The Indiana Pacers loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night was the epitome of 1 of 82 games. There simply wasn't much there there when when the final buzzer sounded. The Pacers couldn't make point-blank shots early, fell behind and then Derrick Rose controlled the second half when the Pacers offense was only good enough to swap baskets with the visitors.
As amped up as the Fieldhouse was prior to the tip with a near capacity crowd including lots of Bulls' fans to spice it up, the place completely flat-lined in the second half. Even the Bulls' fans had to rouse themselves to show their appreciation as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
In fact, one of the highlights of the night that sticks out, literally and maybe because it scarred the psyche of everyone in attendance, was the adult tricycle race during a break in the action which included one contestant flashing the Fieldhouse faithful a text-book plumber's crack as he cruised around the track in last place.
Other than that, the vivid memories include missed shots by the home team and Rose making plays without having to shift into his spectacular gear.
As a sage hoops voice mentioned afterward, "So that's the difference between the first and second place teams in the Central Division." Yep, Bulls were too good and Rose was great. The Pacers have to play great to beat a good Bulls team but they didn't even play good so the game was bad. Follow.
Without much riveting action on the court, there were stretches of the game allowed the mind to wander and wonder about tweaking the point guard rotation.
If T.J. Ford's minutes are minimized with Darren Collison getting the bulk of the point guard minutes, why not run A.J. Price in that backup role for a stretch of games?
While I wouldn't mind seeing Lance Stephenson getting some spot minutes as the season continues, I'm more interested in seeing Juice get an extended look at the 12-15 minutes of second unit playing time.
It might be just the thing to buy Jim O'Brien some more time to make it through the season, despite the poor public perception of the coach right now. I personally would love to see just how Price would perform in that role which he will need to do next season. I could even live with a worst-case scenario where Price becomes a turnover machine, can no longer knock down perimeter shots and gets caught flat-footed on defense.
That's a risk I'm willing to take to shake up the status quo. Anything to pique my interest would be appreciated. Much like inserting Tyler Hansbrough into the starting lineup and taking the plastic wrap off Paul George's career changed the trajectory of the season's storyline to make things more interesting, working Price into the rotation would do the same thing.
Just slide T.J. Ford into a role similar to James Posey. If all else fails, Ford can play to relieve Collison of the heavy minutes on a tough night. Plus, if Juice fails miserably and is directly responsible for a series of losses, Ford will still be there. This suggestion in no way alters my expectations for wins and losses. Again, it's a low risk move considering the minutes involved in the conversation. And who knows, adding a little Juice to the rotation might *GASP* help the team.
This discussion may be a bit premature and might be more realistic after the trade deadline when Ford will either be moved or officially summer cap space. But as we sit here today, DC and Juice are the back court rotation of the future and if you haven't looked at a calendar lately, the future is now for the Pacers. Let 'em play.