Whew. Paul Silas is pissed. I mean he’s that “You lied to me and crashed the car and your 4 year old sister was in the back seat,” parent-style pissed. Disappointment coupled with incredulity and anger at the level of disappointment. The Indiana Pacers played a more physical style of ball that the Bobcats weren’t ready for and weren’t used to at Indianapolis tonight.
The first half was good. I mean, it was as good a first half as you’ll see from a team who ends up losing by 22 points. The Charlotte Bobcats came back after halftime and it did not matter. It didn’t matter whatever happened, whatever the Bobcats wanted to do, what the defense was going to be, what lineups were in, it didn’t matter; the Pacers determined the outcome of the game.
The Bobcats, literally and figuritively, got kicked in the nuts tonight. Excuse my vulgarities, pissed and kicked in the nuts all before the jump but these are the facts of the game and the post game presser from Coach Silas. To be up by 6 at the half but to have your score DOUBLED in the second half? That’s getting kicked square in the nuts. Tyrus Thomas was providing perimeter defense on Indy’s Dahntay Jones, when Jones went up for his shot and did that ridiculous Reggie Miller kick while he was in the air, he caught Thomas right in the mommy-daddy buttons.
I can’t even describe the physicality that the Pacers exuded over the Bobcats that they, not only couldn’t answer, they couldn’t avoid and couldn’t oppose in some sort of counterpunch that made any sense. It was like the Roberto Duran fight, the Pacers were Sugar Ray Leonard and the Bobcats were Duran saying “No Mas…”
The game started with an interesting starting line-up change for the Bobcats. With Corey Maggette out, against the Hawks, Paul Silas started Boris Diaw, D.J. White, D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown (Maggette’s replacement). I think the thought process was likely “Biggest dude in the league in Roy Hibbert, better put Diop out there!” So, take out Derrick Brown, he only had 17 minutes or something last night anyway; insert Tyrus Thomas. Move Boris Diaw to the other forward, leaving D.J. White out of the lineup in his college “home town” and Desagana Diop in at Center. Right? Makes sense. Get Tyrus going early, Diop on Hibbert… It worked, I guess.
Diop is just so out of shape. 17 minutes, 4 points, thankfully no free throw attempts, so he wasn’t so much embarrassed in that way. Byron Mullens played a good bit, but as a back-up against back-ups so he was able to get his points (10), he even got a block and 11 rebounds, which is good to see from a seven-footer. Bismack Biyombo scored 4 points, 4 rebounds and a block. So, let’s see, that’s 18 points between the 3 guys that are considered centers on the Bobcats roster. But Roy Hibbert had 20…so there’s that.
The most pissed I saw out of Paul Silas was when someone asked him some extensive, barely audible on the TV feed, question about Boris Diaw. Coach Silas just said “I’m done talking about him.” Wow. 2 points for Boris, in his “more natural” position. He had two of everything, assists, rebounds, blocks, but 3 turnovers and 6 fouls, which of course, the 6th of which came with ample time left in the game. Open jumpers aren’t his thing. I don’t get it, maybe Larry Brown scarred him but you know D’Antoni in Phoenix and Paul Silas are just about the most apt coaches at green-lighting shots, so it’s on Boris. Maybe we should check the French population in Indianapolis?
The game was in their hands. It’s almost as if the Pacers were rope-a-doping the Bobcats, to make for my second boxing simile of the post. They let the Bobcats get their punches in all the first half, but then the second half, they just ended it. Gerald Henderson got a frustration technical. Diaw fouled out with almost 3 minutes left. The Bobcats attempted 10 more field goals than the Pacers but also missed 10 more than the Pacers. 32.6% to 50.6% in the FG% department.
I’d be pissed too, if I expected more, which, if I had been home to see more of the first half, I would have. I was just here for the collapse and to me, it looks like a young team that didn’t care to get into all that “hard” playing. “We’re little guys, we’re finesse players, all this beating and banging is beneath us somehow.” If that’s the way these guys want to play, especially when faced with such physicality out of an opposing team, they better do a lot of other things, like outside shooting or cuts and drawing fouls or taking charges, really, really well.