And so the beat goes on.
How did we lose this one, let me count the ways:
-- JT simply does not show up, in any aspect
-- Cousins finds a good thing, that he can drive on Hibbert, and stupidly does it again and again and again, even wehn Hibbert backs off him 6 feet and gives him the open jumper, even when Hibbert isn't even on the floor, Mahimi is
-- Marcus alternates between not being able to get any shots, and making sure he took one whenever he got it
-- Brooks insists on constantly helping off of Hill even with Hill being the Pacers other big gun of the night
-- Salmons and Marcus take turns 1 on 1 heroing it late
-- rotations are a hot mess again
-- Jimmer gets killed on defense in 4th
-- nobody, not JT, certainly not TRob, and not even Hayes, is able to slow David West
-- our best guy is sitting over there in street clothes, and so we rely on short bursts from our 11th man, 12th man, and worst starter to keep ourselves alive.
We could have won this I suppose, but it wasn't pretty to watch, and it won't be pretty to grade.
Stats: 28min 9pts (2-4, 0-2, 5-6) 5reb 3ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( B- ) -- did very little early, except one nice drive and dish to TRob for his lone first half dunk. Did actually grab several first half rebounds however, which already put him ahead of last game. Out of halftime immediately went to a 1 on 1 pullup that dropped in -- was that called by the coaches? Our big halftime start the third quarter play was to draw up a 1 on 1 midrange jumepr for John Salmons? Dunno. And hey, maybe it was a good idea as all of a sudden John became like evrey other King with a green light and started fancying himself a goto guy, and actually produced a little surge of points for us. Even hustled for a board in the late third, beating Green to it (not the greatest feat, but when Salmosn grabs a board, you notice, and he seemed to be making a concerted effort this time, perhaps after some comments in the film room about his last game). Lost most of his late minutes to Johnson, as our rotations were no better than ever. Gets the extra half tick here for George never doing anything against us, although you'd be hardpressed to point to the bits of that were directly attributable to John.
Stats: 22min 3pts (1-3, 0-0, 1-1) 3reb 1ast 0stl 0blk 1TO
Thompson ( F ) -- and so great, the closest thing we've had to a consistent player suddenly goes weak sister on us in back to back winnable games. Hey Jason! When opposing power forwards put up 54pts 35rebs against you in back to back games, you aren't doing your job. At all. Had about 4 minutes of good play to start the game, starting wiht a solid post move/fadeaway jumper and got the +1 on it, and showing good reactions on the help block on the other end. Unfortunately got into quick foul trouble and I don't know whether oh noes having 2 fouls was jsut too much for his mental toughness or what, but he just got destroyed from that point on. Did not rebound at all. Again. Got absolutely worked over by West in the post and out retunring late in the half. Was so bad that we went to TRob and then Hayes late rather than throw Jaosn back out to be slaughtered some more. No explanation for this.
Stats: 32min 19pts (5-17, 0-0, 9-10) 16reb 1ast 2stl 0blk 2TO
Cousins ( C+ ) -- you know, there was actually a good game trapped in here trying to get out, but Boogie was just too dumb to make it happen. The strategy was clear from the beginning, as ratehr than bang around in the middle with these big centers, Boogie was pulled up high the entire game drifting around on pick action looking for long jumpers, and then in what should have been a great development discovering that he could flat outmobile Hibbert and taking him off the dribble to the hoop. Unfortunately that discovery seemed to detroy his own mental approach, as he first tried just slamming inside into Hibbert's chest at full speed looking for fouls, eventually figured it out with some very physical drives at slight angles to get to the line, and then for the rest of the game virtually refused to do anything else, no matter how the defense was playing him, or whatehr Hibbert was in or out. Holy one dimensionality Batman. And for no reason either -- Hibbert could not guard him and he could have mixed open jumpers and surprise drives all ngiht long to a huge night. Instead it got fugly and inefficient again, and one more time purely a head on up problem. On the more positive side, played very phsycially inside, and got back into a very tough rebounding mode, blocking out fiercely and dominating Hibbert, who just signed a max contract this summer and is making Indiana regret it. On one great play pulled down a strong rebound, dribbled it out of the paing, and then hit Thornton with a great pass ahead on the break layup. But just as he was starting to dominate the game, his self-enforced one simensionality rose up to bite us again, as the Pacers swapped in Ian Mahimi for Hibbert -- getting more mobile at center -- at Demarcus didn't react to it, continuing to try to force drives past him even though he no longer had the huge quickness edge. Result were some fugly forces that as they often do, triggered the Pacers the other way, and Boogie went to the bench. When he finally came back into the game at the 6 minute mark he scored on on a tough physical post attempt and there was hope he was going to close strong. But als Hibbert came back and Boogie went right back to forcing drive attempt after drive attempt into the teeth of a defense sagging 5 feet off him and waiting for it, passing up numerous wide open 18 foot jumpers in the process. I do not exaggerate when I say this could potentially have been a 30pt night in the hands of a brighter Boogie taking what was given. However, be that as it may, it was still a thudding night and a big one on the glass. It just should have been so much better.
Stats: 33min 15pts (5-11, 2-6, 3-3) 3reb 0ast 0stl 0blk 2TO
Thornton ( C- ) -- now Reke has been our best player for several weeks now, but still, after the announcement he was out you had to feel that at the very least we had a pretty capable backup to bring in as Marcus has averaged 19.5ppg as a starter throughout his career. Maybe it would even jar him out of his slump. Well as it turned out, maybe not. Started off promisingly showing quick hands to immediately deflect a George pass to create a turnover for us. But in an example of teamwide dysfunction as much as Marcus's he got the start, and ended up getting off a single shot the entire first quarter, missing it, and getting stripped from behind near the end of the quarter to start an Indy break for good measure. Finally got his first hoop with a three pointer with a minute to go in the half. In the third he and Brooks finally started to work with each other a little, setting each other up for back to back threes andputting up most of their numebrs in that quarter. But there were heavy doses of the dumb and the selfish hanigng over this one for Marcus. After a good drive in the mid 3rd to retie it, he promptly got overexited and othrew up a 1 on 1 airball. Later he just simply dropped the ball trying to handle it up top, and the Pacers went the other way again. Got to experience thepatented Smart freeze out in reverse as once again the starters sat and sat, and never a real factor late after returning. Really forcing shots and FTs in the final minute but got just enough points out of it to keep us breathing. And then after making a bad mistake the refs missed, appearing to foul Hill before the ball was even inbounded with 11 seconds to go, he and we got bailed out when Hill missed one of the FTs, opening the door for a game tying attempt. Agian though we loaded the court with shooters, and then did absolutely nothing wiht them, not passing the ball and just ending up wiht an off balance 24 foot Marcus chuck that did not fall, and that was the game. Could have gto the same shot if we had put out a Chuck Hayes, James Johnson, Thomas Robinson, Travis Outlaw lineup. hard to call this even an average game for Marcus, as he looked out of sorts, starved of shots by the teamwide greenlight and antsy and selfish when he got the ball because of it, and just as far from the impact game we needed in place of Reke as you could get.
Stats: 30min 9pts (4-8, 1-2, 0-0) 2reb 1ast 1stl 0blk 3TO
Brooks ( D ) -- the stats will say that if nothing else he shot 50% again, but this was an ineffective performance offensively, and something worse defensively. Without Reke out there to run the offense while he played off the ball, struggled to get us into things as the lone ballhandler/passer -- he and MT did not work as backups together, and did not work any better as starters together. Had a few quick little bursts getting to spots on the floor with no effect early, but also was repeatedly stripped from behind as he appeared to beat guys and did not count on them catching back up form behind. Finally got his first hoop of the hald with a little quick dirbble pullup with 1:30 to go. Real issuies were on the other side, where he simply played terrible defense on george Hill all night long. Got shot over for the buzzer beating three to end the half, but on that one at least he was in the area. but time and time and time again he simply refused to stay glued to his man, getting scraped off on picks or constantly half diving back on post players leaving Hill out there for open shot after open shot. If your man is Jamal Tinsley as it was the other night, ok, you can justify it. But when you man is one fo the two guys winning the game for the opponent and you jsut refuse to guard him the entire game...your grade plummets. Bad decisionamking throughout, but for a stretch int he third he and Marcus began to play off of each other a little. Not sure which of them got selfish first to break the kumbaya moment, but it didn't last. Came up with drive the 2 minute mark to the lead back to 4, but it was isolated.