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Tag:Indiana Pacers
Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 11:30 am

Report: Reggie Miller denied for HOF finalist

Report: Reggie Miller fails to make cut for Hall of Fame finalists despite stellar career. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Indiana is not having an awesome sports stretch. Watched Duke best local heroes Butler in the Final Four, just months after watching Drew Brees do his thing on Peyton Manning. But nothing is really going to match the outrage that's likely raging across the Hoosier State this morning. 

The New York Times and Yahoo! Sports report that Reggie Miller failed to make the cut of finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Which is, you know, kind of insane. 

Miller held the all-time record for three-pointers until a week ago when Ray Allen rained down. Miller played 18 seasons, all for the Pacers, back when guys still played their entire career for small-market teams. He was a 5-time All-Star, an Olympic Gold Medal winner, and is 17th All-Time in points scored in his career. Throw in all the huge moments, the fact that he's the reason we use the phrase "8 points, 9 seconds" (not just a blog, friends!) and make choking signs at Spike Lee, it's really hard to see where the voters were coming from on this one. 

The other candidates certainly had some worthy selections. Tex Winters, Dennis Rodman, Don Nelson,  Rudy Tomjanovich, and Dick Bavetta, and Spencer Haywood are all strong candidates. But outside of Winters and Nelson, who provided long-term contributions to the game that can't be replicated, is any of those candidates necessarily more worthy than Miller? Rodman is a top-three rebounder of all time, if not the best, but is also more known for his... ahem, eccentricities and was able to mosey on over to ride Jordan's coattails to titles. Hard to pinpoint that Miller wasn't his superior in overall play. 

The knock on Miller always comes back to the idiotic championship question. As if a player's singular talents can impact the dozens of things necessary for a player to win a championship including but not nearly limited to luck. We're not even talking about actually being voted in, here, we're just talking about making the cut. Voters didn't think that Reggie Miller, despite his place in the game's history, had enough to even warrant being a finalist. It is at this point we're reminded that no Hall of Fame is run under an adequate system.

Miller's numbers don't leap off the page, a career 18, 3, and 3 guy. But in his peak he was what made the Pacers a Finals contender and right up until his final season, he was part of what made the Pacers contenders. 

But that's all for naught, as he'll have to wait another year. 
Posted on: February 16, 2011 11:14 pm

Game Changer: Lakers lose to... Cleveland!?!

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements that help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the previous night's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what led to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Lakers 104-99. That's not a joke lede. That's real.

Remember the last time these two teams played? The Lakers won by a measly 55 points. Less than a week ago, the Cavs had just lost their 26th straight game, an NBA record.

And in come the Lakers to Quicken Loans Arena as the defending champions to play the lowly, nine-win Cavs. If you say you saw this coming, you're probably also telling me you totally saw Esperanza Spalding beating out Justin Bieber.

How in the world did this happen? Basically, two things: 1) The Lakers were in a coma for the first 47 minutes and 2) the Cavs played with some serious fight.

First, let's look at the Laker situation seeing as people in purple and gold are probably questioning their existence right now. Los Angeles followed up its stinker in Charlotte by dropping a game to the Cavs. That's reason to be upset for sure. Reason to panic? Not really. It was the game before the All-Star break and right in the middle of a big seven-game road trip.

Kobe Bryant went just 8-22 from the field and had seven turnovers. Ron Artest scored a single point. Andrew Bynum was 2-12 for six points. Lamar Odom had only six points. Pau Gasol was solid with 30 points, but other than that the only reason L.A. was even close was because of Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown. Think about that. Shannon Brown and Derek Fisher kept the Lakers in it.

It's been a season of freak outs for the Lakers. They lost three straight. They lost on Christmas. And now they've dropped a game to the lowly Cavaliers. Up and down, the NBA season is.

On the other hand, you've got to give credit to the Cavs, no matter how poorly the Lakers played. Remember, the Lakers beat the Cavs by 55 last time. But from the start, the Cavs were playing with a point to prove. Ramon Sessions was terrific with 32 points and eight assists (how about that, Atlanta?). Antwan Jamison had 19. Anthony Parker, 18.

Seriously, what a moment for the Cavs in a season full of disaster. For one night, they had back that old feeling.

See, who really needs LeBron James when you have Ramon Sessions?


Of course for some reason we all wanted to know what LeBron would say about the Cavs big win. LeBron, following his team's win over Toronto said, "Good for the Cavs."


It didn't have near the hype that LeBron's return to Cleveland had, but Chris Bosh returned to Toronto for the first time since leaving in free agency to Miami.

Fitting too, because Bosh went from the focus for the Raptors to the oft-forgotten third wheel for the Heat. Something he's fine with, but definitely a change.

And like LeBron, Bosh heard boos, saw signs and took some hate. But also like LeBron, he showed up big and his team walked to an easy win, beating the lowly Raps 103-95. Bosh had 25 points on 7-16 shooting and while he wasn't terrific like LeBron in Cleveland, he was solid in his role and his team won.

After the game, Bosh blew some kisses to the crowd as he left the floor. The was a splattering of cheers, but mostly boos. Bosh said of the booing, "I hope they do it the next time I come back."


Referring to Amar'e Stoudemire, Al Horford told reporters before his Hawks took on the Knicks, "Like we're supposed to be scared of him. Ain't nobody scared of him." (via Alan Hahn )

What happened next? Stoudemire led all scorers with 23 points and the Knicks beat Atlanta 102-90. New York has a bit of momentum heading into the break with back-to-back wins, this one over the Hawks who they're chasing in the Eastern standings.


Pau Gasol: 30 points and 20 rebounds, but oh yeah, his team lost to the Cavs.

Andrea Bargnani: 38 points on 15-26 shooting in a loss to the Heat.

Dwight Howard: 32 points and 10 rebounds in a blowout win over the Wizards.

Ramon Sessions: 32 points and eight assists for the Cavs.

Kevin Love: Another ho-hum night with 18 points and 18 rebounds in a loss to the Clippers.


Christian Eyenga played a part in the Cavs stunning win over Los Angeles with 10 points. But these two over Pau Gasol were definitely his two best.


The Pacers took a setback in Detroit, dropping to the Pistons 115-109 in overtime. That makes Indiana 7-3 under interim coach Frank Vogel and while it's finally a loss to a below average team, all's not lost. The Pacers were down late in the game and fought back to force overtime. And keep in mind, this is a building process for them. There's no denying that they're playing much better and despite a loss, keep an eye on this team.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 10:30 am

Dwyane Wade and Lebron James do something absurd

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade connect on a 90-foot baseline to baseline alley-oop against the Pacers
Posted by Matt Moore

See, this is what we expected when LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami this summer.  An unparalleled combination fo athleticism and ability on one floor. But instead of stressing over how this Heat team has underperformed relative to expectations, let's just take a look at this, because it's more than a little bit absurd. 

Baseline. To. Baseline. 

Thing is, Wade and James had have been planning that. Wade doesn't hesitate for a second. He secures the board, pivots, and launches. It's a three-step move. Catch, pivot, throw.  James no doubt alerted Wade when he turned for the break and saw that he had daylight. Still, that's a remarkable combination of outlet pass, catch, and finish. 

More of that, please, sirs. 
Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:55 am

Under Vogel, the Pacers are flying

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, there were a few stories out that the Pacers wanted to fire then-coach Jim O'Brien. The problem was that there wasn't a suitable replacement on the current bench. Nobody was worthy of even the interim tag.

But that Pacers pulled the trigger anyway and promoted Frank Vogel to head coach, where he's the youngest in the league at 37.

It didn't look like a great move for Indiana. The season was already slipping away after a promising start, players were regressing and now the most unproven coach you could have was taking over? Things were expected to go from bad to worse and in a hurry.

Except the Pacers won their first game under Vogel. Then their second. Then thier third, and fourth. They lost the fifth, a fantastic effort against the Miami Heat in Miami, but responsed Wednesday with a big win over Charlotte, which actually put them back in eighth in the East. Under Vogel, the new coach who supposedly couldn't coach, Indiana is 5-1.

Now before we get too excited and start touting him for awards, it's not like the Pacers are beating the league's best teams. The wins have come against Toronto, Cleveland, the wounded Blazers, New Jersey and Charlotte. Not a murderer's row, but that's the thing: Under O'Brien, the Pacers weren't beating teams they should. So far under Vogel, they are.

They're playing different too. Everything is looser. The charge from the front office when Vogel took over was to play faster and play younger. That's happening. Under O'Brien, the team was one of the worst offensive teams in the league, relying almost exclusively on good shooting. They averaged under 98.0 points per game and had nights where they seriously couldn't score.

With Vogel manning the wheel, Indiana is playing faster and averaging 107.0 points per game and have topped the century mark in all six games. This is against some stout defensive units too, like the Heat, Blazers and Bobcats.

A few more, via Indy Cornrows: offensive rating is 110.1 under Vogel, 104.0 under O'Brien; free throw attempts have increased by nearly 10 a game; and defensive has improved in a big way, going from 105.6 points per 100 possessions under O'Brien to 97.7 under Vogel. The Pacers have... improved.

You really don't have to look further than Roy Hibbert to see what's going on. He started out the season in a big way, averaging 15.6 and 9.4 rebounds in November. But under the apparent oppression of O'Brien, Hibbert fell off the face of the earth. He averged a little over 10 points a game in December and just 9.5 in January.

Since the change, Hibbert is averaging 18.6 ppg and 8.3 rpg. So tell me something isn't different now. I wonder if a player can win Most Improved just for the change made in a month.

Vogel put the change this way: "We're changing the identity of our basketball team dramatically. We are a power-post team, blood and guts, old school, smash-mouth team that plays with size, strength, speed, athleticism. We attack the basket."

Whatever it is, it's working. And working well. The Pacers are back in the playoff hunt in the East and behind Vogel, are playing way better. He may not be doing anything. He may just be giving a little pep talk and getting out of the way. But whatever it is, he deserves credit but the Pacers have opened up and are playing loose.

A change was needed in Indy and it's a good thing they decided to trust in their supposedly unfit assistant.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 2:03 am
Edited on: February 9, 2011 2:09 am

Game Changer: Pacers choke against Heat

The Miami Heat get an easy one thanks to a late-game meltdown by the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James gets way up, Blake Griffin throws down the Alley Oop and Chauncey Billups looks cold. Plus, plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements that help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the previous night's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what led to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


The Indiana Pacers and their new teenage-looking coach Frank Vogel are hard to root against, as the sacking of Jim O'Brien immediately produced a four-game winning streak for a team that had only won four games in the month prior to his dismissal. 

The winning came to an end -- and Vogel's undefeated head coaching record was finally tarnished -- on Tuesday night as the Pacers lost to the mighty Miami Heat on the road, 117-112. 
  The ending to this one was not only bizarre, it was fairly rare. Allow me set the scene.

With 8.9 seconds left, the Pacers have the ball on a side inbounds play in the frontcourt, trailing by three points, 115-112. The Pacers stacked four players in the middle of the court with guard Dahntay Jones inbounding the ball. Even without strong initial pressure on the ball, Jones couldn't find anyone, and he watched as Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. fired across the top of the key, as point guard Darren Collison shot into the near corner and as forward Danny Granger came directly to the ball. The only non-shooter on the court for Indiana, big man Jeff Foster, just stood stunned in the paint watching this car wreck unfold. 

With all three possible options exhausted, Jones finally threw a bounce pass in to Granger, only to have the referee blow his whistle, signalling for a five second violation.

Man alive. How often do you see a five second violation on a potential game-winning, last second play? Not often. 

Credit goes to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who had a small-ball defensive lineup in with guards Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade and a trio of forwards: LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller to defend against the obvious three-point attempt. Chalmers didn't initially pressure the ball that hard, but as the clock started ticking he does move up, obscuring Jones' vision. Miller and James simply did their jobs, shadowing their men and not getting hung up on screens. Dwyane Wade probably had the largest role in causing the violation, sticking to Granger like glue, forcing Jones' delay and indecision because he was worried about a Wade steal from behind.

But we shouldn't go overboard in praising Miami. This wasn't a difficult to time catch-and-shoot situation. This was a standard late-game entry pass that the Pacers simply couldn't execute. Get. The. Ball. In. Bounds. They couldn't do it.

Miami cashed in on the mistake as the Pacers were forced to foul immediately and that was the ball game. Take a look at the play. Admire the meltdown.


LeBron James:  41 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists on 15-of-23 shooting in 42 minutes in a Miami Heat home win over the Indiana Pacers.

Dwight Howard:  22 points, 20 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, +30 (!) on 7-of-13 shooting in 37 minutes in an Orlando Magic home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Zach Randolph:   31 points, 13 rebounds, four assists on 11-of-19 shooting in 47 minutes in a Memphis Grizzlies road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.



Blake Griffin might put more people on posters, but nobody dunks in more photographic fashion than LeBron James. Watch out, below. My goodness. Two of his 41 points. 



This is just a Blake Griffin dunk every single day, you know how I do it. Here Griffin catches the alley oop lob pass and dunks over Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson, much like he dunked over Kyle Korver recently. Griffin struggled on the night, scoring just 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 35 minutes of action in a 101-85 loss to Orlando.


Per Denver Nuggets team policy, Chauncey Billups does not charge baggage handling fees. Boy, he looks cold.


I, for one, am glad that Kevin Durant made the three-point contest even if he is the only one of the contestants to shoot below league-average from deep.  Given his competitive desire, overall talent level and ability to rise to the occasion, Durant not only makes a great candidate, he serves as an excellent foil for the field. He gets to take on a Larry Bird role here, the intimidating all-NBA gunner who the specialists can try to take down. I love it. What better script is there for a three-point contest?
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 12:31 pm

NBA rumor updates: Carmelo, Warkentien, Lakers's Ken Berger provides the latest updates on Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, whether the Los Angeles Lakers will make a move, why the New York Knicks hired former Denver Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien and who is in the mix to be the next head coach of the Indiana Pacers. Posted by Ben Golliver.

In a pair of videos this week, NBA writer Ken Berger broke down the latest on some of the major trade rumors and personnel changes around the NBA with host Lauren Shehadi. 

Always first on the docket: Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, who now has just three weeks to be moved prior to the trade deadline. "Sources are telling me that there is some indecision within the Knicks organization, some disagreement, even, as to how hard they should push for a trade bringing Carmelo to New York," Berger reports. "Those against the move view Anthony strictly as a scorer and the Knicks have plenty of scoring. They think he would be a good option as a free agent but not if major assets have to be given up in a trade when the team has so many other pressing needs."

Speaking of the Knicks, Berger investigates why the team hired a former NBA GM with ties to Anthony as a consultant. "What exactly is the Knicks' motivation for hiring former Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien as a consultant? Sources that have known Warkentien and Knicks President Donnie Walsh for years say this is a Walsh-driven move and bodes well for his future with the organization. Walsh has a contract extension that he's discussing and an option that has to be picked up by April. Several rival executives, however, are telling me this looks more like an effort on the part of ownership to appease CAA, who represents both Warkentien and, guess who, Carmelo Anthony."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their yearly mid-season turmoil. Berger suggests that the Lakers pretty much have their hands tied when it comes to swinging a deal prior to the deadline. "The Lakers are not happy with how they are playing right now and would like to do a minor deal to kind of tweak things," Berger reports. "The problem they have: they are pretty much locked in with their core players, many of whom are over 30 and have money coming to them for several years down the road. They don't really have any attractive trade pieces that teams would be willing to give them a complementary player. Like, for example, the Wizard and Kirk Hinrich. The Lakers have long been high on Hinrich but they don't have anything the Wizards would want. A team like that would want expiring contracts and cost savings and the Lakers just don't have that. L.A. is going to have to figure this out from within. I just don't see anything more than a minor deal presenting itself between now and the deadline."

You can watch the video below.

In this week's NBA Drive, Berger also laid out the latest on the Indiana Pacers, who fired coach Jim O'Brien last week and could be in for a management shuffle this summer, as all their key pieces have contracts that expire at the end of this season. "Owner Herb Simon came out this week and backed Larry Bird, said he wants him back next season," Berger said. "So that should be a strong indication that Larry and general manager David Morway will be back. Their contracts are both up. With the vote of confidence from Herb Simon, who, by all indications, is happy with the direction if not the results. I think as long as Larry wants to be back, he will be."

Berger continued, saying the Pacers will also be re-assessing their coaching position this off-season. "The first order of business will be hiring a new coach, who may very well be interim coach Frank Vogel. There's some other interesting names on the Pacers list though. Former Cavs coach Mike Brown, former Pacer Mark Jackson, and Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin. Those three names are going to be in the mix, as well as a darkhorse, Hawks assistant Lester Conner, a little-known name around the league, but he was on the Pacers bench last season, and I think he's going to get some consideration."

You can watch this week's edition of NBA Drive with Lauren Shehadi, featuring a guest appearance from NBA Blogger Matt Moore, below.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 9:12 am

Shootaround 2.1.11: Super Host

Posted by Royce Young
  • Serge Ibaka has seen only a handful of minutes the past two games and Scott Brooks attributed focus to being one of the reasons. But he's not in trouble Brooks says. "He's not in the doghouse. It's just, do you want him to guard LeBron James? He can't guard LeBron." Ibaka said: "Everybody in the league has a bad game sometimes. Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the world. He has a couple of bad games, too. But the next day, he's working hard for the next game. That's what I try to do, too. So we'll see."
  • Al Iannazzone of The Record: "The Nets almost had everything they wanted Monday night. Carmelo Anthony was in their building in front of a good-size and loud crowd, and they played inspired basketball. But Anthony left Prudential Center with his team afterward and flew back to Denver. If the Nets really got everything they wanted, Anthony would have driven back to his place in New Jersey. But because so many players were involved in the now dormant trade talks, they probably were happy to see Anthony leave after the Nets’ 115-99 victory in front of 14,039 fans. Yet Anthony said something that could help restart the talks when he was asked what the Nets needed to get his signature on a three-year, $65 million extension."
  • Marvin Williams says he's got no issues with Shawne Williams. "It's all good," Marvin Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "I have no hard feelings towards Shawne. What happened, happened. I am sure when we go to New York it will be interesting. But I had no problems with him before the game and I have no problems with him today. Like I said, some things happened throughout the game and I just finally reacted."
  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "I wouldn’t have been shocked if I walked into the locker room on Monday and saw Tyler Hansbrough wearing a muscle t-shirt that had 'I’m Free' written across the front of it. To say Hansbrough won’t miss Jim O’Brien would be an understatement. Hansbrough, like some members in the organization, didn’t care for O’Brien constantly tinkering with his rotation."
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 11:47 pm

Pacers loosen up after O'Brien firing, beat Raps

Pacers win first game under Frank Vogel, show signs of legitimate life against terrible Raps team. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Sometimes, a change can do wonders.  In their first game after Jim O'Brien was fired, the Pacers looked wholly different than they have for the past two months. Much of that is attributable to playing the Raptors, who are truly terrible. But there were a series of positive signs that under Frank Vogel, things might improve for the Pacers. 

First and foremost was Roy Hibbert. Hibbert looked like an All-Star candidate early this season, then tailed off to the point that he as consulting a sports psychologist . Hibbert's regression had been a focal point of the scrutiny on O'Brien. For a night, at least, progress seemed to have been made. Hibbert went off for 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against the Raptors' puny interior defense. It wasn't just a good night against a bad team, though. Hibbert seemed to respond to Vogel's encouragement. The result was more and more focus from Hibbert, who looked to have new life. And he wasn't the only one. 

Tyler Hansbrough apparently unleashed a "rant" about O'Brien after the game, following his 14-point, 6-rebound performance in just 15 minutes. Rookie Paul George had 16 points, when his season average is only 7. More importantly, the team won. Even with Danny Granger having a tough night, and the opposition so bad (the Raptors have lost 12 straight), there was enough to feel good about this win for Pacers fans, just as a monster ice storm settled into the area, keeping attendance to just over 10,000 officially and far less unofficially.  The effort was there, a spark was there, and sometimes that's more important than precision, system, or cohesion, all of which are areas the Pacers still need help with.

Getting started on the right foot is important in a situation like that. Indiana's just two games out of the seventh seed in the East, and has the talent to get there. Maybe a move towards a younger coach is just what they needed. It's just one game and things could fall apart just as quickly, but at least for a night, the Pacers looked to have new life under the new coach.
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