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Waiting on the Pacers vs. Heat

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The Indiana Pacers welcome the Miami Heat to the Fieldhouse Friday night. The game sets up as well as can be for the Pacers since the Heat opened their season at home Thursday night with a 91-80 loss to the Detroit Pistons. Also, Dwyane Wade won't be running with the Heat which means the Heat won't want to run with the Pacers at all. Should be interesting to see Pat Riley try to slow the game to a crawl, while the Pacers will want to run, run, and run some more to keep Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning in motion. Jermaine O'Neal is expected to be back in the line up, but after watching Brendan Haywood wreak havoc around the basket against the Pacers, I think the P's will be better served to keep the big fellas running. Jim O'Brien sounds excited to get #7 back on the court.

"(Jermaine O'Neal) is the best big man, maybe in the NBA, at stepping up and taking charges," O'Brien said. "The transition is a great one. All the work we put into planning our offense and defense was pretty much planning on having him anchor both in the middle. When you don't have him, it's a gigantic hole. With that being said, I'm very pleased with the attitude of our players to say, 'He's out, we'll just worry about who we have in and go out and try and get a win.' "

Projected Starters
PACERS pos. Heat
Jermaine O'Neal F Udonis Haslem
Danny Granger F Dorell Wright
Jeff Foster C Shaquille O'Neal
Mike Dunleavy G Ricky Davis
Jamaal Tinsley G Jason Williams

Last year was tough on the team and fans alike, no? Indulge me as I bask in the glow of the opening night W a little longer.
  • Heard Jim O'Brien on the radio tonight discussing Jamaal Tinsley's impact on the game. He mentioned how he played a terrible first half and never got it going until the fourth quarter. But, O'B mentioned that you would never have known Tins stunk it up in the first half by observing his behavior and attitude in the locker room at the half. He was into it and ready to keep grinding. In the end, he was able to lead the team down the stretch.
  • I'm still shaking my head over David Harrison's performance. Maybe the lack of a contract extension will keep him hungry to perform, although I don't see Harrison being motivated by the contract. He's a different dude who seems to enjoy life day-to-day. Whatever his motivation, let's hope he has many more nights like Wednesday.
  • So, the Pacers get the ball with 1:02 left in OT and a 113-108 lead. Conventional wisdom says work the clock, get a good shot. No doubt last year, a set play would be run for a look late in the shot clock. This year? Yes, they run some clock, but when Danny Granger has an open 3-ball he never hesitates. Granger splashed the dagger to put the Pacers up 8 and kill the Wizards' will with 42 seconds remaining. Two things stuck out: One, a Pacer, any Pacer pulled the trigger on a three that had everyone thinking, uh-oh. Second, Danny Granger was the Pacer to step up and knock down the big shot. Nice to see that confidence flow out of Granger's game.
  • Nothing is ever easy for the Pacers these days when it comes to marketing the team. They actually start the year with two home games and the opener is a rousing success on the court. Incredible effort. Great style of play. Oh, and a win. But, all this good material from the Pacers is being drowned out by the Patriots/Colts game at the Dome on Sunday. News reports, talk radio, and buzz around town is all focused on the Colts. I'm fully engaged in the big game myself, but it is a shame the Pacers are offering so many positive story lines, but no one is picking them up. At least, Reggie Wayne was courtside for the opener cheering hard for the Pacers.