Yeah, yeah, we saw the 3-ball, Jose.
2007 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Indiana Pacers showed a much improved effort last night but the Toronto Raptors made the plays and more improtantly the shots needed to win, 110-101. I was hoping to avoid the bubbling Calderon reference, but the guy seemed to hit the back-breakers down the stretch to keep the Pacers from winning.
Mike Wells has the goods on the game, although I didn't come away from watching this game with as negative a feeling as the recap portrays. I know, only wins and losses count in the NBA. But, for me, seeing some progress in a loss dulls the pain a bit.
Fortunately the players don't share my feelings. Jamaal Tinsley sums it up concisely.
"In the second half they came out more determined," Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley said. "They outplayed us. I don't know what it is. I've been here for seven years and it seems like the same thing. It's frustrating when you go and play for one half and in the second half you lay an egg. We have to get it together someway, some how. It gets tiring hearing the same old thing."What was encouraging?
The Pacers came out running and looked like they had heard O'B's message loud and clear. Even in the half court, when the ball went through J.O., guys were moving around and it made the offense look easy.
Jamaal Tinsley shot the ball pretty well, although there's still a reason he's wide open behind the arc. But, Tins is the one guy down the stretch and is determined to make a play and asserts himself. The Pacers need someone else to fill that role, but I give JT credit for trying.
Proof that the Pacers were at least trying to push the ball and run. Troy Murphy had a break away dunk where he was behind the defense to take a long pass.
Travis Diener shed his 'Saras' tag last night, making a couple 3-balls, scoring 10 points, and more importantly, looking aggressive with his shot.
What was discouraging?
The sixth straight loss is tough to absorb. The Utah Jazz are in town tonight and they've handled the Pacers so easily in the recent past, that a win tonight seems improbable.
Jermaine O'Neal looked outstanding in the first half. He seemed to run out of gas down the stretch though. Chris Bosh looked like a young Jermaine O'Neal, while J.O. looked, well, past his prime. Can't give up on J.O.'s prime, yet, though. The knee is still an issue.
Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy combined to make just 2 of 11 from behind the arc.
Granger's all but disappeared in the second half. His only points were a very late 3-ball after the game was decided. Danny was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after the Pacers won their first three games. Even in a few losses, he's shown he can take over a game. But, it seems like if he hits a tough stretch, his game goes in a shell. The Pacers need him to stay into it, keep pushing and work his way through any shooting woes. Actually, he needs to take a page from Tinsley's playbook and assert himself, try to impose his will on the game. Someone needs to be the 'man' going down the stretch, and Danny is the most likely player to fill that roll. It is up to him, though.
Former Maceo Baston made a rare start for the Raptors in place of Rasho Nesterovic.
Once again, the Raptors looked incredible against the Pacers. The T.J. Ford/Jose Calderon combo at the point is a joy to watch, although extremely frustrating when watching against the Pacers.
Marquis Daniels did not play, as advertised. According to Pacers Notebook Daniels will not be playing in back-to-back games until his knee improves.
Time to forget Toronto. The Utah Jazz are in town having suffered a tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.