Pacers down dozing Thunder 121-101
Maybe you don’t go to the Jay Z concert in Indianapolis last night, huh? As Royce so aptly predicted, this game wreaked of sleepwalking, playing down BELOW an opponent’s level and pretty much ruining all the good vibes that the Friday night destruction of the Raptors had created.
Awful, abysmal defense. Atrocious man-to-man, pathetic rotation and even worse help-side defense pretty much showed that this game was going to be ugly early on and it only got worse after halftime. When DJ White and Kevin Ollie get subbed in with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, your coach has officially waived the white flag and you know somebody’s down by 20.
Oh, and they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn from deep either. Is there anyone left who doesn’t fully appreciate James Harden’s playmaking and three point shooting coming off of the bench yet?
The Thunder got off to a horribly slow start and were it not for Jeff Green attacking the rim early on, this game would have gotten out of hand much sooner than it did. I’d like to thank Jeff Green for showing up to play today as he really seemed like the only starter who was awake and oriented from the tip, as his 20 points on 6-10 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block numbers showed. The rest of the starters…ugh.
32 points points combined. Yes, that includes Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Though I really did love Westbrook’s 0 points on 0-4 shooting, Durant’s 16 points on 4-16 shooting (1-6 from three) and his terrific 5 turnovers. That was special. Sure, Krstic let Hibbert have his way with him and only grabbed 1 rebound in 16 minutes, but he did score 8 points on 4-7 shooting and looked like he was trying to run the offense so at least he showed up on one end…kind of.
Thabo shot well…for him (8 points on 3-8 FG) but his defense was pretty non-existent and for T-bone that means that he’s going to be a detriment to the team because he will never score enough to balance out giving up easy buckets.
Did I mention every single Pacer starter was in double figures? Each one shooting better than 50% from the field. Again, the defense looked lost, scrambled to properly rotate to the open shooter or slasher and any time the Thunder looked like they might make a run to claw back into it, the Pacers made an easy layup at the other end or a wide open three pointer to crush that hope.
Finally, this is getting a bit ridiculous. I’m this close to telling Royce I’m done with recaps. I feel like some sick cyber curse on this team. But here’s how I’ll know if it’s time for Royce to takeover all the recaps in the playoffs: Did any of you actually wonder when the game got out of hand and the Pacers went up by 20 if I was the one who was recapping today’s game? You can be honest.
It’s easier to blame website writers for the junk we watched today than the team itself, right?
And Jay-Z. Don’t forget about him, too.
- The lone bright spots off of the bench in this mess were Eric Maynor and Serge Ibaka. I think Collison was still pretty peeved about Kansas getting bounced by Northern Iowa and it might have affected his game. But since there wasn’t a whole lot of good from the game, I’m giving Maynor and Ibaka their own bullets.
- Maynor played very well on the offensive end, netting 15 points on 7-13 shooting and dishing out 11 assists to 5 turnovers. I’ve said this before, but I think Maynor will be a starter in this league at some point so enjoy him while he’s here. He definitely hit the wall a bit a few weeks back, but he’s a steady and efficient floor general and a playoff team needs one of those at the helm so I expect some to come calling for him in a few years.
- Fresh off one of the nastiest and rim-rocking dunks I’ve ever seen, Ibaka took advantage of his extra minutes and put up 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, going 5-8 from the floor and getting 1 block in only 20 minutes. Like everyone else he struggled some with his defensive rotations and his help-side defense, but at least he was actually rotating and coming to help consistently. We can always count on Serge to bring some intensity.
- I’m beginning to really dislike some of Brooks’ choices with his lineup decisions (Keith starts clapping). Why take out Ibaka/not put him in sooner in the first half when that is usually when he plays his minutes and picks up the intensity of the club on both ends? I don’t get it and am honestly asking if anyone can provide me with an answer in case I missed something. No, really. Help me out here.
- For all of us who got excited about Weaver’s excellent shooting from outside on Friday night, well he returned to earth. 1-6 (1-5 from three) shooting is what keeps you out of a rotation when everyone is healthy.
I feel pretty horrible about this game after the tremendous high of hanging 71 points on the Raptors in Toronto in the first half only two nights ago. If you would have told me the Thunder would only win one of the three games on this road trip I probably would have asked you which starters (yes, that’s plural) got hurt and when would they return?
But I guess that’s exactly right in the end. Just replace “starters” with “defense” and it serves the same purpose.
So seriously, when is that defense going to get healthy again and return, boys?