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Rockets 106, Pacers 103: Pacers Come Up Short

The Indiana Pacers came up short with the game on the line Friday night. The Houston Rockets held on for the 106-103 win after the Pacers couldn't connect from downtown on two possession. Down one with seven seconds left, Travis Diener's 3-ball was just off. After a couple of Rocket free throws, the Pacers muddled through a final play that ended with a long, contested 3-ball from Mike Dunleavy that didn't even draw iron.

Once again, late game execution leaves me shaking my head. Granger had been hitting threes. Rush was also on the court. How come the ball doesn't touch their hands. Don't tell me they were guarded.

I seem to remember #31 going through unnatural strain to free himself for a chance at game winner (or game equalizer as the case may be). In fact, I just discussed this in the Q&A at The Dream Shake. The first thing that comes to mind with Reggie.

Closer. Reggie was a closer for the best Pacer teams. We've all lost track of the number of times everyone knew he would shoot the game deciding shot, we all moved to the edge of our seats, he freed himself for an open shot through sheer will, now we're standing, he received a pass, rose to launch a jumper as everone raised their arms, release, odd rotation, splash. Delirium! Take a bow. Enjoy the goose bumps, Dave. (Dave writes for TDS and loves Reg)
Yeah, the Pacers are missing that guy who will not only take the big shot, but is dying to take the shot and knows he's going to make it.

Other thoughts on the game:
  • Despite the frustrating ending, I really enjoyed the game. It was tight throughout and the Pacers played quite well at times.
  • Tip of the hat to former Purdue Boileremaker, Carl Landry. He ended up leading the Rockets with 22 points and played all the way down the stretch. Not only was he in there during crunch time, but he made several key buckets in that time. He was extra motivated with his college coach, Matt Painter and the rest of the Boiler hoop squad in attendance.
  • Was it just me, or did Tracy McGrady seem to float through most of the game? He had a few spurts here and there, but considering the Pacers troubles stopping dribble penetration I figured T-Mac would be taking it to the hole, setting up open jumpers for himself all night. He didn't appear interested in putting out that much effort. Maybe he was still sick.
  • Shawne Williams had a huge game! Shawne has really struggled lately, but with Jamaal Tinsley running the second unit Shawne knocked down some open threes and his confidence seemed to build with every make. Now if all these guys could just work their way into some consistent production every night, I think we'd be onto something.
  • Yes, Jamaal Tinsley came off the bench and he certainly wasn't 100%. In fact, he seemed to be plodding around out there. After playing a bit he reeled off a nice rotation in the second half, but he had no chance of slowing down the Rocket guards on defense.
  • Jeff Foster played real strong against Yao Ming. He kept pounding away on the mountain of a center and finished with 17 rebounds. Foster also had a few nice rolls to the bucket, getting the pass after a pick and beating Yao to the hoop.
  • So, if you're counting at home, that's five losses in a row. Tomorrow night, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic visit the Fieldhouse. Yet another frightening front court matchup for the Pacers, made even tougher since Foster had to work so hard tonight against Yao. Hopefully, O'B gives him the morning off to rest up. He's going to need it.