Tag:Indiana Pacers
Posted on: March 28, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Celtics lose again, now tied with Miami for 2nd

Pacers out-execute Celtics down the stretch in key game for playoff positioning. No, you're not reading that wrong. 
Posted by Matt Moore

There can be no insinuation of a lack of effort here. This wasn't about boredom or age, or coasting. The Celtics genuinely gave a tough effort against the Pacers Monday night, but Indiana walked away with the win for one simple reason: execution. The Celtics played with energy but also played out of rhythm wildly, throwing away needless turnovers and missing key shots in a 107-100 loss to the Pacers. 

The result? The Celtics are now tied with the Miami Heat for the second overall seed in the East. They lost no ground to Chicago after the Bulls' loss to the Sixers, but Miami is now in surprisingly good position to close out the season and nab homecourt advantage in a possible 2-3 matchup. Oh, and the Lakers are now up on the Celtics by 2 games. Not that that's likely to come into play later. 

It was an up and down performance for the Celtics. In the opening minutes, they poured it on the Pacers, dropping 33 points in the opening frame. But the Pacers pushed back hard and wound up with a halftime lead after nearly getting doubled up in the second quarter. Then in the third, you know where this is going, right? The Celtics put on the effort, play great defense, land huge threes, and retake the lead. 

And then the fourth. Oh, goodness, the fourth. 

Most surprising in the 15-point quarter were the turnovers, created by and finished off of by Darren Collison. Collison was worked over for three quarters of this game, then all of a sudden Rajon Rondo got worked over by Collison. Collison flipped in-between screens, nailed pull-up Js, hit floaters, and generally dissected the Celtics. But the biggest factor in this game was what should concern the Celtics, and that was Roy Hibbert. Hibbert landed 26 points. This on a Celtics team that prides itself on the ability to shut down the opposing team's big men. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not going to help the questions about how much this team misses Kendrick Perkins

The Celtics had their chances to win the game, but missed key shots from both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Just typing that felt weird. 

Meanwhile, the Pacers got a big win as they continue to cling to the eighth spot in the East over the surging Bobcats by a game. The Pacers have little room for error, but you have to feel like this is the kind of momentum swing game that can help a team push to the finish line. They simply out-executed the reigning Eastern Conference champs. Everyone in the picture is playing for something. Monday night the Pacers and Celtics both played like it, but for once, it was the Celtics coming up short. The good news for Boston? 

It looks increasingly unlikely they'll be seeing the Pacers again this year. 
Posted on: March 12, 2011 2:11 am
Edited on: March 12, 2011 2:15 am
 

Danny Granger threatens violence against Raptors

Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger took exception to a late basket by Toronto Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa and threatened him with physicalleandro-barbosa violence after the game. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Who could forget earlier this season when Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith got so upset with Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka for scoring after a game was already decided that he called him out for violating NBA etiquette?

That was fun, but it was just an appetizer to Friday night's main course, which featured Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger threatening Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa with violence after he scored a late basket with Toronto's win already secure. 

Barbosa claimed he was doing it as retaliation for a similar shot by Pacers point guard Darren Collison when the two teams played back in January, but Granger wasn't having any of that explanation in quotes given to TheScore.com.
“If I was on him, I would have took his head off and I would have been suspended for a game for a flagrant foul. Stuff like that will set in the back of your head the next time we play Toronto. We don’t play them again but I was on him, I would have taken his neck off.”
It’s in the back of your mind next time you play Toronto. It’s unsportsmanlike and like I said, I would have took his head off and busted his lip. That’s just me, though.”
Barbosa, meanwhile, stood up for himself and his team.
“You can’t give respect if you don’t have respect. When we went over there to play I wasn’t there, but I saw on TV they made a shot and the game was over and they counted the shot so we did the same thing. They got mad, but like I said, this is NBA. You cant give respect if you don’t have respect.”
Here's video of both incidents back to back via YouTube user OutsideTheNBA.



In this case, I ride with Barbosa. I like the idea of doing whatever it takes -- short of destructive violence -- to protect an ethical or etiquette standard that you believe in, even if that means blatant, shameless retaliation. Granger comes off like a Chris Bosh "Fake Tough Guy" here, talking about all the things he would and should have done to a much smaller opponent, when in reality he did nothing except smack his gums. 

Sadly, the next round in this back-and-forth will have to wait until next year, as the Raptors and Pacers don't square off again during the 2010-2011 NBA season.

For the record, the Raptors beat the Pacers on Firday night, 108-98.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Mike Brown, Dwane Casey contenders for Indy job?

Posted by Royce Young

For a time, it sounded like the Pacers weren't going to fire coach Jim O'Brien because they didn't feel there was a suitable interim replacement on the bench. Then they fired O'Brien anyway and promoted Frank Vogel, one of the league's youngest assistants , to the head spot.

Then, after Indiana started hot under Vogel and climbed its way back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, it looked like Vogel might have a shot to have that interim tag removed. His Pacers were running with confidence, playing well, developing and most importantly, winning.

That fun appears to be coming to an end though. Indiana has lost five straight with punctuation coming from a 26-point loss at the hands of the Timberwolves. Vogel, who many didn't think was ready to handle an NBA roster, might be showing his inexperience. The team is down and he doesn't appear to know how to get them back.

So the Pacers are still looking at head coaching options with ESPN.com reporting that former Cavalier coach Mike Brown is the leading candidate along with current Laker assistant and Pacer legend Chuck Person and Dallas Maverick assistant Dwane Casey.

Casey is the interesting one of the bunch as he's seen his name come up a lot over the years. Before there was Tom Thibodeau, it was Casey who was the hot assistant. He had a short stint commanding the sideline in Minnesota, but was dismissed halfway through the 2006-07 season. He had interviews and discussions with Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta, but hasn't landing that next job.

The Pacer job is an interesting one because whoever takes control there, has to battle the fact the roster probably isn't set up to win. There's some talented scattered throughout, but it's still in need of key, complementary pieces. Sometimes coaching isn't the answer.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 2:07 pm
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Posted on: March 4, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Opposite of race: Who finishes 8th in the East?

Posted by Royce Young



Here's the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture best summed up: The Detroit Pistons, who are 22-41, still have a realistic shot at making the postseason. They're really just a five or six game winning streak away from being right in the hunt.

Save your comments about how bad these teams are for later. Yes, I know Golden State would be an Eastern playoff team right now. Yes, I know 12 teams in the West are better than the current eighth place team in the East. Yes, I know the Clippers would have a legit shot at making the postseason. The bottom of the East is really bad, alright?

That's kind of become just the way it is in the East over the years. The conference has become extremely top heavy, with three heavyweights sitting on a perch (Boston, Miami, Chicago), three other talented-but-not-there teams (Orlando, Atlanta, New York) and then the final two stragglers.

The question is, who exactly will be those stragglers? Like I said, it's kind of wide open. The Pacers looked dead in the water before firing Jim O'Brien but they won a few games and jumped right back into eighth. That's kind of the way it goes right now.

And the bigger question: Does it even matter who finishes in those last two spots? Does any of the East's bottom playoff dwellers really have a chance of pushing the Heat, Celtics or Bulls in the first round? Most definitely, probably not, but still, being one of the final eight teams in your conference is a big achievement in itself and something to build on.

THE PROBABLES

Philadelphia 76ers (30-30)

Somehow, one of the classic teams in the league in a great sports city have remained almost entirely under the radar, despite putting together an impressive run over the last two months. The 76ers were 15-23 on Jan. 11, but since then have gone 15-7 to get to 30-30. They've gone from being a team poised to blow up the roster, sending players like Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala out, to a group that's kind of mildly scary.

Doug Collins has a reputation for being a first season miracle worker and this campaign with the Sixers has been no different. Philly will almost definitely be in the final eight, but the real question is if they can actually push anyone to six or seven games. They've gotten to .500 largely by beating up on the dregs of the East. They take care of business against teams they're better than and stay competitive against teams they aren't as good as. That's a recipe to hang tough against anyone.

Best-case scenario: Philadelphia keeps up its current pace and doesn't just make the playoffs, but actually pushes the Knicks for sixth in the East. It's entirely possible too. Right now, the Sixers are just 1.5 out of sixth. If they got there, they'd get Chicago in the first round and actually, they match up decently there.

Worst-case scenario: It's hard to see Philly slipping so far to fall out of the postseason, because come on, look who's chasing them. But they could certainly fall and slip to eighth. Their goal needs to be finishing above .500 for the season, so a worst-case would be with less than 41 wins.

Indiana Pacers (27-33)

I can't get enough of this team right now. Under interim coach Frank Vogel, they've been scoring like crazy, playing with confidence and beating good teams. I can promise you, the Heat don't want any part of these Pacers in an opening round series.

They have a leg up on their next closest competition in Charlotte because the Bobcats recently sold off some of their better players. That doesn't guarantee them anything though. Getting to 38-40 wins will most likely lock in eighth in the East and the Pacers look to have the best shot at getting there. They're hot, they're playing together and they have a new energy to them. Plus, they actually have a little talent in Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison.

Best-case scenario: Consider who they're chasing. It's not like the Sixers are some dominant group. There's definitely potential for Philly to slip. It's hard to see Indiana catching all the way up to the Knicks, but there's no reason the Pacers can't push for seventh and therefore, setting up a seven-game series against the Heat, a team they've played really well thus far. I doubt Indy could top Miami in the opening round, but it could definitely steal a game or two and build some momentum for next year.

Worst-case: They lose five straight and drop out of the picture. Eighth in the East right now is about as fragile a position there is in the league. One moment, you're a playoff team. They next, you're 10 games under .500 and headed for a high pick in the lottery. Indiana definitely is riding that line.

THE OTHERS

Charlotte Bobcats (26-34)

Before the Bobcats did the right thing and became sellers at the deadline, they looked to be prime contenders for a playoff spot. But losing Gerald Wallace hurts a lot. There's still enough talent to compete because come on, it's not like they've got to win 50, but it's an uphill climb.

Best-case scenario: Best-case is actually worst-case for Charlotte in this case. They aren't doing themselves any favor by making the playoffs. It'd be nice to sell those tickets for two home games and get that experience, but this team is trying to rebuild so sacrificing that lottery pick probably isn't worth it. So best-case, they drop a number of games, slip further down the ladder and get a higher pick.

Worst-case scenario: The Bobcats don't feel far off from really falling far down the ladder. But they also aren't far off from assuming control of eighth. If Charlotte pulls together with Tyrus Thomas coming back, they could easily takeover Indiana and have the right to get swept by Boston in the opening round.

Milwaukee Bucks (23-36)

I wish someone could explain to me why the Bucks aren't in the playoffs right now. There's really no excuse for it, especially considering it doesn't take much effort at this point. The team is basically the same group from last season's surprise postseason squad. Yes, there have been injuries. Yes, Andrew Bogut isn't entirely healthy. Yes, they have 46 power forwards on the roster. But this team has talent and for the 50th time, it doesn't take a lot to get there!

Best-case scenario: The Bucks have already put themselves in a hole so just getting to eighth is probably their best shot. They do have the talent to push someone in the opening round though. When you play defense like Milwaukee, you can hang tough against anyone. Nobody is fearing the deer this season, but they could at least run out in front of a contender and dent their car.

Worst-case: They go numb and slip way down. They're just another injury away from becoming about as relevant as the Wizards in the East.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:25 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Kevin Durant sprains ankle, leaves game

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant badly sprained his ankle Wednesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.

UPDATE:
Durant left the arena in a protective boot deemed "precautionary" and the injury might not be as serious as it looked. He said after the game, "Just a little tweak. I did it before. Just gotta see how I feel in the morning. Hopefully, I'm ready to go Friday." The Thunder plays in Atlanta on Friday.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the NBA's leading scorer, badly sprained his left ankle during the third quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Indiana Pacers.

With the Thunder leading 79-58 with 2:44 left in the third quarter, Durant drove to his left, attempting to get to the basket around Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough. The two players got tangled and Durant's left foot came down on Hansbrough's right foot, causing it to roll severely. Hansbrough went sprawling backwards and Durant fell to the ground.

Here's video of the play.



Durant was awarded free throws and made both of them, before immediately giving a foul and exiting the court with the help of the Thunder's training staff.

The Thunder termed the injury a "left ankle sprain" and informed the media that Durant would not return to the game.  More information as soon as it becomes available.

Durant left the game with 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 26 minutes. The Thunder went on to win, 113-89.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 8:56 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Blazers aren't going away

Posted by Royce Young



Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here.

3-UP

1. Los Angeles Lakers (3): Look out NBA. The Lakers might be waking up.

After dropping the most embarrasing game of the season to the Cavs before the All-Star break, the Lakers have stormed out to win four straight, including big wins over Atlanta, Portland and Oklahoma City. They're rediscovering that championship defense and finally, are looking healthy. Ron Artest is contributing, Kobe Bryant is playing a bit better within the offense and Pau Gasol is asserting himself. It's been a bit up and down (get it?) for the Lakers this season, but they might be coming to the top at the right time.

2. Portland Trail Blazers (7): At some point, Nate McMillan has to get some major love for Coach of the Year. Please people, please. I mean, look at what he's worked through.

Another season for the Blazers, another year of dealing with adversity and injuries. But Portland went from sellers to buyers right before the deadline when the team started winning. The Blazers have gone from the brink of playoff contention to now fifth place in the West and the only real threat to the Thunder for the Northwest crown. With Brandon Roy back (somewhat), Marcus Camby on the way and the addition of Gerald Wallace, the Blazers are poised to make noise the rest of the way.

3. Indiana Pacers (18):
They just keep climbing under interim coach Frank Vogel. They're playing looser, more confidently and with some serious passion. They've dropped two straight but caught a nice break at the deadline when one of their main competitors for the eight-seed essentially dropped out when the Bobcats sold off big pieces.

They've scored at least 100 points in every game but one under Vogel and their two recent losses aren't bad ones (Phoenix and Utah). The Pacers will be in the discussion for the playoffs the rest of the way, which certainly wasn't something we were saying two months ago.

3-DOWN

1. Orlando Magic (9): Orlando is slipping, and not just in the standings. They're going to be fine heading into the postseason. They'll likely win the Southeast and have the four-seed. They'll likely be good enough to win their opening round series. But this team made its splash in December with the Gilbert Arenas deal and it's not really working out.

Without Dwight Howard's hero play, this team is down three or four spots in the East and maybe not even competing for a playoff spot. Other teams got better at the deadline. And while the Magic already played their cards, they may have called on the wrong hand.

2. Detroit Pistons (30): Could things be more ugly in Detroit? The team banded together to win Monday, but this situation is ugly. John Kuester is hanging on by a thread despite a vote of confidence from Joe Dumars. Players on the team are trying to say things are cool now. But the team is in a total state of disarray.

The shame is, they could totally be a playoff contender in the pathetic lower half of the East. Win three straight games and you're right in it. They're only 5.5 back of eighth right now and if Detroit could just get its act together, they actually have quality enough players to at least make a push.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (11):
The Thunder improved themselves greatly at the deadline. They went from a definite second-round exit, to a legit Western Conference contender. The main deficiency was remedied in acquiring not just Kendrick Perkins, but Nazr Mohammed.

But right now, the team has dipped a bit. For the first time this season they've dropped three in a row and won't have the services of Perkins for at least two weeks. OKC will be fine, but the Blazers aren't just handing the Thunder the division. Once OKC gets healthy and has its new front line in tact, it'll be tough. But right now, the Thunder's taken a bit of a turn down.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 1:25 pm
 

The O.J. Mayo disaster


Posted by Matt Moore

The Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies had agreed to a trade Thursday. Maybe. They may have. I mean, it seems they had an agreement, at one point, on something involving O.J. Mayo going to Indiana in exchange for Josh McRoberts and a first round pick. It wasn't a great haul for the Grizzlies, but it wasn't anything terrible, either.  It gave them a versatile power forward to back up Zach Randolph and a draft pick, which they need all they can get of since they draft so terribly, and they were sending another one out for Shane Battier

But, then, of course, what happens with the Grizzlies so often happened to the Grizzlies, and things fell apart. What, exactly? Well, that depends on who you ask. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal

But the deal was never consummated because the teams missed the NBA’s 2 p.m. deadline. 
“Despite published reports, O.J. was not traded,” Griz general manager Chris Wallace said in a text. 
Based on conversations with sources who have knowledge of the situation, a third team -- New Orleans -- was involved in the negotiations to make the financial aspects of the deal meet NBA rules. Late in the talks, New Orleans pulled out, leaving the Grizzlies and Pacers scrambling for another partner. Another team was found and agreements were made, but the 2 p.m. deadline had passed.
via Grizzlies trade Thabeet for Battier; Mayo-to-Pacers deal never completed » The Commercial Appeal.


Oh, okay. These things happen. New Orleans pulled out of the deal as teams often do. Except, there's this from the Indianapolis Star:
Sources told The Star, though, that the Pacers called the league at 3 p.m. to notify them of the three-team deal, and were on hold, waiting to get into the league's queue, when the deadline passed at 3:01 p.m. While the Pacers were waiting, New Orleans apparently backed out of the deal -- which wouldn't have been consummated anyway, since the league insisted it was 3:01.
via Kravitz: Pacers blow chance to add draft-lottery talent at bargain price | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

Now, on the surface, it certainly looks like Indiana was the one to blow this up. I mean, really, you're calling the office at 3 p.m.? You had four days post All-Star Break to get this done and you're calling at 3 p.m.? You would have had a potentially significant trade rejected had New Orleans not backed out because you were on hold?  Come on, now. 

Except that the Pacers weren't the ones with the situation. O.J. Mayo has been on the block for months. Ownership and management have repeatedly denied that they were considering trading Mayo, but clearly, that was a lie. They've had a months since the fight with Tony Allen, a month since he was suspended for violating the banned substance policy, a half season since the coaching staff openly questioned his ability in preseason and he started out on a disastrous shooting slump. But there they are, at the deadline, hoping there's an operator standing by when so many teams are getting deals in. In that respect Indiana's not alone in calling the trade in. It's how it works as bizarre as it is. But Memphis should not have allowed it to come to this. 

Because now Mayo knows the franchise has no investment in him, no confidence in him, no trust in him. And he has to make it through the rest of this season with that hanging over him.

Mayo may have acted like he lacks common sense this season at time. If so, it seems like he learned it from the top down. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com