The Pacers drew plenty of attention with their Game 1 win over the Cavaliers leading to plenty of coverage from NBA media. As usual, those who were not as surprised and knew something about the Pacers covered it best.
Among the great stuff out there are a couple of articles from the Indy Star with great reporting on Victor Oladipo and the Pacers defense. Lots of great stuff in both but here’s a tease.
Gregg Doyel writes about how Victor Oladipo found his game again, after getting roughed up by opponents following the All-Star break. As we discussed here, Nate McMillan has been a big influence on Vic’s big season and that includes working him through the rough stretch to find new ways to attack.
But after the All-Star break, Oladipo was slumping. On the outside, we were speculating about the wall. On the inside, Nate McMillan saw what was happening: Opposing teams were showing Oladipo a crowd. He summoned Oladipo to another meeting. Here, McMillan said. Try this.
Try this, McMillan was telling Oladipo: Get the ball and back up before the double team can come. How far back? As far as you want. Beyond shooting range. Back up, size up the defense and charge. Make the defender choose, McMillan was telling Oladipo: Move his feet and try beating you to the spot … or wave the white flag, backpedal as you approach, and let you dribble into an open 3-pointer.
Oladipo’s response? That smile.
Also from the Star, J. Michael writes about the Pacers defense and the team’s reluctance to take the easy way out by switching, instead constantly fighting over the top to avoid switching into bad matchups at all cost. Nate McMillan preaches that all his guys should strive to be two-way players and Dan Burke enforces the mind set. Al Jefferson summed up Dan Burke’s expectations quite nicely.
“We are more old school,” said Al Jefferson, a 14-year veteran off the bench. “D.B., he keeps it consistent. I remember last year guys wanted to switch. To be out there switching just to be switching, that’s the easy way out. Coaches not going to play that (expletive).”
Plenty more to digest on yet another off day, so check out the links: