Uh, yeah, about that good feeling I had before the game, I think it was a bad piece of fish I ate earlier in the day. The only good vibrations for the Pacers tonight in Dallas were from the rim, as a blue and gold clankfest broke out leading to a 116-97 road loss to the Mavericks.
Really, there isn't much to discuss here. In a nutshell, the Pacers started out with a great effort but just couldn't hit the good open shots they were getting. While the Mavericks were making shots early, the defensive effort for the Pacers let up a bit and the Mavs took advantage. Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse set the tone in the first half for the Mavs and found little resistance from the Pacers defense.
From a Pacers' perspective, this was a frustrating game to watch, and judging from the reactions of several Pacers, even more frustrating to play. Running up against a deeper team, that plays better and makes shots is a sure-fire recipe for no fun. Fortunately, there were a few little vignettes within the game that I found quite entertaining. Let me share.
- Did I mention the poor shooting? We're talking good open looks where you're thinking, nice, hit that...Ohhhh. The frustrating night was highlighted by Travis Diener's 0 for 9 night in which he missed great open looks. With each miss his frustration level rose until he finally let loose on the basket standard. One of those nights where everyone wanted to take out a little frustration on the nearest padded wall.
- Danny Granger's frustration level bubbled up a few times, as well. The guy has to get hammered to earn a whistle and tonight he had it. He actually showed me something though, when Jerry Stackhouse threw a comment his way after the two tangled. Granger was T'd up for something he said to Stack, but the way Danny went right at Stack was stunning. In fact, Danny backed down Stack with his words and demeanor, until Stack had a teammate in between them, then he (Stack) tried to play tough. A side of Danny we rarely see and I must say, I kind of enjoyed it.
- When Jason Kidd makes 3-balls, it just isn't fair. I mean, the guy doesn't need to shoot the ball to devastate. But, when he hits the open 3 all you can say is, mercy. Kidd made two long ones in the third quarter (one a two with a foot on the line) on consecutive trips which helped the Mavs seize the game for good.
- Ike Diogu made a nice impression when he joined the game in the fourth quarter after Danny Granger fouled out. Yeah, Danny's still stewing. Anyway, after a Dallas miss, Foster outlet the ball to Mike Dunleavy on the left side. Ike sprinted up the right side like he wanted to play more. Dun hit him in stride for a nasty one hand throw down as Jerry Stackhouse hammered him. Oh, no foul. Still, nice effort from Ike, as he finished with eight points in eight minutes.
- Okay, this last one needs youtube footage to really appreciate (actually, they have it on the highlights at NBA.com). The play was a pasty mess of a drive by Dirk Nowitzki at about the 3:15 mark of the second quarter. Dirk caught the ball at the left side of the key just outside the 3-point arc. Jeff Foster's feet tangled as Dirk went left, leaving Foster sprawled out on the court. Now, Dirk is a lot of things, but quick ain't one of them. So as he goes into his patented drive to the hoop, Troy Murphy, from the left wing, takes half a step and literally waves as Dirk goes by. Mike Dunleavy steps over late to help and just jumps up straight, sticking his chest up with his arms at his side. Meanwhile, Dirk finishes the play in a flourish of arms and legs flailing around, while rising roughly six inches off the ground. Smooth is a word that didn't come to mind.