Preview and Chat: The Indiana Pacers

Kurt —  February 2, 2007

Last time these two got together. The Lakers won pretty handily, 101-86, leading from the middle of the first quarter on and the game was never really in doubt. The Lakers did it on the strength of their starters — all five of the regular starters (Smush, Kobe, Walton, Odom and UPS) were at least a +16 and everyone but Smush scored in double digits.

That said, I’m not sure how much we can take from that game — the Lakers are without two of those starters and the Pacers look very different than the team the Lakers faced in December.

What about the new guys? It was just a couple weeks ago when the Pacers sent Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington to bother Nellie and the strip clubs in the Bay Area. In return they got Dunleavy Jr. Troy Murphy and Ike Diagu. The Pacers were one of the worst offenses in the NBA and these guys were expected to help change that. So, how have the newbies done?

We’ll start with the former Notre Dame star Murphy, who is averaging 28.2 minutes per game and is averaging 9.7 points and 10.5 rebounds in those games. He’s shooting 49.1% (eFG%) since the move, which is pretty much where he was at before. The one difference is rebounds, he’s grabbing 21.3% of the available boards since moving east, far better than with Golden State.

Then there is Mike Dunleavy Jr., who is playing 31 minutes a game and is averaging 11.2 points per game as a Pacer. The problem is he is shooting just 43.1% overall and 31.6% from three. He’s also rebounding less and clearly has yet to be comfortable in the offense.

I like Ike, but the people in Indianapolis probably don’t that way (of course, they may have been too focused on some little football game to notice). His minutes have dropped to 6 a game, he is shooting just 33% as a Pacer and his PER is a kicked-out-of-the-ABA level 1.99.

Guys who are playing well.
No shock, Jermaine O’Neal is a force. He remains one of the NBA’s elite and in the last 10 games he has been a 21 and 10 guy, although he is shooting just 42.5%. And, of course, there are the 3 blocks a game.

The guy to watch may be second-year man Danny Granger, who is stepping up. In his last 10 he is averaging 17 points and shooting 57.7%. His hot spot — Granger loves the right-corner three, where he is shooting 55% this season from beyond the arc. Can’t let him get a good look from there.

Things to look for. Last time these two faced each other, Kwame Brown and the Lakers did a solid job on O’Neal, who was a -28 but shot a respectable 50%, However, the rest of the Pacers were 21 of 51 on the night. The Lakers again need to shut down the supporting cast, Granger in particular.

The Pacers are one of the worst offensive teams in the league, even the Lakers should be able to keep them from scoring many points. The key will be to be efficient on offense, as the Pacers are one of the top 10 teams in the league in defensive efficiency. The Lakers were able to do that last time

Kwame Brown had a big game last meeting, scoring 17 on 8 of 12 shooting. The Lakers need something like that out of Bynum.

to Preview and Chat: The Indiana Pacers

  1. He was the most impressive Laker tonight. Look at the scoring. Look at the determined defense. Look at the steals.

    I’m not talking about Kobe. Almost everything was off for Kobe tonight. Not Lamar. Here’s not quite there yet.

    I’m talking about the Smusher!

    But don’t look too close.

    Directly or indirectly, the Smusher may have been responsible for more Pacer points than Laker points.


  2. WTF? we really had all the momentum in the world going into the 4th quarter. what an amazing run we had to end the 3rd quarter. but our 2nd team led by Lamar crumbled before our eyes and gave the Pacers all the momentum in the world in the first 5 minutes of the 4th. Lamar is ways off from his pre-injury self. He really had no rhythm in QB’ing our offense.

    A shame to waste an overall good defensive effort. friggin daryl armstrong the catalyst. not gonna sleep well thinking about this one tonight. Another one we had in our pocket.


  3. This is a game I give Phil a ‘thumbs down’ for his rigid policy of rotations. As I see it, he almost directly was responsible for this loss.

    Phil — “Who plays when?” is a question of the team we are playing and who’s playing well.

    Given the way the game went in the 1st 3 qtrs (see the start of the 2nd qtr), it was not much of a stretch to guess what would happen as the 4th qtr started with a wholesale substitution of our 2nd team. This is basketball 101.

    It was Phil’s decision not to rotate people in/out 1 by 1, but to do it all at once. When the momentum was lost so was the game.

    This one’s on you Phil!


  4. On Phil for sure… The beginning of the 4th quarter was a disgrace.

    One thing I need to point out… Brian Cook isn’t even trying hard on defense. No rotation from the weakside at all!

    At least Radman tries (being able to do it properly is a whole new thing), while Cook isn’t there at all.

    As for the Smusher… At least we get to see career night from a PG everytime the Lakers play…

    PS: Now that everyone has gone down, who seems to be the most missed player? Luke Walton…


  5. I TiVo all the games and watch them. Something I’ve started doing recently is rewinding and watching again after the opposing PG scores when Smush is on the court. Try it sometime.
    Most of the time Smush is going for steals and gets beat, or gets picked off on a screen way to easily or when the ball is in the post he turns his head to look and totally loses sight of his man who may end up on the other side of the court leaving some other teammate to run over to try to stop the shot.
    Smush just has bad fundamentals and no grasp of opening up to see the court while still seeing his own man.
    If he is doubling down on the post, and his man hits a shot, I don’t count that as bad D…unless he is guarding a deadly outside shooter.
    And then, when his man beats him for a basket, 9 out of 10 times, Smush tries to get one back on him and totally disrupts the flow with a bad shot or turnover.
    To me it’s questionable coaching any way you slice it. Either he has been taught the correct defensive principles and can’t or won’t apply them on the court OR when he has these mental lapses the coaches don’t yank him out of the game right away and point it out.
    I’m not saying that Smush is the whole problem with the team, BUT… he IS the problem at point guard.
    I would play Sascha or Farmar or Mo Evans over Smush.