line of the Night 2/14/07

Stephen Jackson showed off all of his game's assets last night, leading the Warriors to an easy win over the Knicks

Stephen Jackson3628114

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Line of the Night 2/13/07

T-Mac made LoNny a believer by filling his line with crooked numbers and W for Rockets win over the Kings.

Tracy McGrady28612332

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Line of the Night 2/12/07

LoNny loves the 3-ball and J.R. Smith delivered in the Nuggets win over the Warriors.

J.R. Smith2841006

Road Blog

Checking in from the road to pass on some links today.

Loy's Place has posted the Carnival of the NBA #41 - All-Star Edition. Take a trip down All-Star memory lane and tap into all of the NBA knowledge you can handle in one tidy post.

Don't forget to drop by About:Basketball to check out the Central Division reports and NBA roundtable. The place is heatin' up!

Deon "Dino" Wilford was found guilty of battery for running into Stephen Jackson with his car outside Club Rio. Jack and Tinsley testified and the fact that their testimony held up may be a good sign for Jack when he goes to court in April. Of course, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Kravitz is wondering where the fans are for Pacers games. Naturally a factor is the Tinsley/Daniels 8 Seconds Saloon situation. When are we going to hear more about this? At this point, I'm assuming major charges are in the offing and with the high profile nature of the case, the prosecutors are just making sure the charges are solid. If nothing ends up coming from this incident then Tinsley has some damages to collect from someone because he's been persecuted publicly and left swinging in the wind for a week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Line of the Night 2/11/07

Kirk Hinrich gets the LoNny nod for leading the Bull to a win in Phoenix by keeping his team from imploding in the midst of a patented Suns second half run.

Kirk Hinrich2954025

Pacer 94, Clippers 80: Appreciate the W

Full flight out of O'Hare, middle seat three rows from the back, late take-off, 4 plus hours in the air. My day wasn't going real well. The way the Pacers have been playing lately I wasn't too unhappy about missing their Sunday afternoon game against the Clippers.

I was somewhere over Nebraska when the game tipped. Do I have a problem if I noted that fact while bathing in misery sandwiched between two unknown travel companions? By the time we dropped down at SFO, picked up my baggage and shuttled to my hotel, the game was over.

Once in my room I turned on the TV to find the score. For me, the Pacers-Clips game boiled down to a hand of black jack when the dealer has 14 and is flipping himself a card. The score scroll on the bottom of the screen was dealing and hooray, the dealer busted showing me that the Pacers halted a home losing streak with a 94-80 win over the visiting Clippers.

There was good news with Mike Dunleavy putting a hurtin' on his father with another solid shooting game and 20 points. Marquis Daniels finally returned, contributing 14 points while his off-court partner in crime (ALLEGED) dished 15 assists. Oh, and JO was did his 21 point , 8 rebs, 4 blocks thing. Darrell Armstrong missed the game serving a one game suspension for his double-T histrionics against the Nuggets.

From all appearances, it was a solid day at the Fieldhouse. But there was also some disconcerting news regarding Danny Granger. According to reports, he fell on his neck and had to be taken to the hospital for further examination. With Daniels back, it looked like the Pacers were finally at full ready to go forward at full strength, but it only lasted three quarters. The early report indicates Granger was able to move his arms and legs so hopefully he'll have a quick recovery from the fall.

The Pacers play the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, their last game prior to the All-Star break.

Line of the Night 2/10/07

Mehmet Okur filled up his line as the Jazz made a late run to end up beating the Knicks in OT.

Mehmet Okur2965124

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Clippers

The Pacers take on the LA Clippers at the Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon. Mike Dunleavy, Jr. will be facing his pop who will be on the sidelines coaching the Clippers. Here is Bruno's preview with comments from the Pacers on turning things around.

Pacers Notebook has some interesting tidbits, as usual. First of all, Darrell Armstrong continued to voice his displeasure with the referees after snapping on the court against the Nuggets.
"I feel like this team, the way the referees call it, we get (expletive) every night," Armstrong said. "I'm going to be honest, it seems like the referees are calling our games like the brawl team (2004-05). We're not that team that was in the brawl. We're the 2006-07 team. It's just sad because we get treated like that. We get a lot of bad calls home and away. Then we can't talk to the officials the right way."
I feel what DA is saying. I always thought it was just Stephen Jackson who's lack of respect from the referees filtered through the rest of the team. But Jack is gone and even a six time All-Star rarely gets a benefit call. I hate this conversation and it isn't an excuse, but as I said, I feel what DA is saying.

Speaking of JO,his knee may limit his All-Star activities. I imagine there is a deadline for notifying the league if you plan to sit out, so we'll stay tuned later in the week.

Cornrows is off for a West Coast roadie starting tomorrow and going through the All-Star break. Blogging will be light at times, especially through Wednesday of the upcoming week.

Line of the Night 2/9/07

Zach Randolph was giving the Bobcats fits all night as he led the Blazers to a win.

Zach Randolph4093101

Friday, February 09, 2007

Nuggets 102, Pacers 95: Pacers Need to Melo Out

Did I say these teams were mirror images of each other? The Nuggets and Pacers both showed flashes of brilliance and disappointment much like they have throughout the year. The teams took turns going on scoring runs, but the Nuggs made their last run hold to leave town with a 102-95 win. The Pacers lost their cool and drew five technical fouls due to the nine foul and 30 free throw (30!) differential. Rick Carlisle and Darrell Armstrong were both tossed after snapping and picking up double-techs. Jeff Foster had the other technical for complaining about a foul.

  • The way the game played out, the Pacers would've been in much better shape had they kept their cool. The Nuggs appeared poised to run the Pacers out of the gym two or three times and during those runs the T's made it worse. But these are the Nuggets and they kept allowing the Pacers back in the game. A little poise may have made the difference in the end.
  • Carmelo Anthony made 12-13 free throws and finished the game with 34 points to carry the Nuggs.
  • Making the loss more shameful for the Pacers is the fact that Allen Iverson and Marcus Camby did not play for Denver. Another golden opportunity the Pacers failed to seize when given the chance.
  • What looked like a favorable home schedule that could catapult the Pacers to the upper echelon of the East has become a nightmare. Three straight home losses with the LA Clippers coming to town is frustrating to take. Despite the Clippers recent road woes, they remain a dangerous team.
  • Darrell Armstrong went overboard when he was tossed. He had to be physically restrained and then as he stormed off the court he showed his field goal kicking form by booting one of the chairs near the Pacers' bench. It doesn't appear he hurt his foot but he could've which would've further killed the Pacers. Seemed quite out of character for DA this year since he's rarely seen without a smile and has given the team a level-headed veteran presencce.
  • Mike Dunleavy was a bright spot for the Pacers. He scored 23 points with 11 rebounds and more importantly the points came from a solid shooting night. Mike D. made 9-15 field goal attempts including 3-7 from 3 land.
  • Jamaal Tinsley carried over his poor shooting from Wednesday night ending the game tonight making 3-16 FGAs.

(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Line of the Night 2/8/07

David West had a chunky double-double, but the LoNny nod goes to 'Sheed for filling up all the stat buckets with treats for the kids as the Pistons rolled the Lakers.

Rasheed Wallace18102333

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Nuggets

The Pacers play the Western Conference version of themselves on Friday night when the Denver Nuggets come to the Fieldhouse. I'm not saying they have equal talent, but stacked up against the talent within their respective conferences they are comparable. How do they compare?
  • Both teams may not be championship caliber but they can beat any team in the league on a given night.
  • Both teams made a complete make-over trade that should improve their playoff positioning.
  • Both teams have All-Star leaders that often straddle the line between intense and combustible.
  • Both teams can look fabulous for a couple of games and then look clueless the next.
  • Both teams have great players dealing with nagging injuries that have kept the team from firing on all cylinders long enough to develop a winning rhythm.
  • Both teams have had high profile incidents shine a negative light on key players.

Man, these teams are more alike than I thought when I began this post. Needless to say, it's anyone's guess what will happen during Friday night's game. Here is Bruno's preview with comments about Troy Murphy getting comfortable with his role. Hey, there's some good news.

Jermaine O'Neal appears set to return after missing Wednesday night's game a bum knee. The Pacers catch a break knowing that Allen Iverson did not travel with the Nuggs so he can tend to an injured ankle. A.I. has had some memorable nights in the Fieldhouse so I'm sure no one in the Pacers' backcourt is upset that they won't have to chase Iverson around all night. For more info on the Nuggets, check out the Nugg Doctor. He's got the cure for what ails all Nugg fans.

Talk of the Town

Here is the Indy Star story from this morning's paper on the 8 Seconds Saloon situation. The disgusted fan reaction is covered. We also learn that the bar manager invovled, Mark Nicholson, is described by a colleague as an "easy, quiet guy -- not one of those guys who goes looking for a fight." Of course, the 8 Seconds/Tremors combo has had about 40 police calls in the past 12 months. Who would ever think that a combo country bar/hip hop club could create problems?Other items:

  • The bar doesn't have video of the incident. Seems strange that a big club like that wouldn't have video covering the whole patron area.
  • The whole thing started with a guy trying to steal fur coats from the coat check room which, by the way, creates comical visuals. Somehow this guy wasn't caught. Anyway, this is how the Pacers' are described to have become involved.
    "Some words were exchanged" between bar management and the Pacers, Scheffel said. Nicholson told police that "Mr. Tinsley, with a closed fist, struck him on the left side of the head, knocking him to his knees. He stated at that time Mr. Daniels and Mr. King also began to use closed fists, striking him in the face. He stated he was unable to defend himself."
    Two unidentified witnesses "felt that (Nicholson's) life was in danger," according to the police report, and they helped pull Tinsley and Daniels from him. The report noted that the manager "had a severed earlobe and that his jaw appeared to be fractured."
  • The Marion County prosecutor's investigations is in full swing.
    The investigation, originally assigned to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detectives, was joined late Wednesday by the Marion County grand jury, a division of the Marion County prosecutor's office. Citing grand jury secrecy laws, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi would not say why the grand jury was involved. He noted that unlike police investigators, "the grand jury has the ability to issue subpoenas and compel sworn testimony from all of the witnesses."
  • Keith McCleod's cousin Jeremy King lost a tooth so at least one person in the Pacers' group was involved in a physical altercation. King is alleged to have joined Tinsley and Daniels in pounding on Nicholson.
  • With the grand jury involved this story will have plenty of legs and more updates to come.

Line of the Night 2/7/07

Dirk filled all the stat buckets with crooked numbers as the Mavs ran past the Grizzlies.

Dirk Nowitzki38106432

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The More Things Change...Jack and Artest Find Off-Court Headlines Too

No matter how hard the Pacers try to move forward and change the image attached with the team, they can't seem to shake their past problems. Whether it is current players repeating stupid mistakes or former players in the new with legal issues, the Pacers name remains attached. Over the past couple of days three incidents have reopened old wounds. Here's a recap:
  • On Tuesday, Ron Artest was accused of animal cruelty. He's done what he does best when backed into a corner, come out talking and talking and talking some more until you end up completely confused or feeling sorry for the guy. I give the news report credit for not mentioning the Palace Brawl. It isn't fair to associate Ronnie with the Pacers anymore but he is only one calendar year removed from being a Pacer, so even if it's a relief that he's not in Indy anymore, the Pacers are still close to any story on Artest.
  • Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Keith McCleod ran into trouble at a west side bar in the early morning hours. Opened up old wounds from the Club Rio Trio since the remaining two Pacers from the CRT were involved (allegedly).
  • Ironically, as the 8 Seconds Saloon story broke, Stephen Jackson was having a pre-trial hearing for the charges against him from the Club Rio melee. Jack was not actually in court but his trial date was set for a Golden State off day on April 12th. The trial for Deon "Dino" Williams will begin next Monday. Williams waived his right for a jury trial and will be tried by a judge instead.

Supersonics 103, Pacers 102: 8 Seconds To Lose

There was a bit of poetic justice to the finish of the Pacers' 103-102 loss to the Supersonics on Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, Jamaal Tinsley helped bring the 8 Seconds Saloon to the nation's sporting conscience with accusations that he pummeled a bar manager. With the Pacers down one late in the fourth quarter, Jamaal Tinsley began his drive for the game winner with 8 seconds left on the clock. He was able to work his way into the lane for an open leaner with 5 seconds to go, but the shot was long. Three put backs couldn't find their way in the hoop and the Pacers were left with a horrible loss to match their equally horrible day. Other thoughts:

  • Jermaine O'Neal did not play when he showed up with swelling in his left knee. His absence can't be discounted with the loss since it required his teammates come up with the 20 points JO usually brings. But, against a Supersonics team that had lost 15 in a row on the road and was missing Rashard Lewis, there is no viable excuse for the loss.
  • Tinsley played pretty well for much of the game, especially in the first quarter. His decision making (insert obvious joke here) continues to confound at times, though. Let's say he has five great possesions leading to good shots for himself or a teammate but then comes down and just throws the ball away or forces a shot in the lane that isn't there. Over the course of a games five or six of those horrible possessions add up and wipe out a lot of the good he does. The fact that JT shot 26 shots tonight is stunning. Way too many for the type of game he plays. On the plus side, I don't see any damage to the knuckles that were alledged to have hit a bar manager.
  • The Pacers played their best ball in the third quarter stretching a lead to eleven points. Troy Murphy came out and hit three 3-balls in a row and ended the night with five from behind the arc. With 22 points, Murph did his part to make up for JO's absence.
  • Danny Granger had another tough night despite finishing with 18 points. His offensive game seems a little disjointed. He's not scoring in the flow of the game like he was a couple of weeks ago.
  • Ray Allen was incredible. He just kept them around the whole second half. I'm still trying to figure out why Dunleavy spent so much time guarding him.
  • Prior to the game Buckner and Denari were discussing Mike D's shooting slump. They gave the normal line about a shooter finding his stroke and having to shoot his way out of it. I'm wondering if it is a slump. I've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence that Dunleavy hasn't shot well for quite some time. With my own eyes I've seen him shoot 3-balls that curve like he has the yips or something. It was interesting that down the stretch tonight, Darrell Armstrong played with Tinsley whle Mike D sat.
  • The Pacers Pregame show stayed away from the 8 Seconds Saloon fracas which I understand since the team came out and said that they couldn't discuss the topic until they knew more about the incident. Fine, no problem. But if that's the case, why does Stacy Paetz begin her pre-game interview with Rick Carlisle by asking about the injury status of Marquis Daniels? You could see RC kind of cringe when she asked about his status and how he was doing. For the record he said they didn't have a time table for his return. Next time I suggest skipping the 'Quis update and mention in passing that he would not play.
  • The Pacers aren't going anywhere for awhile so they'll have to stew in their own mess while waiting to play again. Next up is a visit from the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Pacer Players Feeling the Heat, AGAIN!!!

I was wondering why Jamaal Tinsley's name popped up with Marquis Daniels as day-to-day on the injury report yesterday. Now we know why. Both guys are accused of beating down a bar manager at the 8 Seconds Saloon (the self-described "Largest Country Bar in the Midwest"). Now if you're wondering why these guys were at a country bar, the place is like a high school fieldhouse and includes Tremors Nightclub in the back. Occasionally they expand Tremors to take over the whole 8 Seconds bar. The stories are flying fast and furious right now and everything alleged is pretty ugly. Here are the local stories from Indy Star, WISH-TV, WTHR-TV, WRTV-TV.

The player reaction and murmurs from JMV's radio show that there's a lot of overreaction going on make the whole thing a mess. Here are the players' comments.
Jamaal Tinsley:

"I had nothing to do with this. I'm extremely upset that my name has been associated with this," said Jamaal Tinsley.
Marquis Daniels:

"I am emphatic, 100 percent, that I had nothing to do with this. We were attending a celebration party for the Colts with some of the Colts players. For my name to be included is very disappointing. I am totally innocent. Hopefully, the truth will come out," said Marquis Daniels.
Keith McCleod:

"We were all trying to get out of there. I did not see Jamaal or Marquis hit anybody. There was a scuffle going on and when we saw what was happening, we were getting out. I don't know where this other stuff came from," said Keith McLeod.
My initial reaction is that the stories on both sides are so different that this thing will have to play out a little further before passing judgement on the legal issues. If the manager has a broken jaw and a torn ear lobe then something happened. He's pointing to JT and 'Quis so something's gotta give. I'm just aggravated by these guys getting caught up in this mess. At what point do you stop staying out to the early morning hours? Obviously you can't handle it. If you can't bring yourself to stay home then mix in some security with orders to cover you up and move you out of any dicey situation. How about frequenting a place that caters to a more upscale clientele.

Enjoy the player introductions tonight, JT because the damage is done from a PR stand point. Public perception already accepts that this probably happened as the police described and Tinsley's involvement proves again he shouldn't be on the team and that LJL and Donnie Walsh should just let him go for nothing. The current reaction on the radio and message boards around town includes a lot more apathy than outrage, jokes than disgust. That type of reaction indicates more empty seats at the Fieldhouse. Hopefully the truth is on the Pacers side because they'll need a whole lot of it to come out in their favor to reverse the damage done today.
Much more to come as the story evolves.

Line of the Night 2/6/07

Ruben Patterson left plenty of goodies in his line while helping the Bucks make the Magic go poof.

Ruben Patterson2776031

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Supersonics

The Supes come to town having lost their last 15 road games, so with the Pacers' loss on Monday this shapes up as a not just a must win but also a should win game for the Pacers. In the recent past, losing a "should win" game has been a problem for the Pacers that halts any progress or momentum that seems to be building. For instance, in November, the Pacers followed up a tough loss to Chicago with a blow out loss at Boston. In late December, with a little momentum building after wins against Houston and Detroit, they lose their next game to Charlotte at home. Two steps forward one step back, never able to build up a head of steam.

Now in February, with some new faces and confidence building, they throw up a clunker against Golden State. Fine. I can live with that if they get back on track with a solid effort against a team they should beat at home. But a loss against the Supes and the team is right back where it was on day one after the trade.

Many around town are still basking in the glow of the Colts' success. The Pacers have a chance to catch the eye of a lot of fans that haven't focused on the team for a month or so. With five winnable home games over the next couple of weeks, it's now or never. The team has played at a better level over the past few weeks so now is the time to show off that progress give a attentive fan base a reason to get fired up about basketball again.

Bruno's preview has a nice look at Jermaine O'Neal's defensive prowess so far this year. As I mentioned in this post, JO's defensive credentials can't be ignored. Remarkably, he is closing in on the franchise record for blocks currently held by Rik Smits. It doesn't seem like JO has been here long enough to start rattling off franchise records. But, in his seventh season he has set two in one week when you include the number of All-Star appearances by a Pacer. JO is happy that his defensive effort if producing results.

"To me, (taking a charge) is just as good as a blocked shot because it gives us an extra possession and takes a possession away from the other guys," he said. "You've got to be able to do whatever's necessary to get the ball back. You pay for it the next day when you wake up but all in all it gives you the opportunity to take control of a game, to slow a run down, to pick up your team's run.

"It's something I think about going into every game – taking charges, blocking shots and rebounding the basketball. Scoring, I don't really think about as much and that's been the difference in my defensive play this year."

JO is playing like the franchise player he is by putting forth an effort at both ends of the court that sets a standard for the rest of his teammates to match.

Jamaal Tinsley's ankle is bothering him so he joins Marquis Daniels with a status of day-to-day. With JT's focus on games played, I plan to see him give it a go on Wednesday night.

Warriors Leave Town with W and Stories

Couple of interesting items from the Pacers Notebook after Monday night's game. Stephen Jackson hasn't sold his house yet but plans to put it on the market this summer. The resale value rose late Sunday evening when his neighbor, Tony Dungy, hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.
"It's going to be easy to sell, now," he said before scoring a season-high 36 points against the Pacers. "I'm going to use that all day."
Also, the Colts celebration festivities and parade were late starting, leading to some confusion on the streets of Indy. When the Warriors' bus and a police escort drove through downtown to the Fieldhouse, the Colts' fans thought it might be their heroes and cheered accordingly. Amongst the chaos, one of the Warriors' buses was involved in a fender bender. When an IPD officer boarded the bus, Dubs' coach Don Nelson smashed a soft ball joke out of the park with a little dig at Stephen Jackson's familiarity with IPD.
"I told Jackson to get down and keep quiet," Nelson said.

Line of the Night 2/5/07

The LoNny could go several different ways for Monday night's games, but Caron Butler gets the nod for a combination of scoring and defense in the Wizards win over the Supersonics.

Caron Butler

Monday, February 05, 2007

Warriors 113, Pacers 98: Drubbed by the Dubs

While most of Indianapolis was a few blocks away celebrating the Colts Super Bowl win, the Pacers were getting run out of the Fieldhouse by Golden State. By the time the Colts' party ended, the Pacers were down big and could never get back in the game, losing 113-98. You'd think the Warriors were playing at home or something. Al and Jack certainly know their way around the Fieldhouse and quickly reminded their fans and detractors alike, what the good times used to feel like. Other thoughts:
  • Jack came up with his game of the year, scoring 36. Inside, outside, right side, left side, Jack had it going all over the Fieldhouse.
  • Jack was also in on one of the few Pacer highlights when he was cruising in for an open layup and Darrell Armstrong (yes, DA) came from behind and swatted the ball just as it left Jack's hand. Try as he might, DA's spark didn't ignite a comeback tonight.
  • Mike Dunleavy had another poor shooting night. He seemed to come out aggressive, trying to put on a good performance against his former team. In the end his effort validated the Warriors move, at least on this night.
  • So, Al Harrington hosted a Super Bowl party at his house last night. Hmm. From the looks of things, I'd say Al took one for the team and made sure his old teammates had plenty of fun last night. The way the Pacers came out in the first half, I have to figure that was one good party.
  • Maybe like the rest of the town, the Pacers were emotionally spent today after making it through four do-or-die playoff games with the Colts. I know, they're professionals and they have a job to do. They're also human.
  • Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Jermaine O'Neal shook off his knee bruise to play and play well tonight. He finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.
  • Baron Davis DID sit out with a bruised knee but the Warriors got along without him just fine.
  • The Pacers will look to bounce back when they welcome the Seattle Supersonics to town on Wednesday.

(Photo: AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Jermaine O'Neal Doubtful for the Dubs

Just when we thought everyone was healthy, it appears that the Pacers might be heavily short-handed against Golden State tonight. According to this report, Jermaine O'Neal is doubtful for Monday night's game with a bruised knee. That must be one nasty bruise.

Line of the Night 2/4/07

Joe Johnson outscored the Colts on Super Bowl Sunday in Atlanta's OT win over the Nets. Oh, by the way, the COLTS WON THE SUPER BOWL, in case you hadn't heard.

Joe Johnson3758104

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!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Line of the Night 2/3/07

Kobe Bryant bounced back from a subpar game against the Pacers to lead the Lakers over the Wizards. Kobe also had the upper hand in a stylish duel with Gilbert Arenas.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pacers 116, Grizzlies 110: I Like Ike

Ike Diogu came up huge playing a key role in the Pacers' second half comeback win over the Grizzlies, 116-110. On a night when it appeared the Grizzlies just weren't going to miss, the Pacers hung around and tighten up on the defensive end to put the game away in the fourth quarter. More thoughts:
  • The Grizz were rested and ready for the Pacers to arrive. After beating the Lakers last night, the Pacers came out sluggish on the defensive end and gave up 62 first half points. They were lucky to only trail by six.
  • Memphis is second in the league in 3-ball percentage to Phoenix and they proved why tonight. Mike Miller and Chucky Atkins threw up some daggers from behind the arc keeping the Grizz going.
  • Midway through the third, Chris Denari mentioned that the 3-ball and free throw differential at the time was 27 points, but the Pacers only trailed by six at the time.
  • The play that really pushed the Pacers to another level was compliments of Danny Granger at the end of the third quarter. Trailing by two, Granger grabbed a rebound with eight seconds to go. He headed up court dribbling through three defenders hell bent on getting an easy shot before the buzzer. He did make an easy shot and drew the foul with 3.5 to go. Danny missed the free throw, but Ike Diogu fought for the rebound and his put back was goal tended, giving the Pacers a 91-89 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Resolve.
  • Once again, the Darrell Armstrong led unit to start the fourth quarter dialed up the defense and set the tone for taking control of the game. If not for some timely Grizz 3s the Pacers would've run and hid in the first four minutes.
  • Diogu really went to work in the fourth quarter and saw some extended minutes with JO as the game was decided. Ike scored a season-high 19 points with 9 boards. His interior moves with the ball were sweet and he made defenders pay for fouling him by making all seven of his free throws. Troy Murphy is out indefinitely with his broken nose, so Ike's minutes should rise and he looks ready to embrace the opportunity.
  • Diogu's effort earned him the Player of the Game honor from the broadcast team. Ike was huge, but it tells you what a great year Jermaine O'Neal is having when he scores 25 with 17 rebs and a couple of blocks and isn't considered the PoG.
  • Jamaal Tinsley had another nice night with 25 points and 9 assists. He unloaded a couple of annoying turnovers in the second half, but was able to make up for them in other ways. Still, if he could tighten up the loose turnovers his level of play would be remarkable right now.
  • Tins had a sweet drive in the first half, splitting a double team by dribbling the ball through Pau Gasol's legs allowing him to cruise in for an uncontested layup.
  • Pau Gasol had a nice game scoring 30 and displaying a nice array of offensive shots, but when it came to crunch time Gasol shriveled to the challenge of the Pacers defense. Trade suitors beware.
  • David Harrison suited up and played a few minutes in the first half, scoring four points. Nice return for the big fella. Keith McCleod also suited up but did not play. Along with Murphy, Marquis Daniels sat out the game again due to his knee.
  • Golden State will be in town Monday on what is expected to be the coldest day of the Winter season so far. There should be plenty of buzz inside the Fieldhouse with Al, Jack, and Saras returning with the Warriors. The TV ad pumping the game said to come see Baron Davis and Al Harrington. Jack's picture was included with a few other players but he was absent from the sales pitch. Pacer fans certainly can't complain about the team since the trade, so hopefully the former Pacers warm reception for the time in Indy. I said, hopefully.
  • Of course, if the Colts lose on Sunday everyone in town will still be shocked and unable to function properly on Monday, so the Fieldhouse could be pretty quiet.

(Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Line of the Night 2/2/07

Elton Brand found no one who could handle him in Boston and took full advantage in the Clippers win over the Celtics.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Pacers 95, Lakers 84: Super Win

After being fully immersed in Super Bowl hype week, the Pacers came out as pumped up as the rest of the city, combining a rare energetic start with a strong finish to beat the Lakers, 95-84. The Pacers have been in town all week and there's no avoiding the hype and buzz around town for the Colts' Super Bowl appearance. Souvenir stands are popping up like fireworks booths before the 4th of July. Step inside a clothing or grocery store and you're amazed at how many items they can slap a horseshoe on and deliver in blue and white. TV, radio, newspapers, Internet, there's no avoiding the hype and the city's buzz has been building and building throughout the week. Everyone in town is ready to bust through the wedge on a kickoff right now. The Pacers seemed to come out with that mentality, too. JO busted the wedge by scoring the first 13 Pacer points and sending two Laker bigs to the bench early with 2 fouls. That initial burst of energy faded but in the end the Pacers were able to dig deep and grind out a nice win in the fourth quarter. Other thoughts:
  • Kobe Bryant got to know Danny Granger quite well tonight. Granger was hounding Mamba all night, especially keeping tabs on him in the first half. In the end Kobe had 22 points on 7-25 shooting. Six of those 22 came real late in the game when Bryant was trying to produce a miracle and hit back-to-back 28 foot 3-balls. The chance for three 3s in a row ended up as a turnover and that ended the comeback dream.
  • Jamaal Tinsley and Darrell Armstrong didn't play as a tandem, but covered all of the PG minutes. They combined for a nice line with 30 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 3-balls.
  • After the Pacers' strong first quarter, the Lakers dominated the 2nd and 3rd, running at least two guys at JO every time he touched the ball. No one in purple could handle JO to that point, so this move slowed him down. After other players missed a few easy buckets in the 3rd quarter, the Pacers offense ground to a halt and the Lakers went on a run to take the lead.
  • Danny Granger finally answered the Lakers with a 3-ball. The Pacers had missed 15 3s in a row over the past two games. Mike Dunleavy followed shortly with a 3 of his own after having a few go in and out earlier in the game.
  • Every once in awhile I blurt out, "So glorious! Victorious!" Nike wins, again.
  • Lakers went on a 9-0 run late in the 3rd quarter to take a 70-63 lead into the 4th quarter.
  • The Pacers started the 4th with DA running the show while both teams' rested their stars. Army brought his trademark spark, leading a solid team defensive effort that quickly erased the Lakers' lead. The signature play was when little DA perfectly timed a block of an easy layup by Sasha Vujacic.
  • JT and JO returned to the floor with 6:40 left and the Pacers up one. Tins hit a 3-ball on the first trip down and the Pacers never looked back.
  • At 2:12 Granger hit a 3-ball that put the Pacers up 11 and then after a Tins steal, Granger finished a break opportunity for a 13 point lead with 1:30 to go. Game over...well, Kobe did rise up briefly like a horror movie villain everyone thought was dead. His two bombs from 3-land gave everyone a brief scare, but it was too little too late.
  • Troy Murphy broke his nose in the first quarter and did not return.
  • Murphy's schnoz gave Jeff Foster extended minutes and he was quite productive. Yes, he grabbed his 12 rebounds but Foster deserves special mention for his straight up defense of Lamar Odom. A few times in the fourth, Odom was isolated on Foster and ended up not getting off a good shot or turning it over outright. Odom seemed determined to prove he could take Foster to the hole but it never happened and he ended up with six turnovers.
  • David Harrison was cleared to play prior to the game but was inactive. Marquis Daniels joined DH sitting out his third game with knee tendinitis.
  • The Pacers kept pace with the Central Division leaders and now sit four games over .500 and 2.5 games out of the Central Division lead.
  • The Pacers go to Memphis Saturday night for one of only two road games in February. The Grizzlies are struggling but have had a couple of days off at home, so the Pacers will need to bring a strong effort to take home a W.

(Photo: AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Lakers

The Kobe Show is in town as the Los Angeles Lakers arrive for their annual game against the Pacers Friday night. Here is the preview from The Pacers should be fresh and ready for the Lakers, having just played one game in the past five days. Other thoughts:

  • Since the trade, the Pacers have relied on their depth to win games with various player combinations coming up big at different times. The depth may get an additional boost with the return of David Harrison and the debut of Keith McCloud. With Murphy and Foster helping JO up front, Harrison's inconsistent play shouldn't be an issue. If he can give some good minutes great, if not, try again next game.
  • Keith McCloud should find it hard to carve out many minutes. The way Darrell Armstrong has played lately, I can't imagine McCloud taking much if any of DA's time.
  • DA and Jamaal Tinsley have been playing at the same time occasionally in recent games. They seem to have developed a nice chemistry between them whether their on the court at the same time or not. In fact, in the post-game interview after the Celtics' game, Tins was gushing about DA's presence on the team and how helpful he's been to JT's game.
  • Marquis Daniels remains day-to-day but after over a week off he should be ready to go. UPDATE: Bruno updated the game preview and 'Quis is out tonight. Hmm, something more than tindinitis...
  • The Lakers handled the Pacers in their LA meeting back in December, 101-87.
  • Bruno has more on JO's All-Star selection. Surprisingly, this All-Star appearance puts JO at the top of the list for the number of All-Star appearances by a Pacer. He sounded surprised by that news, but stayed humble and said all the right things.
  • "Is that right?" O'Neal said when so informed. "You know what? This team has been good to me. The staff has been good to me. Obviously, you can't play this game without having good players around you or having a good system built for you. (Making the All-Star team) is strictly a sign of my teammates putting me in a good position to excel and a lot of it is coming from my summer workouts with the coaching staff, the training staff, the strength and conditioning staff. There's a lot of different things that go into a player making the All-Star team. You've got to do a lot of things right but you've got to have a lot of help from your teammates and coaching staff."

  • The Chair Thrower from the Palace Brawl spends a little time in the hooscow. Apparently genius missed a probation hearing and the judge was having none of it.

Line of the Night 2/1/07

Amare Stoudemire played his part well as the Suns ran away from the Spurs.

Amare Stoudemire24230010

Thursday, February 01, 2007

J.O. Earns All-Star Nod

Jermaine O'Neal took his rightful place on the Eastern Conference All-Star team when he was named as a reserve Thursday night. JO's 19.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 3 blkspg provide the statistical backing for his All-Star inclusion. But the numbers don't tell the whole story. JO has been a rock for this team, consistently stepping up to bring whatever the Pacers need. With the recent trade upsetting the roster, JO quickly gave the new faces his blessing and helped work them into the playing rotation. Prior to the trade he played for two weeks on a bum ankle but fought through the pain to play each game which made other teams account for him on the floor. JO has raised his defensive presence quite a bit this year. He currently leads the league in blocks, even ahead of block specialists like Marcus Camby and Emeka Okafor. Along with the blocks, JO is quick to jump in front of anyone driving the lane to pick up a charge which he seems to do two or three times a night. In short, JO is playing a complete game and playing it well which now is officially acknowledged as playing at an All-Star level.

Here are the 2007 NBA All-Star rosters:
F – LeBron James, ClevelandF – Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
F – Chris Bosh, TorontoF – Tim Duncan, San Antonio
C – Shaquille O’Neal, MiamiC – Yao Ming, Houston
G – Dwyane Wade, MiamiG – Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
G – Gilbert Arenas, WashingtonG – Tracy McGrady, Houston
R – Chauncey Billups, DetroitR – Carlos Boozer, Utah
R – Caron Butler, WashingtonR – Allen Iverson, Denver
R – Vince Carter, New JerseyR – Shawn Marion, Phoenix
R – Richard Hamilton, DetroitR – Steve Nash, Phoenix
R – Dwight Howard, OrlandoR – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
R – Jason Kidd, New JerseyR – Tony Parker, San Antonio
R – Jermaine O'Neal, IndianaR – Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix

Line of the Night 1/31/07

Kobe Bryant said, 'hi' to the Commish with a big night as the Lakers handed Boston their 13th straight loss. It is so bad in Boston that Kobe heard MVP chant at the end of the night...FROM BOSTON FANS!

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