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Blog Entry

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

Posted on: April 23, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 6:53 pm
Posted by Royce Young

With the Pacers holding an 18-point fourth quarter lead over the Bulls, everyone inside Conseco Fieldhouse could feel it coming -- half of those being Chicago fans. You knew this game wasn't over. Not with these Bulls. More importantly, not with these Pacers.

Chicago ripped off a 13-1 run the last four minutes to cut Indiana's lead to one with 15 seconds left and it just looked like deja vu. The Pacers were about to somehow, someway, give away another game to the Bulls and in turn, close the series. It would've been in a new way too -- not rebounding or late execution to blame as much as the 12 missed free throws.

This time, though, the Pacers did just enough. And I mean that. Just enough. After Danny Granger drilled two from the line, Indiana kept the ball away from Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver instead of forcing Carlos Boozer to attempt a game-tying 3 with a few seconds left. He missed and, finally, the Pacers took a game.

Here's the funny thing about this game, at least to me: It was pretty much the exact same game as the first three. The Bulls didn't play well, the Pacers did and Indiana had a lead in the fourth quarter with a good chance to win. The only difference on Saturday, is that, for once, the Pacers actually finished with more points on the board.

Don't underestimate the importance of that either. No, they aren't winning this series and probably won't take another game, but hanging on for a win really says something about them. They played virtually the same game, except this time, they won. That's maturation. That's development. That's important.

It's not like the Pacers did a whole lot better in crunch time, though. They still just scored seven points the last five minutes with only one basket. The Bulls still almost came back from the dead to break Indy's heart. Two things that changed for them:

1) The hole Chicago fell in was a bit too deep. Down 16 in the last four minutes is a pretty tall mountain to climb. (However, how bad is it for the Pacers when absolutely NO ONE was convinced they had this thing won when they were up 16 with four minutes left. When does that ever happen?)

2) The Pacers made a couple big plays. The biggest was probably Darren Collison's block of Rose at the rim with 1:13 left. Rose would've cut Indy's lead to just three with a minute left, but instead the Pacers had the opportunity to run off 24 very important seconds. 

And there were subtle signs that this game might be different. A Kyle Korver 3 was disallowed after review for being after the shot clock expired, and later, Korver air-balled a 3 with 4:40 left. The previous three games, Korver had hit a number of big shots to sink Indiana. In Game 4, the two big ones he had either didn't count, or didn't even touch iron.

Because, as I wrote after Game 2, it's gotten to the point where Korver sort of has to carry the Chicago offense in late-game situations. That sounds crazy, but in this game, Rose actually missed 10 consecutive shots before making a layup. After a 4-18 effort in Game 3, he went just 6-22 and 1-9 from 3. He did a much better job this time around of involving teammates (10 assists) but there's just no denying that Rose hasn't been the Derrick Rose the past few games that will win the MVP.

Either someone else has to step up with a couple key buckets -- i.e. Korver -- or Rose has to play wonderfully -- i.e. Games 1 and 2. That's the position the Bulls have put themselves in so far in this series. Maybe it's actually a good thing they get another shot to work some of this stuff out before it gets serious against either Atlanta or Orlando.

But, back to the Pacers. This is big for them. Maybe this means Frank Vogel gets the interim tag taken off. Maybe this encourages the front office to spend a little this summer. Maybe this gives the team a lift and some momentum into next season. Don't underestimate the value of winning a game like this, even if it just delays the inevitable. Not only would blowing an 18-point lead be something devastating, but getting swept in a series where there was a real chance to win not just one, not two or three but all four games, would be difficult to swallow.

The Pacers were never given a shot coming in. There was no reason to give them one. They entered the postseason eight games under .500 and were playing the team with the best record in basketball. But Indiana has scrapped its way to a win. It's a bit overdue and definitely a little late, but there's no denying it ... it's pretty important.

Since: Feb 4, 2010
Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:25 am

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

Do you even watch the games? Rose gets hammered anytime he goes in the paint (and he does that a lot) he has earned most of those free throws. Some of the calls were a little iffy, but that comes with every game, the Pacers got some calls their way too.

And only 16 of their 82 games were against teams from their division. They won 15 of them, not a huge surprize. Take all of those away, they still win 47. And those 47 wins include wins against the Lakers, 3 against the Heat, 2 against the Celtics, Thunder, Spurs, the Bulls have beaten all of the other contenders, and have proven that they are elite.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: April 24, 2011 1:06 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: April 23, 2011 11:02 pm

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

If Rose doesn't sprain his ankle, the Pacers lose this game.  It's that simple.

And if Rose doesn't shoot 49 free throws to the Pacers 62 in the first three games, the Bulls would be down 3-1. It's that simple. Combine the 4 games and the average margin is 93-90 Bulls. The Bulls are not that good and it's not hard to see. They only have the best record in the NBA because they played in the worst division. The 2nd best team was the Pacers who currently have a record of 38-48 and they've taken the Bulls to the brink every single game. Bulls suck dude and can barely scrape by the Pacers despite the refs help. It only took Rose averaging 16 free throw attempts in the first 3 games to win. Says it all.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2011 10:52 pm

Indiana Gets Lucky

If Rose doesn't sprain his ankle, the Pacers lose this game.  It's that simple. 

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:33 pm

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

Royce, what a horrible angle to story.  You are right, why didn't they just do us all a favor and lose?  Why even try?   I mean that is what I tell my kids all the time.  "When it is all stacked against you, just quit"  Isn't that what you want Royce?  We should just have an entire country of people who quit when it is tough.  Dang Royce I hope that you have better advice for your kids if you have any because with this loser mentality they will certainly fail in life.  And I cannot afford to help prop up this system in our coutnry with even more quiters that we have now.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2011 6:58 pm

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

No sweep for the Pacers, hope for the Sixers ?

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: April 23, 2011 6:22 pm

Finally, Indiana holds on -- but just barely

Did the Pacers was trying their best to give the game away to Chicago or what? I can't believe it. 4 straight games in a row, they play basketball for 46 minutes and the last 2 minutes, they decide to hold on to the ball and run the clock. Bad bad bad coaching job again for the Pacers. It just shows, inexperience counts. If the game had 15 more seconds on the clock, the Pacers would have been history. Once again, Bird needs to be on the Pacer bench and do some coaching as the Pacer coach once again had a brain freeze, unbelievable. The Pacers should have won this game by 20 points.

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