The Indiana Pacers did all the little things to earn their first loss of the season, a 104-89 drubbing at the hands of Sam Cassell and his L.A. Clipper teammates.
The Pacers played about 16 minutes of good basketball, which left the Clippers 32 minutes expose the Pacers' poor defensive effort and equally dismal work on the glass.
Hey, if you're going to lose, you want to make sure you don't play well. Not much of a consolation, but at least the Pacers didn't light it up, play great defense, dominate the hustle stats and still lose, right? Plus, when the opposition gets an exceptional effort from a 37 year-old point guard teaching PhD level classes in dominating an opponent, it's just not your night.
Not hard to figure out what to do after this loss. The Pacers have to force themselves to watch the tape, put in more work, and try to start making forward progress, again.
- The Clippers' starting unit destroyed the Pacers' starting unit in the first six minutes of each half. Check out these +/- numbers: Clips (Cassell +24, Mobly +8(hurt), Thomas +16, Maggette +28, Kaman +25) vs. Pacers (Tinsley -22, Dunleavy -17, O'Neal -18, Granger -17, Foster -11)
- Sam Cassell was incredible all night. kester99 mentioned the PG point comparison, Cassell 37/Tinsley 3. Ouch.
- To be fair, after the first 6-8 minutes of the game, the Pacers played a solid half. After leading the first quarter 25-24, the went to the break with a 58-55 lead.
- Cassell seized the game after the half and the Pacers had a lid on their basket. It became comical how many decent looks the P's missed. I actually was impressed with the audio quality of the mics around the rim. The clanks came through loud and clear.
- The Pacers were destroyed on the glass 53-40, and while the box score claims the Clippers had 13 offensive rebounds, I swear they had 25. Most of those 13 had to be in the second half. The Clips also seemed to snatch every loose ball. Props to rookie Al Thornton for the Clippers. He's far more than a shooter. The kid was all over the place and gobbled up his fair share of free leather that was up for grabs.
- In the three opening Ws, the Pacers have survived their penchant for hacking, thanks to their opponents futility at the free throw line. No such luck tonight, as the Clips knocked down 28 of 35 freebies. The Clips' 11 additional makes from the line show up big in a 15 point loss.
- Must mention Chris Kaman and his 22 maddening rebounds. The Pacers front line remains vulnerable to opposing bigs who are willing to get after the glass.
- Shawne Williams and Troy Murphy played okay and still need to work their way into regular season game shape. The rotations seemed strange tonight. Marquis Daniels didn't play until midway through the third quarter. Kareem Rush only played during too little, too late time.
- Despite the horrific second half performance, the Pacers tried to come back, but just couldn't get the big hoop to swing the momentum in their favor. With about 8 minutes left and the Pacers down 12, Granger had an and 1 shot around the hoop, but it didn't fall. He ended up only making on free throw. Then a couple of possessions later, the Pacers down 11, Tinsley has a good 3-ball look that would've put the crowd on its feet and cut the lead to 8. The mics picked up the clank and a minute later the Pacers were down 16 again. They were never able to mount a serious rall again.
- The Clips were playing the second of back-to-back games, but it obviously worked to their advantage. They were able to keep the momentum going from their nice win in Chicago. With three full days off, the Pacers winning momentum was long gone.
- Have to move on and get ready for a road trip Friday to take on the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats had a bad night themselves, losing 94-63 to Philly. Stick to the plan and keep working the plan.