2003-2004 NBA Season

Michael D. Bunting

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What a post that was. I still think this one will somehow go 7 games. Been wrong before though


Croshere couldn't hit jack...Reggie wouldn't take jack...some of the fouls called on ONEAL weren't really fouls (not the reason they lost though) and that kept him from being a shot block threat in the 4th Q.

Poor shooting again:

FG's: .329
3PTFG's: .190
FT's: .611

No team can win anything when they shoot that poorly, the FT shooting was awful...and the 3 PT shooting was even worse (Tinsley and Croshere 0-8 combined !!!). Croshere didn't even score a FG on 0-7 shooting on the night.

Pathetic. I thought I had seen the worst of it last week, but this is a all-time low. What a time of year to be playing your worst basketball. Injuries are making things tough, but the guys who are not injured are playing lousy as well.

When Fred Jones is your leading scorer - well, I don't really have to finish that sentence do I?

I'd still rather be a Pacer and win or lose as a team than a 2004 Laker anyday. Call me crazy, that's fine too...I just look at Malone and Payton and laugh every time - let them have their ring (if they can even beat Minny?), just don't expect me to care.
 

Michael D. Bunting

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Detroit really hasn't proved anything at home, have they (neither team has) so I wouldn't be suprised to see Indy steal another one...but i wouldn't bet money on that either. Just hope it's a close game and comes down to the Pacers having a shot at it near the end.
 

Casey Trowbridg

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The clock runs to midnight tonight for the Timberwolves.


6 games is what I predicted and Minnesota won the 2 games I thought they'd win. But, tonight is serious. Tonight the Lakers are at home 8-0 this post season, and they'll be ready for the Timberwolves.

The keys to the game

Shaq Shaq Shaq and more Shaq. I also think getting the ball to Shaq will be huge, but not as huge as getting the ball to Shaq. I think you see my point.

Then, while you can't officially celebrate...put it this way, I haven't seen anything in the East series that leads me to believe that either team can beat L.A. 4 times in 7 games. I don't think I've really seen enough to be convinced that either team could beat Minnesota 4 times in 7 games to be honest. Don't get me wrong, Detroit on defense impresses me, but I wonder if they've got the ability to score enough points consistently night after night with the Lakers. Indiana doesn't stand a chance if they shoot like they did in games 1-3 and 5 in this series.

I'm still very happy because I had L.A./Detroit in the finals on that NBA.com thing Chris Farmer started and that can still happen.
 

Brian Perry

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I don't know if it's been mentioned or not, but I noticed that Detroit didn't force Ben and Rasheed to put their first initials on the backs of their jerseys, as is customary. They both simply say WALLACE. I applaud the move -- I always thought it was unfair to make players include an initial, especially in situations where one guy is a starter and the other guy is a bench warmer. Plus, in Detroit's case, I think most people can tell the two apart anyway.
 

Seth Paxton

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Indy just made the biggest statement of the year. Unfortunately they said "we aren't big time".

Okay, let me get this straight, you really want JAMAL taking 13 shots and JO taking TEN!!! Yes that is 10 FGAs for the guy that was 3rd in MVP. Didn't I just quote Reggie after game 3 talking about how they were going to get JO all these looks.

And wasn't Jamal himself talking about how hurt he was. So what the hell is the team doing running its scoring through him. He wasn't even the main option when he was healthy.


Now the truth for JO is that his knee is f'd up, and anyone that saw the reply from game 4 knows why. Its not right for a leg to bend that way. Heck, it wasn't right to WATCH a leg bend that way even. But if you are going to play then you need to be a part of the offense.


Not to excuse everything, but Austin did have a bad outside night. Of course DET countered, but then that's why I expect Indy to have something different to go with, a decoy using AC to sucker DET into working to stop that system only to get hit with a system meant to take advantage of that. After all the playoffs are about adjustment...or apparently not. I was letdown by Carlisle in that way a bit.

But what CHAMPIONSHIP team can't shoot FTS better than .611? Add to that a .190 from the three (although Tinsley brought 5 of those when his bum leg kept making the shot come up just short over and over) and you have a team that flat out can't shoot the outside ball....err, in their OWN gym?


DET interior defense is killing Indy's inside offense, and this is a big problem because Carlisle has been committed to getting INSIDE scoring.

And Rip beat Indy. Sheed had a good night based on his standards of late, but without Rip DET gets pasted. Why Indy didn't run MORE Fred Jones at them on offense when he clearly is back to full health and stroking the ball is beyond me, but it would seem to be the best antedote for Rip's scoring.

We also saw very little Bender.

The thing is the Pacers don't have a Rip really. But they do have something DET doesn't and that's a deep and diverse bench that can create just about any sort of positive mismatch a team could want. Maybe you have to work with a little bit of defense issues for some of them, but when you are playing a team with 1 scoring option (hey, take away 10 of Rips shots and give them to someone else and you have a chance last night) you can afford to run out some of these other looks.

But as I said, Rick found the AC connection and I guess he figured Brown wasn't going to look at tape or something.

I will say that DET sagged into the lane to the point of being 3-seconds illegal quite a bit without it being called. There is a reason for that rule, and this is it. A DET fan now might think "oh, that's BS" but wait till next week when you are screaming about Shaq hanging in the lane too long.

This was DETs answer to being pulled out of the lane by a guy like AC. Just don't follow. It worked.


Having said all that, this is my opinion from listening to the 1st quarter on the radio as well as part of the 3rd. You wouldn't believe (unless you are from Indy) my day

- at the track
- then leaving the track (here comes the big rains)
- finding out I left my headlights on
- finally getting a jump
- driving not just home (downtown) but 15 minutes south of there to get groceries
- no car radio because power out triggered the security code which I don't remember, so we can't find out what is going on at the track
- get home to find out the race is back on and the radar is now clear even though we were told in the morning that by 3 pm the end of the world as we know it was coming in terms of storms
- decide to haul ass back to the track (about 12 minutes from our place and how I drive and where I park)
- decide to park closer to cut the walk (mistake)
- catch the race from about lap 95 onward (great race, missed laps 27-95)
- the REAL horror storms roll at the end of the race and, I'm not kidding here, as we stand 50 feet in the air on a rickety stairwell leaving the upper stands we hear the TORNADO SIREN
- we walk the mile or so back to the car all the time getting poured on AND hearing on the radio about how the storms are coming right toward the track...there will be mass death if the twister comes through there
- parking spot is an F-up now because it leaves us stuck in traffic and I can't use my back way out of there
- so we are stuck at the track in a convertible with a twister coming for us and the game about to start
- twister go south of us (whew) but I spend about 1 hour longer leaving the track than I normally do (15 minutes normally, and could have saved 30 minutes if a cop let me make 1 left early on)
- hurray, get home, settle in, mid-third more horror storms and the DISH goes out...lucky for us there is no local TV coverage anymore

- finally comes back on and I wish it hadn't (I had been listening however)


Yes, that's a good time...if you like having your groin kicked in by life.


BTW, the twisters were very bad and did hit south Indy very hard, so it could have been worse and at least there is a game 6. But to be honest I think I will catch the Blink 182/No Doubt concert instead of staying home for the game like I was going to. That's how confident game 5 left me.


Could be wrong, but DET solved the only problem Indy has really given them. Rip will cool down, Indy will heat up some, but as long as they control the paint Indy will struggle to score.

I say more Fred and more Bender, but I doubt it will happen. Worse yet is that DET will only be better next year and I don't expect Indy to ever have the best record again. Basically, to me, this might have been their best shot. Had they been all over it then I could see more great chances to come, but when you fold I don't know any more.
 

Casey Trowbridg

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Seth, I gotta admit that was one bad day for you.

Your groine kicked in by life sounds very appropriate considering what happened.
 

Michael D. Bunting

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But as I said, Rick found the AC connection and I guess he figured Brown wasn't going to look at tape or something.
Seth, your points are exactly why I thought Carlisle WOULD NOT start Austin Croshere in Game 5. I thought he would have went back to Foster (who has hardly played this series) or maybe Harrington (who has played poorly and very well at different times this series) and really try to get the ball inside to JO, JF, & AH...and then used AC later in the game (2nd Quarter) as a substitution, versus starting him.

If Hamilton would not have been "On-Fire" NBA Jam style...I think this game goes down to the last few seconds before a winner is determined, but with Indy's poor shooting, that would still have probably been a Detroit Win last night.

Just gotta have hope that Hamilton doesn't get as hot in game 6 (as he did in game 5)...and hope there is a game 7 after that.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Detroit did what they absolutely had to do last night -- win Game 5 to have a chance at avoiding a Game 7 on the road. It's too bad that O'Neal and Tinsley are both playing hurt. I know how it feels to see your team falter this late in the season due to injuries. Detroit suffered the same fate in the conference finals last year when Billups was injured and was manhandled by Jason Kidd.

Hopefully the Pistons will finish this series up tomorrow at home. As I've said numerous times in this thread, they must avoid playing a Game 7 in Indy.

The thing is the Pacers don't have a Rip really. But they do have something DET doesn't and that's a deep and diverse bench that can create just about any sort of positive mismatch a team could want.
Indy's bench has been the most surprising, and impressive, part of their team to me. All the pre-series matchups mentioned the Pacers having the edge with their bench, but until I saw it for an entire series I didn't realize their bench was that good. After all, Detroit had a deep bench during the regular season, but it's been totally outplayed by Indy's subs. Fortunately, Detroit's starters are outplaying Indy's.

After this series, Rip Hamilton should no longer be the best-kept secret on this team. He played very well in last season's playoffs, and he's been the besrt player on the floor for this entire series for either team.
 

Carlo Medina

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Exactly the type of whistle-happy game that fans of *both* teams hate.

Congrats to the Wolves for a great season, an MVP season for KG, and for giving L.A. all it could handle. I totally agree with the announcers...KG took a huge step this year. They get either a healthy Cassell or 1 more two-way player (not offensive only players like Wally and Hoiberg) and that team is going to be challenging for a championship for years to come. Especially if the Lakers are dismantled in the offseason, which is looking more and more likely (and I'm a fan).

Congrats to the Lakers for overcoming the whistlehappy refs. It really dulled what was a great effort from both teams. Kareem Rush, man, that was the guy that dismantled my UCLA team in the NCAAs a few years back. I knew he could score but 6-7 from 3 is sick.

Thankfully Kobe didn't take it personally when things didn't go his way. He involved his teammates, the Lakers offense started through Shaq, and they played well enough to earn a return trip to the finals.
 

Casey Trowbridg

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That second quarter was awful, and one of the worst quarters of basketball I've seen out of this incarnation of the Lakers. They were in the penalty only 3 minutes in to the Quarter. Their lucky that didn't bite them in the ass more than it did, because Minnesota just did not miss from the charity stripe that quarter and throughout the whole game.

Kareem Rush, I love you 6 of 6 from downtown and 6-7 overall...big night for you, stepping up when it was needed most.

I have a lot of respect for the Timberwolves and for KG, as this was a hell of a series. If Cassel hadn't been injured, and if Troy Hudson had not been hurt earlier in the year, this might have been a different story. Personally, the Wolves have joined L.A. and San Antonio in the Western Power Elite now, with Dallas and Sacramento a level below. I still think that the Spurs were the more difficult matchup for L.A. this post season, but Minnesota played like they were champions also.

Now

Bring on the Least!
 

Casey Trowbridg

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One thing about that second quarter. I know better than to believe that it will shut up all the pro-Laker conspiracy nuts, but really...if you're conspiring to help said team win, you do not call 14 fouls on them in a single quarter, nor do you end up in a situation where the top 2 stars on the team have 3 and 4 fouls at the half. I'm sorry but there is no way calling all those fouls on L.A. helped them, tonight.

Of course, the nuts will simply say that this was one of those games designed to throw people off of the trail.

Unfortunately, and just as sad is that it might add fuel to the fire of the anti-Laker conspiracy nuts, who aren't any better than their pro-Laker conspiracy counterparts, in fact really they're worse...because if there were an anti-Laker conspiracy what are they doing winning 3 titles in a row and going to 4 finals in 5 years?

Sorry, I seem to be in a ranty place tonight.
 

george kaplan

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Re: officiating

That has to be one of the worst jobs of officiating I've ever seen. Still, I'll never believe such bad officiating (no matter which way it goes) is done on purpose, and while it'll look like it's going against one team or the other in the short run (i.e., a single game), in the long run, it all washes out.

I don't believe in conspiracies, I do believe that refs try to call the games honestly, I do think that even in a game as hard to call as NBA basketball, they basically do a good job.

So how do you explain officiating that bad? I don't know, but thank God officiating that bad is a fairly rare occurance. Bad officiating might not be that rare, but that bad is.
 

Carlo Medina

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Could you imagine if they called the East games that way (with their physical style of play)? They'd foul out both teams by halftime!
 

Seth Paxton

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but until I saw it for an entire series I didn't realize their bench was that good.
I understand how people don't fully grasp teams they don't watch from the normal Sportscenter coverage and stuff, but this is why I was going round and round with a ton of people months ago about Indy having the best bench.

They do, and its basically a fact. Harrington to me was not really a 6th man contender. I saw Detlef play off the bench and it was different. He could come in and control the game and would also then finish the 4th as well. However, the bench as a whole I think added to Al's rep.

This is not to say that their bench is perfect or anything, Bender and AC leave you with some defensive liabilities (although Bender SHOULD be as good as Prince in this way but isn't yet), but against the right matchup they can really hurt you without it just being a "lucky" night.

Remember that Fred Jones got hurt early against Miami and is only now back to speed (arm). He was THE REASON for several of Indy's wins over Boston and Miami and he can play very good DEF as well as shoot the 3. I think Indy will protect him before everyone but the starters and Harrington in the expansion draft. When Reggie retires, it will be Fred Jones going into the starting 2 spot.

AJ has been off and on, but he's not as good as Ollie was even, at least in running the offense and keeping things calm.

Now just consider this same team, but add Brad Miller. That's what Isiah couldn't win with.



Anyway, I really wanted Indy to get Rip out of the draft and when DET made the move for him I wished it was the Pacers. Tough to see him get away, especially now.

It's scary how much you can count on him to not hit the 3 (not strong enough) but to hit everything inside the arc, as well as getting his own semi-good shot. To me a pure shooter is the most valuable asset in the NBA.
 

Seth Paxton

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The game was called semi-tight, but I also thought both sides were physically aggressive and that's what it leads to.

However, if you are Minny and you have THAT situation and you lose...you deserved to lose. With Kobe, Karl and Shaq all getting into foul troubles there is no excuse not to attack them. Not for the foul but because they can't afford to play hard defense at that point.

Of course, let's be fair here, Rush did shoot the lights out in an almost inhuman way and certainly far outside his typical game. I don't think Lakers' fans sit around hoping the offense goes through Rush and Med.



Were the Lakers not one of the favs right from the start and recent defending champs then most people would be calling this a team of destiny. For example, were things like Kobe's late season heroics to save the division title, some of the late plays against Houston to avoid trouble there, the Fisher shot, and now the Rush shooting, all to happen to a team like Minny or Dallas or Jersey, people would be saying that the team was just destined to win it despite their own shortcomings.

The fact is that LA has been VERY vulnerable and has somehow dodged bullets many times. Last night was a cannonball of a bullet even. They were screwed and headed back to Minny for game 7 without Rush's 3's. As screwed as Duncan's last second "game winner" had left them IMO.

But the miracle's keep coming and that makes it hard to deny the almost supernatural momentum that is behind this team, and this is a team that really didn't need that kind of help.


I like how both East teams matchup against LA, but neither has the offense to win it. DET has only Rip and while Indy has many options none of them seem to locked on right now (JO a bit and Jones last couple of games). Indy's bad shooting has them on the verge of elimination even.


As I said before, I'm TIVOing the game and catching the Blink/No Doubt concert. If it happens it happens (and it can and has in game 4), but if it's going to be a loss I can at least minimize my suffering for a day.




BTW, while we are talking about the new powers and whatnot, lets not forget that some of these deep teams (Indy included) are likely to lose a quality player with the expansion draft. Add to that the realignment and I think next season looks fairly different from this season. Not sure how exactly.
 

Scott Merryfield

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BTW, while we are talking about the new powers and whatnot, lets not forget that some of these deep teams (Indy included) are likely to lose a quality player with the expansion draft.
The Pistons shouldn't lose any player of consequence in the expansion draft. However, free agency and the salary cap may be their undoing. Both Rasheed and Okur will be free agents, and it looks like Detroit will only be able to keep one of them. Their only hope to keep both is that (1) they can sign Rasheed for less than the max salary (which looks like it may be possible), (2) they can convince expansion Charlotte to take Corliss Williamson's salary off their hands in the expansion draft, and (3) they can convince Okur to play for Brown again despite being buried on the bench in the playoffs.
 

Casey Trowbridg

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The Expansion draft is interesting...it can be a chance for some teams to leave unprotected some of their awful contracts, and then it will be up to Charlotte to not be stupid enough to take some of them on. I had forgotten about that until Seth mentioned it though.

As for next season

Atlanta
Charlotte
Miami
Orlando
and Washington.
That might not be very good at all.

I agree with Seth on his destony point also and never really thought about it until he said that but its true. If that were Dallas Minnesota or New Jersey getting all the breaks, that's what they'd be calling it alright. Not that it matters if people call them that or not, but it is just something interesting to consider.
 

Michael D. Bunting

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Too late on KA....

Kudos to the Pistons..I hope they can show the Lakers a thing or two somehow...but I think the lakers will take it in 4-5 games.

I would probably think that the Pacers and Pistons will be here again next season...so I'm looking forward to that.

P.S. Pacers Front Office: Please sign Brent Barry
 

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