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Nuggets 113, Pacers 106: Desperately Seeking a Hero

Allen Iverson drives the Fieldhouse faithful nuts...again.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I admit it. When it comes to watching the Pacers, my psyche is fragile. I can imagine a game slipping away with great clarity well before it happens.

A couple of misses in a row, and a voice in the back of my head whispers, "Here we go again." I can feel the vibe in the Fieldhouse all the way from my family room.

But, this? This implosion of epic proportions? This one has me curled up in the fetal position, frightened to even look at the box score. No, it's not easy to type while all curled up, but it seems to sooth the frayed nerve endings.

Did you see that game? If not, no explanation can do it justice. If you love the Pacers, I'd suggest avoiding a taped replay to save the harm to your mental health.

Just let me give you a high level review of what has me curled up whispering, Mommy every few minutes.
  • The Pacers scored 46 points in the first quarter. Yes, QUARTER! They could do no wrong. I was listening to Boyle and Slick in the car and it was crazy. The joy of a great radio call is how the words churn through your head to create a visual of the action being described. With the rate the Pacers were scoring in the first quarter, my visual playback was on fast forward and couldn't keep up. There were a few stretches when I thought Slick had lost it and was just randomly bellowing, "Boom, Baby!"

  • All is good in the first half. The Pacers go 11 deep, everyone is contributing. Diener even hits a 3-ball, and the Pacers end the half up 18, 74-56.

  • The mood changed after the half, as the Pacers left their shooting touch in the locker room and the Nuggs kept grinding. You think Allen Iverson is going to give up? Suddenly all the Pacers are feeling a firm grip around their throat, and no one can put a stop to the hemoraging.

  • Live by the three, die by the three, I get it. But, when you have a nice double-digit lead in the second half, is it a crime to stop jacking up quick threes. That doesn't mean stop moving, or pass up solid, open looks. But, man, when things are slipping away, and the threes aren't splashing, why not work the ball around for a solid two pointer?

  • Okay, so now the lead is gone and the Pacers and Nuggs are in a tight game down the stretch. Whatcha gonna do? The Nuggets used A.I. and Carmelo Anthony as their go-to-guys with some help from Linas Kleiza along the way. The Pacers? They stopped moving and went through Jermaine O'Neal. He could not deliver. After realizing Marcus Camby would swallow up anything he tried to do around the hoop, J.O. stepped out a bit. But the jumper wasn't going. That left Jamaal Tinsley as the only guy willing to step up and take the tough shots down the stretch. Give Tins A for effort and guts, but he doesn't have the offensive arsenal to get it done.

  • Danny Granger helped a little down the stretch but missed plenty. Mike Dunleavy had 15 first half points and two second half points, providing no help down the stretch. All of this adds up to a Nuggets win, 113-106

  • Toward the end of the game when it was obvious no one was going to make a big time play for the Pacers, I had to give my 6 year old a history lesson. He knows of Reggie Miller but doesn't remember him playing. This, I told him, is when Reggie would play his best. He LOVED taking shots in games like this when the Pacers desperately needed a hoop. He didn't always make it, but he did plenty of times and he never shied away from the opportunity to be a hero.
I think that sums it up. The Pacers have a great coach and are playing an exciting brand of basketball. They have some real nice players, now all they need is a hero.