Going their separate ways?
It's official. The final seconds just ticked off in Orlando where the Magic took care of business and hung on to beat the Celtics. The Magic win combined with the Pacers 111-107 loss to the Nets earlier today has eliminated the Pacers from the playoffs for the first time in ten years. With two games to play, I'll save the full post-mortem on the season for later. As for today, I have some thoughts from my seat at the game.
- The day began with a quick free market lesson for my son. We were able to pay $50 on the street for $160 worth of tickets which allowed us to sit in the lower level about 15 rows behind Larry Joe Legend. Scalping is legal in Indy so good seats are cheap when the team struggles and demand is low. The game ended up being a sell out so we would've been sitting high in the upper level for about the same price if we went through the box office.
- The 40th Anniversary Team ceremony was a bit of a let down since only five of the 12 honorees were on the court together. J.O was in the locker room, and Reggie, Mark Jackson, both Davis boys, and Billy Knight weren't available.
- As for the game, the Pacers put up a solid effort on the offensive end. Unfortunately the Nets have an easy time exposing every weakness the Pacers try to hide. Vince Carter finished with 34 and could've had 60 if he was motivated. A few times he blew by Mike Dunleavy and reacted as though he needed a better challenge.
- Boston Nachbar punished the Pacers on several possessions including a few crucial fourth quarter scores that helped propel the Nets to the win.
- J.O. went out early with a couple of fouls and looked to be struggling again. Once he came back in the second quarter, though, he played solid the rest of the way finishing with 20 points and 3 blocks. Thanks for the effort, J.O.! Now go schedule your surgery and get healthy.
- Jamaal Tinsley started the game after missing the last five games with an elbow injury. He put in a good 25 minutes and gets some props for coming back against Jason Kidd. Not exactly the best match up for Tins.
- Granger, Dunleavy, and Murphy all had their moments shooting the ball. Granger's shot was a little off but all three contributed more than enough offensively for the Pacers. In crunch time, though, they were all quiet as church mice. Save for a Dunleavy free throw, the trio was on the court and scoreless over the last four minutes of the game. Say what you will about Tinsley, he at least grinds down the stretch and often finds ways to score even thought that is not his game.
- The Nets on the other had Vince Carter and Jason Kidd taking turns closing the game out with big buckets in the last two minutes.
- On the way home, Boyle mentioned that the Nets had two Hall of Famers to go to down the stretch in Kidd and Carter. That comment gave me pause because I don't think of Carter as HoF material at this point in his career. He seemed to have wasted some quality time in his career with his exit from Toronto and injuries. I will say this, though, VC is only 30 and now that his game is a little more grounded than it used to be he has an incredible veteran game. He has deep range and can stroke it all night if left open. There's still enough in the tank to get up around the rim when he needs to. He may earn his way into HoF discussions with another five to seven solid years playing smart veteran basketball.
- The Nets will be a tough out in the playoffs, no matter who they're matched up against. Sorry, I didn't mean to say the "P" word again.