West's touchdown pass to Green didn't shock me . It was just...
Game #62 Recap – Told ya
Indiana Pacers 114 – Denver Nuggets 122
As I said yesterday, there wasn’t much to look forward to in last night’s game. Sure, the score looks better than the twin 23-point losses from earlier this week, but in some ways, this may have been worse.
I’ m reminded of an old Far Side panel set on the plains of Africa. In the foreground, there are two men in safari gear. One man is lying on the ground, pith helmet askew, apparently dazed, while the other stands over him, arms akimbo. A rhinocerous is wandering away through the savannah grass. The caption says simply, “If he had respected you more as an enemy, he would have done more than slap you in the face.”
I would be shocked – shocked, I tell you – if anyone playing for the Nuggets last night thought for one nanosecond that they might lose that game. They mostly drifted through the game, occasionally paying attention long enough to snuff the Pacers. The Nuggets won this game with spurts.
- A 13-3 run in the first to make it 20-11.
- An 18-4 run bridging the first and second quarters to make it 44-28.
- A 13-2 run late in the third to make it 97-79.
All that was done in about 11 and a half minutes of clock time. While I’m sure the Pacers, to varying degrees, thought they might be able to steal this one, particularly after a McRoberts slam cut the lead to 82-76, I seriously doubt any of those feelings were held with anything approaching conviction.
Last night was pretty much extended garbage time. The only reason I’m not telling you about how last night was the Pacers’ 26th double digit loss of the season, which is the third most in franchise history, is because Denver couldn’t be bothered to pay attention for even the majority of the game. Even so, it took a 10-0 run by the Pacers in the last two minutes of the game to get this to single digits. This was accomplished against a Nugget lineup featuring Johan Petro, Malik Allen, Anthony Carter, Joey Graham, and J.R. Smith.
At one point last night, I thought to myself, “Good lord, how bad has it gotten that this performance actually feels competitive?”
- Danny’s still a pretty good player, but it doesn’t matter – Since the break, Danny has returned to form, averaging 25.6 points and over 5 boards, but, much more importantly, shooting .481-.431-.918 (FG-3-FT). Unfortunately, the team is 2-8. Is this damning evidence of Danny’s deficiencies? No. The rest of the team is just that bad.
- Junior looks Done, and it does matter – Mike Dunleavy has been nothing short of awful since the first few games after his return. His shot has abandoned him, he is completely out of sync with his teammates, and he is glacially slow. In fact, PETA has filed a protest against the Pacers for making him guard J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony last night. I normally find PETA overwrought, but that was alarmingly reminiscent of clubbing baby seals.
- If T.J. sees Slick Leonard holding a hockey stick, he should probably go the other way – Pacer color commentator and icon, Bobby “Slick” Leonard is not a fan of T.J. Ford. Tuesday night, Slick expressed his disgust over T.J.’s coasting and joking around with Laker players during the fourth quarter of that debacle. In the two games since then, he’s been quick to note every time T.J. makes a mistake, particularly highlighting Ford’s somewhat lackadaisical defense. T.J. might want to touch base with former Pacer Bob Netolicky to understand what Slick’s wrath might entail.
Radio Killed the Video Star
Back in January, I started watching the Pacer broadcasts with the sound turned down, opting instead to listen to the radio broadcast featuring Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard. While I like the TV announcers, Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner, and love the work that Clark Kellogg brings, I must say that this was the right decision. You simply cannot convince me that there is a better radio team than Mark & Slick.
Boyle is without peer on play-by-play, clear, concise, professional. Plus, his years of working solo have given him a fantastic sense of timing, allowing him to interject his quick wit into the game.
Slick is perfect for a local color commentator – experienced, enthusiastic, and tons of basketball knowledge, and the perfect touch on allowing his love for Indiana and the Pacers to bleed into his work without deluging it as many do.
I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that I will amost certainly cry the day this team is no longer doing Pacer games.
I’ve taken to tweeting (@toothpicksray) some of the more interesting comments, reactions, and anecdotes as they occur, but I think I want to try to bring some of their wisdom to 8p9s, if I can. Please bear with me, as these will be paraphrases, not exact transcripts. As a taste, here was the most striking one from last nights game:
Mark – “Dahntay (Jones) is a good player, but after watching him each and every game this season, I am bewildered as to how he got the reputation as a good defensive player.”
Slick – “Yup.”
The conversation continues, commenting that he’s clearly not even the best defensive player on this team. That distinction, they said (and I agree), belongs to Brandon Rush. After that was agreed, Mark ventures:
Mark – “Even Danny…Danny Granger…when he puts his mind to it, can shut down…is a better defender.”
Slick – “Well, when you can take the ‘when he puts his mind to it’ part out, we’ll talk.”
Mark – “Well…yeah.”
(In all honesty, I may have Mark and Slick’s roles reversed in the Danny part, but the riff is accurate.)
Last night, the Pacers played Ralph to Denver’s Sam, trying to sneak out a win only to have Denver wake from their slumber long enough to spank us. Well, it looks like Phoenix is clocking in for tonight’s game.