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Pacers 100, Mavericks 93: Rookies Finish Strong

The Indiana Pacers avoided the third quarter malaise that had afflicted their play in the first three preseason games, and instead used a strong team effort in the second half Wednesday night to pull away and beat the visiting Dallas Mavericks, 100-93.

I was unable to watch this game although the call by Slick Leonard and Mark Boyle did conjure up the HD visuals. Still, while I can assess the good and the bad from listening, it is hard to pin down the truly ugly or beautiful results without seeing the context of plays and effort level of those involved.

Of course, I still have thoughts on the good and bad, so here it  goes in no particular order:

  • Bruno's Inside the Game recaps the key action with post-game quotes plus comments from Rick Carlisle and Shawne Williams on their return to the Fieldhouse.
  • Danny Granger played, which was good. He continued to shoot the ball poorly from the field, which was bad. He was able to get to the line, make his free throws and contribute 18 points, again, good. This is the type of off night Danny needs to have in order to raise his game to another level. Even if he doesn't have it going, find a way to grind out the much-needed production this team will desperately need.
  • Brandon Rush struggled in the first half, missing his first few shots and earning some concern from Slick for, again, floating through the game. JOB must've prodded him at the half because he stayed with it, started making some shots which seemed to raise the level of his all-around play. Rush finished with 15 points and played a big role in the second half success with his effort.
  • Roy Hibbert also finshed strong with a solid second half, helping the Pacers take control of the game. The only negative in Roy's line is the six turnovers, but as someone who has lauded Roy for his passing ability and confidence to make tough passes, it is hard to criticize him for turning the ball over with the same assertive play. This is a rookie testing the boundaries of his game. Roy will study each and every one of those six turnovers on film, analyze what happened and learn from the mistakes.
  • As for Hibbert's good play, he did finish with 15 points making several plays in the second half. It has already become apparent that when Roy is on the court, the defense will have to account for his presence otherwise he will make a killing finishing around the hoop.
  • T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack gave the Pacers plenty of solid play at PG albeit agains a Jason Kidd-less Mavs team. Ford finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assist in 21 minutes. Jack pumped in 10 points and 5 assists in 28 minutes. The two combined for 7 turnovers, most if not all in the first half. Jack's best play also came during the second half, doing his part to push the Pacers to the W.
  • My man, Stephen Graham saw some extended minutes and was quite active. Stevie didn't shoot real well but found other ways to contribute by collecting 8 rebounds and dropping 5 assists. Graham is fighting for his spot on the roster so it was good to see him put in a solid effort.
  • Considering the team as a whole, 21 turnovers accounts for far too many wasted possessions. Defensively, the effort improved in the second half, although for the most part is was bench vs. bench so there's not much to take away from this game with regard to the team.
  • Shawne Williams played extended minutes in the second half finishing with 4 points on 2 of 10 shooting. Had to be tough and strange for Shawne to play his first game with the Mavs back in the Fieldhouse.
  • Don't miss Duke's post game thoughts.
  • With Eddie Jones retiring, the Pacers may look to bring in another point guard. Sounds like Travis Diener will be on the shelf longer than expected so JOB wants to avoid wearing down Ford and Jack. Not sure where they will find a point guard at this point...wait, isn't Jam...uh, nevermind.