It's still only the first week of November, the leaves in Indiana are still clinging to their trees and the temperature is fluctuating 25 degrees on a daily basis. The NBA season is in its infancy. Therefore, it feels way too early to start frantically examining when the Pacers when will pick up their first win, right? Maybe? No one? Ok...
But when I take a gander at the schedule, that's what I'm starting to do. With the sizzling, Player of the Week Carmelo Anthony and his 3-0 Nuggets visiting Indy tonight, it's hard to pinpoint when the blue and gold really will have a legitimate shot at putting a "1" in the win column. Two of the next five opponents are undefeated (Nuggets, Celtics), one of them is a strong 2-1 (Wizards) and the other two are in the Pacers boat, rocking slightly enough to worry the passengers and make fans seasick (Knicks, Warriors).
This part of the schedule was supposed to be easy. Only one of the next five is not set in the comfy confines of Conseco "Reggie Miller" Fieldhouse. This was when the team could set itself apart from last season by beating the lowly teams (Knicks, Warriors), pull off an upset of an elite squad and maybe rock another home win to get the season going on a high note.
There's still hope for that. Tyler Hansbrough returns Friday. Granger's foot is hopefully getting better. And T.J. Ford has been hopefully entrenched at a point guard clinic on the off-days. So, let's hope this little home stand starts off tonight on the right foot.
To help us get a feel of the Pacers Nation, check out the jump for links on a multitude of subjects regarding the blue and gold, including the team's quest to lead the league in most discounted tickets. We're the Walmart of the NBA.
- Bruno previews tonight's game against the Nuggets. He notes that the Pacers are not surprised at all by the hot start by Anthony. I wasn't surprised either. After watching that second preseason game, I couldn't wait to nab Anthony in my fantasy basketball draft for a low auction price. So far, I look like a genius. Now, as for that T.J. Ford pick...let's move on. Bruno nabbed the following quote from coach Jim O'Brien about Melo's quick start
"He is a load. There's no other way of putting it. He's in remarkably good shape. He's a very powerful guy, a great one-on-one player, a terrific shooter, great driver of the basketball. We understand that. But we have to beat the Denver Nuggets and not necessarily beat Carmelo Anthony."
- Speaking of fantasy basketball, Pacers.com offers up some suggestions regarding players in the blue and gold. James Morris notes that Danny Granger and Troy Murphy are the only locks on the Pacers roster to put up valuable fantasy points.
Mike Wells of the IndyStar notes that the Pacers have seen at least one positive in the first two losses of the season and that's the aggressive style of newcomer Dahntay Jones, who will play his former team for the first time tonight (not counting preseason). However, the story also notes that he has a tendency to be too aggressive when he drives into the middle of traffic and has nowhere to go. Whether you choose to see that as a metaphor for the Pacers as an organization is up to you.
The Denver Post notes that the Nuggets' six-game road trip shouldn't be taken lightly even though four of their six opponents posted losing records last season. The problem? Denver lost in each of their arena's last year as well. So you're telling me there's a chance.
- RealGM's Andrew Perna breaks down the slow start to the season for the Pacers, while noticing that things looks awfully familiar to last year's campaign.
- I knew the Pacers slashed that ticket prices by a bundle, but who knew the price slashing was nearly more than double what anyone else did in the league last year. Reuters reports that the average NBA ticket price fell for the first time in eight years. Leading the way? Those run-and-gun Pacers, which cut prices 29.5 percent to an average of $30.02 per ticket. The next biggest decline came from the Nets, which lowered costs by 19 percent.
Eight Points, Nine Seconds links to the first edition of the Pacers Crate, a roundtable discussion featuring the intellects of Bruno, Chris Denari and Pacers Sage of Wisdom Mark Boyle.
- The Pacers dropped two spots in Mark Stein's latest ESPN Power Rankings. The blue and gold rank 25th, ahead of the Timberwolves and behind the Grizzlies -- two teams I was hoping would be in firmly in our rear-view mirror by now.