When you closely follow a tough season like the Indiana Pacers are playing through right now, sometimes you lose track of just how far you've lowered the bar of expectations.
After three demoralizing losses in four days, my expectations for the Pacers' performance in Phoenix last night centered around the team getting home in one piece. Even with the Suns playing short-handed, the Pacers were playing their fourth game in five days against a team that would push the pace and likely push the Pacers around after wearing them out in the second half.
But when the Suns reached the point in the second half where they had the lead and could start pushing the Pacers all the way home, Earl Watson stood up pushed back. Watson lit a spark the shined a light on a fed up Pacers team that, for one night at least, showed some fight worth rooting for.
Fortunately they just pushed back, although since this is the Pacers, don't be surprised if David Stern decides Danny Granger should be suspended for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, Granger's efforts to use the juice from the dust up to deliver an homage to Reggie Miller came up short when his efforts to silence the boos he earned bounced off the rim. Granger was 2-6 when shooting to steal the game in the fourth quarter and in the end the Pacers are left with another loss.
But at least they showed some fight. See, severely lowered expectations. We were expecting the loss with no fight.
After the jump, a few links from the loss along with some great images via Bright Side Of The Sun.
- AP game report
PACERS: Inside the Game: Suns 113, Pacers 105
Bruno's Inside the Game report has all of the numbers, notes, quotes and highlights.
Pacers get fired up, still go 0-4 on trip
Mike Wells reports on the Pacers at least putting up a fight in the loss and stirring up a little hate from the road crowd.
O'Brien must go -- for the good of the bad Pacers
Bob Kravitz joins the chorus calling for Jim O'Brien to be fired. At this point, I say don't mess with a good thing. Best shot at top 5 pick may be to keep him around.
Suns show some fight in victory against Pacers
Paul Coro reports on the Suns winning despite the Pacers showing more spirit than expected.
Suns Bash Pacers In Feisty Battle: 113-105
Seth Pollack recaps the action from Phoenix.
Pacers show some fight - finally
Mike Wells finds the Pacers rallying around each other and rallying around the DVD player to see just what happened during the skrimish with the Suns.
- Paul Coro digs into the possible fallout from the skirmish for Channing Frye.
Ex-Carmel star shows value on trip
Mike Wells reports on Josh McRoberts taking advantage of some minutes and actually getting a little praise from Jim O'Brien.
No magic for Bird in Indiana
Gary Washburn digs into Larry Bird's trying time in Indy for the Boston Globe.
Here are some great images from the game last night via Max Simbron from Bright Side Of The Sun.
This block makes me so mad, I might go nuts later.
Hey, Dudley, if you're going to treat me like that at least buy me dinner first.
Hey, pick on someone your own size.
Easy big fella, these hands are registered lethal weapons in 15 U.S. states and Canada.
Once these coaches get between us, I'm really going to get mad!
Keep holding me back so I can keep posin'.
Let's get back to ball, baller.