Jim O'Brien is still waiting for his Pacer team to have that "aha experience" on the defensive end of the floor. On Wednesday night, the Pacers had another "uh-oh experience" that ended in a 117-99 loss to the streaking Houston Rockets.
So gone is the good vibe felt after winning two in a row, suddenly replaced with more familiar dread as the champion San Antonio Spurs wait to host the Pacers tomorrow night.
Random thoughts while picking up the pieces:
- The Rockets' win was their 16th in a row and you talk about a good vibe, those guys were falling all over each other trying to contribute to the kill. They were taking whatever the Pacers would give them and tonight the all you can eat buffet was offered.
- Yes, the Rockets were impressive but the Pacers' defense was pretty depressing. The Rockets had 93 points after three quarters. The Rockets just imposed their will in the second quarter, running up a 23-point lead at one point. Inside or outside, it didn't matter, the Pacers couldn't find a way to stop the fireworks.
- Tracy McGrady went off in the second quarter, hitting shots from all over. 23 of his 25 points were scored before the half. T-Mac led a barrage of 9 first half 3-balls by the Rockets.
- Mike Dunleavy's streak of 36-point games halted as his former Duke teammate, Shane Battier, made sure Dun's game came back down to Earth. Dun finished with 13 points and only attempted 9 FGs.
- With the current active roster, the Pacers will always struggle to win when Danny Granger and Dun combine to score only 30 points. With the Rockets bench outscoring the Pacers 49 to 35 the L is a given.
- Speaking of the bench, Flip Murray played some more significant minutes tonight. He finished with 14 points, but 8 of those were when the game was still in doubt. It is nice to have a guy who can create off the dribble and find a shot or a trip to the line.
- How will Flip impact Kareem Rush? Not good tonight, as Kareem only took five shots in 20 minutes of playing time.
- Stephen Graham was offered a 1:40 of critical burn when the wheels were coming off in the second quarter. He didn't really do much in that brief stint. Stevie did drop 3 3-balls in garbage time.
- I think I'll end this on a positive with a nod to Troy Murphy's continued consistent production. Murph kept the Pacers alive in the first half when the Rockets were lighting up the scoreboard. Murph ended with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.