The Indianapolis Indians' website has posted an article from AtBat Magazine that details a day in the life of Indians manager Trent Jewitt. It's very informative and a great read for any baseball fans.
As usual, the link is at the top of the post.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Use that link to read a good interview with the Indianapolis Indians' Hitting Coach, Hensley Meulens. Great interview that talks about his experience with the majors, the diversity you'll find in the dugout, along with baseball experiences in other countries.
Use the link at the beginning of the post to read the interview.
Monday, March 10, 2008
So by now, everyone is on the same bandwagon. We need to gut the Pacers so that in 2-3 years they'll be 50-60 game winners again and we can start going back to the games and keep telling everyone we love basketball because we live in Indiana. We can't lie to ourselves: we don't care if the team is full of thugs or not, as long as we're winning. Artest and Jackson didn't magically turn into madmen just in time for The Brawl, they had been crazy for a long time before that game... we just didn't care because the Pacers won games. Now that they aren't winning and us Indiana basketball lovers need a good reason to give outsiders as to why we have the lowest attendance in the league, we tell them "because the players are thugs."
Well no matter the reason, I've already given the Simons, Walsh, and Larry Legend Step 1 in rebuilding the franchise, and I'd be more than happy to help them with Step 2 if they need it. By the way, wouldn't Conseco Fieldhouse be a better place if it were full of these?
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The Sioux Falls stampede paid back the Ice (and then some) for a defeat at the hands of the Ice in South Dakota last week by getting a 4-3 win tonight in Indy. Robbie Vrolyk led the Stampede with 2 of their 4 goals while T.J. Syner, Ron Cramer and Paul Carey scored for the Ice.
The Ice lost to the Stampede last night as well, obviously due to my not being able to make either of the games because of road conditions. I'll try to serve my team better in the future.
Friday, March 7, 2008
The Indiana Ice went scoreless for the first time this season on a loss to the Sioux Falls Stampede, who scored 4 goals in the first of two games to be played in Indy this weekend against the Stampede. Apparently the Stampede were more excited for 1972 night than the Ice or their fans.
A preseason chat with Farm Director Kyle Stark
Here's a good interview with Kyle Stark, the Pirates' new Farm Director. Kyle comes to the Pirates from the Cleveland Indians and is a graduate of Ball State. The interview covers the Indians, Victory Field, and goes on to cover other aspects of Kyle's new job. Read up!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Flashback Friday 1972
Who? Sioux Falls Stampede vs Indiana Ice
Where? Pepsi Coliseum - Indianapolis, IN
When? 3-7-08 - 7:05pm
Friday night, when the Ice host the Sioux Falls Stampede at Pepsi Coliseum, the Ice will be having a special "Flashback Friday 1972" theme consisting of music from that year as well as trivia based on television shows and movies from 1972.
The Ice, coming off of a 5-1 win over Sioux City where T.J. Syner scored a hat trick, are playing a Sioux Falls team they beat only 8 days ago by a score of 2-1. John Kemp still leads the team in points with 58, followed by Gregory Squires with 57 and Paul Carey with 52.
I'm not going to post a recap of the Pacers-Rockets or Pacers-Spurs games because I'm still mad. Every time the Pacers win two-three games in a row, everyone gets excited and thinks that the Pacers are finally coming together only to get blown out and prove they were just pretending to be a real NBA team. I realize that Tinsley and O'Neal are hurt so you can't expect a lot, but the same thing happened last year to force Carlisle out and things have not changed with a new coach.
So if it's not the coach's fault, whose fault is it? The players' faults? It's easy to blame them because they're making millions of dollars and not winning, but I think the blame starts with Bird and Walsh. For the past few years we've been promised improvement through off-season and in-season trades, but it just hasn't happened. Maybe they just don't know where to start?
Well, first let's decide who we would keep. Granger for sure. Young, talented, and even though I would never try to build a team around him he would be able to fit into any plans for rebuilding the team. Who else? If we can sign him to a reasonable contract, Kareem Rush. Sure he jacks up a lot of 3s, but that's the only way the Pacers can stay in games and he hits them 42% of the time. It's a contract year for him and he'll undoubtably want more than the $700k a year he's pulling down now, but if we can sign him for 4-5 years at a fair price we should keep him.
Everyone else? Get rid of them. Blow the team up. Do whatever it takes to get Mike Conley from the Grizzlies (who don't seem to mind trading away their stars) and try to get as many 1st and 2nd round picks out of the other guys as you can. Tell Pacers fans the truth: It will probably be a few years before we are playing like it's 2003, but we're committed to building a young team who will come out and play their hardest for you. Come out and watch Mike Conley play in Conseco again! Who better to build your team around than a guy who grew up in Indiana and is going to sell tons of jerseys? And you won't have the problem of him getting bored of Indiana and wanting to start shooting people, because he grew up here and is already used to it.
So you have Mike Conley, Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, and Kareem Rush before the draft even happens. What Pacers fan isn't excited about this core already? What season ticket holder is going to give up his tickets and risk not having good seats 2-3 years from now when this team is running by everyone in the league? This team will be instantly fun to watch and will be a team Pacers fans can be proud of and grow to love.
Ok, so who do we draft? I say a guy who has proven to be a defensive stopper. We need a guy who can lock down the other team's best guard or forward. We'll probably never have someone as good as what Artest was in terms of the range of sizes he could defend, but we need to find someone who can take the other team's star out of the game.
So there's Step 1 Larry Legend. Go make this happen. I'll go order my Mike Conley Pacers jersey, now.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
The Pacers head to Texas tonight as they begin their three game road trip in the West. The first team the Pacers will face is the very focused Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets have been playing some of the best basketball in the league. Even with the loss of their All-Star center Yao Ming, they are still playing with high intensity every night. Houston has won their last 15 games in a row including their last three without Yao.
The Pacers have won two games in a row against the 76ers and Raptors, and have looked very well offensiviely during those games. Their only downfall is their defense, averaging 108.5 points given up in those two games.
To win tonights game the Pacers will have to find away to slow down Tracey McGrady and Rafer Alston. With Yao being out, they won't have to focus as much on scoring down low, but Dikembe Mutumbo is a big force defensively. Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy are both going to have to score above their average, and the bench is going to have to contribute as well. If Travis Diener and new acquisition "Flip" Murray can run an offensive that opens up shots for other players, the Pacers can keep it close. Now it just depends on how they want to play defensively to decide whether they win or lose.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Despite what is being posted on other Colts blogs, Tyler Brayton has signed a 2-year agreement with the Panthers, who offer him a better chance to start this coming season, according to Scout.com.
Although Polian has a history of drafting great defensive talent, recent pickups from free agency such as Corey Simon and Simeon Rice lead me to believe we aren't missing much by not signing Brayton.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 1-4 in Spring Training through March 4th, hopefully paving way for Indians players to step in. Top Prospect Andrew McCutchen has played in all five of the Pirates games totalling 11 at-bats. McCutchen is batting a little below average, but I believe he could still be on the Pirates 25-man roster this season.
Indians roster players Spring Training stats:
#71 T.J. Beam - 1 IP 1 R 1 BB 9.00 ERA
#61 Sean Burnett - 2 IP 1 R 1 SO 4.50 ERA
#69 Jessee Chavez - 1 IP 1 SO 0 ERA
#18 Masumi Kuwata - 1 IP 1 BB 0 ERA
#39 Brian Rogers - 1 IP 0 ERA
#70 Marino Salas - 0.2 IP 2 R 1 SO 27.00 ERA
#76 Josh Sharpless - 0.1 IP 2 R 1 BB 54.00 ERA
#72 Carlos Maldonado C 1 AB .000 AVG
#74 Andrew McCutchen OF 11 AB 3 H 3 R 1 2B .273 AVG
#77 Neil Walker C 4 AB 1 H 1 R .250 AVG
The Indians are having another "Opening Night Weather Guarantee", which promises every fan in attendance for Opening Night on April 11th a free ticket to another April home game if the temperature is under 60 degrees at the game's start.
Click here for more details!
Here's a great interview with the Indianapolis Indians' Chris Herndon, who is the director of marketing for the Indians. It covers Chris' favorite parts about Victory Field as well as his favorite on-field moments.
Click here for the interview.
Restricted free agent Ben Utecht, to whom the Colts offered a one-year, $927,000 tender on February 29th, will be visiting Cincinnati and New York in the coming week hoping to impress the management of those teams enough that they give him an offer sheet. If the Colts do not match an offer made to Utecht, then Utecht is able to leave the Colts and since Utecht was an undrafted free agent the Colts will receive no compensation.
My opinion on the Dallas Clark/Ben Utecht situation has already been discussed, and I hope we are able to keep Utecht on the roster as a more than suitable backup for Clark. I can see one of these teams putting tricky wording into the offer sheet like the Vikings and Seahawks did to each other in 2006. Stating on the offer sheet that Utecht will be the highest paid tight end at signing (which would be easy for the Jets and Bengals but impossible for the Colts) could be an easy way to 'steal' Utecht from the Colts.
The Colts (along with the Panthers) are attempting to sign former Oakland Raiders DE Tyler Brayton, who voided the final year of his contract to become a free agent.
Although Dwight Freeney (in only 9 games), Robenrt Mathis, Jeff Charleston (in only 13 games), and Keyunta Dawson all had better 2007 seasons than Brayton (who has only 6 sacks in his career and none in the last two seasons), the Colts are hoping Brayton will be an improved option as a backup DE than what we had available last year. If the Colts do end up signing him, I'm hoping having better teammates around him than he had at Oakland will improve his ability to get to the QB and stop the run.
Monday, March 3, 2008
NHL.com's 2008 Mid-Term Rankings
John Carlson is ranked 19th amongst Domestic Skaters according to Central Scouting Services' 2008 Mid-Term Rankings. Carlson currently is 5th in overall points for the Ice and most recently had an assist against the Sioux City Musketeers in the Ice's 5-1 win.
Matt Hoyle is ranked 16th amongst goalies according to the Central Scouting Services' 2008 Mid-Term Rankings. Hoyle has a record of 10-3 with 443 saves in just 17 games. Hoyle's most recent win was against Sioux Falls where he had 40 saves and allowed only one goal.
Remember, the best way to keep up on these great players is to go to the games. The second best way is to keep coming back to Indy Sports Update!
The Colts gave DT Ed Johnson a a one-year, $370,000 contract Saturday but did not offer a contract to Craphonso Thorpe. Thorpe is now a free agent, but he could be back with the Colts on the practice squad if he isn't picked up by another team.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Yesterday, the Pacers reported signing veteran Ronald "Flip" Murrary to a contract through the end of the season. Murray payed in 19 games this year with Detroit before being waved on February 22. This season he is averaging 7.5 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.9 rebounds. Murray will play Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
"This late in the season, we're fortunate to be able to pick up someone who can contribute to our run for a playoff spot," said Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien. "He's a welcome addition to the Indiana Pacers."
Saturday, March 1, 2008
The Ice outscored Sioux City 5-1 tonight with some help from Paul Carey and Rom Cramer who had a goal a piece and from T.J. Syner who had a hat trick (one goal in the first period, two more in the third.) That means the Ice went 2-0 on their road trip and get to rest until March 7th when they host Sioux Falls at home, then host the Stampede again the next night. Scott Darling had 27 saves for the Ice.
The Ice are currently on a 4 game win streak. Their longest win streak this season was 7 games.
Friday, February 29, 2008
The Ice beat the Sioux Falls Stampede 2-1 tonight to start the first half of their road trip out west in a good way. John Kemp and Paul Carey both scored for the Ice while goalie Matt Hoyle had 40 saves and only allowed one goal.
The Ice will finish their road trip tomorrow night in Sioux City, Iowa against the Sioux City Musketeers.
The Indiana Pacers surprised everyone tonight, snapping their three game losing streak with a big win over the Toronto Raptors. Chris Bosh leaving the game after only 9 minutes of play certainly didn't help the Raptors any, but that doesn't change the fact that the Pacers played good team basketball.
Personally, I thought the Pacers were going to struggle tonight against the Raptors. I did also think Marquis Daniels was going to be out with a sore back, but he did end up playing and contributed 12 points. 'Super' Rush played 41 of the 48 minutes and had 23 points and 9 total rebounds. Rush did shoot 10 three pointers like I said he must, and he made 4 of them. The star of tonights game though, was Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy had 36 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on 38 minutes of play. He was 11-19 from the field including 6-9 on three pointers.
The Pacers had six of their nine players score in double digits tonight, showing they were playing good team basketball. If the Pacers are going to win, sharing the ball, finding the open man, and making the open shot is what they have to do. They did miss a lot of open three's, but what NBA team doesn't?
The Pacers have an off day tomorrow, then return home on Sunday to play the 22-36 Milwaukee Bucks.
I know it's been over a week now since Dallas Clark signed the contract that made him the richest TE in the league. It's a 6 year $36 million contract that pays him $27 million over the first three years and could include an extra $5 million in incentives. It's great that we get to keep Clark on the team as he's obviously a favorite receiver for Peyton Manning, but at what point do we stop paying good players more than any other player in the league? What makes Dallas Clark so irreplaceable in our system, especially when the stats show he's not too far of an upgrade above Ben Utecht who is also a free agent, but could be kept for much less? What makes Dallas Clark different than Marcus Pollard (remember him?) Well I'm going to break down Clark's stats over the last two years and compare him to our other receivers and tight ends, then compare his stats and contract to those of other tight ends in the league. I'll finish with my opinion on this subject and let you come to your own conclusion based on my research or research you do on your own.
First, let's go back to 2006. This was a 'normal' Colts season with Harrison and Wayne playing all 16 games without being injured. Harrison had 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns while Wayne had 1,310 yards and 9 touchdowns of his own. The leading receiving TE that year? Ben Utecht, with 377 yards to Dallas Clark's 367. Of course, Utecht did play 15 games to Clark's 12, and had 37 receptions to Clark's 30, but Utecht was was the third leading receiver in terms of yardage for the 2006 season. Fletcher, Manning's third tight end option, ended up with 202 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games. Let's compare their stats for the 2006 season a little more closely:
Ben Utecht: 37 receptions, 377 yards, 10.2 yards per reception, 25.1 yards per game, averaged 5 yards after the catch, had 18 1st downs but did not have any touchdowns.
Bryan Fletcher: 18 receptions, 202 yards, 11.2 yards per reception, 13.5 yards per game, averaged 4.8 yards after the catch, had 12 first downs and 2 touchdowns.
Dallas Clark: 30 receptions, 367 yards, 12.2 yards per reception, 30.6 yards per game, averaged 4.6 yards after the catch, had 22 first downs, and had 4 touchdowns.
Dallas Clark, even though he missed 4 games, had 4 of Manning's 31 touchdowns that season. Utecht, whose receiving stats were similar even with less receptions per game than Clark, was unable to score in 2006 even while averaging more yards after the catch. Fletcher's stats, on a much lower amount of receptions, are closer to Clark's than even Utecht's were in terms of yards per reception and yards after the catch. He even had 2 touchdowns to Clark's 4. What if Fletcher and Utecht had Clark's 30 receptions to play with at their current averages in terms of yards per reception and the number of first downs they earned?
Utecht (what if...): 15 games, 581 yards, 38.76 yards per game, and 31 1st downs.
Fletcher (what if...): 15 games, 312 yards, 20.8 yards per game, and 21 1st downs.
I'm basing the above stats on the assumption that Clark's 30 receptions were due to designed plays or breakdowns in the defense that Utecht or Fletcher would have also been able to take advantage of. I'd also be willing to throw in Clark's touchdowns to either Utecht or Fletcher based on those same assumptions. What do we give up in terms of yardage based on these assumptions? 53 yards. Doesn't seem too bad to me (once again, based on my own assumptions.)
Let's fast forward to 2007... which was an above-average year for Dallas Clark. With Harrison out for 11 games and often being able to line up in Harrison's abandoned position on the field, Clark took advantage of the loss of both Harrison and Stokley (who was replaced by the rookie Gonzalez) to move up to second on the team in receiving yards and first on the team (and NFL tight ends) in touchdowns. Let's look at the stats for all of the Colts' tight ends for 2007:
Clark: 58 receptions, 616 yards, 41.1 yards per game, averaged 3.8 yards after the catch, had 37 1st downs, and 11 touchdowns.
Utecht: 31 receptions, 374 yards, 26 yards per game, 11.7 yards per catch, averaged 5.6 yards after the catch, had 20 1st downs, and 1 touchdown.
Fletcher: 18 receptions, 143 yards, 9.5 yards per game, 7.9 yards per catch, averaged 2.7 yards after the catch, had 10 1st downs, and 0 touchdowns.
With nearly the same amount of receptions, Fletcher's stats went down noticeably while Utecht remained consistent with his previous year's numbers while adding a touchdown. Clark's 616 yards weren't enough to match Wayne's yards from the previous year when Wayne was second on the team in yardage which is one of the reasons why the team averaged 80 less receiving yards per game.
So with such a great season by Clark, who lead EVERY NFL tight end in touch downs, he must have been a shoe-in for the Pro Bowl, right? Second leading receiver for the 13-3 Colts, led the team in touchdowns? Well, let's see how he and the $6 million a year he earned compared to other tight ends this year:
Antonio Gates: $4 million, 75 receptions, 984 yards, 54 1st downs, and 9 touchdowns
Tony Gonzalez: $4 million, 99 receptions, 1,172 yards, 59 1st downs, and 5 touchdowns
Jason Witten: $4.8 million, 96 receptions, 1,145 yards, 56 1st downs, and 7 touchdowns
Chris Cooley: $5 million, 66 receptions, 786 yards, 46 1st downs, 8 touchdowns
Kellen Winslow: $4.5 million, 82 receptions, 1,106 yards, 56 1st downs, 5 touchdowns
Heath Miller: $1.4 million, 47 receptions, 566 yards, 32 1st downs, 7 touchdowns
The only player on that list you can legitimately say had a worst year than Dallas Clark was Heath Miller, and his stats were very close in both yardage and touchdowns to Clark's. So why are we paying Clark almost four times as much as Heath Miller is being paid for almost the same stats? And in a year when Clark's stats were distorted because of the lack of a veteran true wide receiver to backup Marvin Harrison?
With Harrison coming back next year at full strength and with the Colts most likely picking Harrison's replacement in this year's draft or the next, why would we pay Dallas Clark more money than any other tight end in the league when we have Ben Utecht as a more than suitable replacement that would demand much less money? The Colts' philosophy in the past has been to put the most emphasis on drafting well and signing released or undrafted rookies to bring into our system and then replace veterans going into free agency with these players. Players like Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, and Dwight Freeney have shown that they are far and away much better at their position than anyone else on the team and therefore deserve the contracts that they received (and even I think Dwight Freeney's contract may have been pushing it.) So why Dallas Clark? Maybe it's because he tied with Braylon Edwards last year for most dropped passes in the NFL among all wide receivers. Maybe it's because Manning, for some strange reason, trusts Clark over the other tight ends even though they've proven they can produce the same numbers as him in an average year.
So what's my opinion? By now I think it's pretty clear that I think Clark is being overpaid and the Colts made a mistake by signing him to 6 more years. He is getting paid more than tight ends that out-produce him year after year and he's eating up cap room that we could use to bring in both his replacements and replacements for Harrison and other aging players. Am I glad he's on the team? Yes. Will I cheer for him to be successful? Yes, just like I do every Colts player. Do I think he's worth 6 years, $36 million? No, not even close.
The Pacers (22-36) head to Toronto tonight to play the Toronto Raptors. (32-24) The Pacers will be without five different players as O'neal and Tinsley are still injured, Granger is suspended for striking a Bulls player, Marquis Daniels has a sore back, and Shawne Williams was left home for his personal issues. What does that tell us? Super Rush is in the starting lineup!
Kareem 'Super' Rush will look to point the Pacers in the right direction tonight as he will be starting at shooting guard. In the last meeting with the Raptors on Feb. 25, Rush scored 13 points in 38 minutes of playing time. He went 5-11 from the field including 3-6 from three.
The Raptors seem to be running in stride as they have won 4 of their last 6 games and 4 in a row at home. Since the All-Star game Chris Bosh has been averaging 26.4 points and showing that video of his wasn't the only reason he was voted onto the team.
Key to the Game:
The key to tonights game is Ike Diogu, Andre Ownes, Stephen Graham, and David Harrison. Those 4 guys are the players coming off of the bench tonight. In the last game against the Raptors, David Harrison was the only one of those four who played and only played for 5 minutes. The only way the Pacers win tonight is if Super Rush plays every minute of the whole game and shoots at least 10 3's.
Indy Star Sports
This is a great idea! You have a player who lets people of questionable morals into his home (and has to leave games at halftime because of it) so when you head up to Toronto to play the Raptors, you leave him behind. I understand thinking that he might need to deal with certain issues, but did the police even charge him with anything? One thing we've learned is that certain types of people of a certain type of character don't change just because they are caught doing something wrong or are punished by their bosses. The Pacers need to decide right now if they are going to play these types of players for the rest of the season, or put them on the bench and bring in NBDL players.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I'll go into this deeper tomorrow in terms of the production these two guys had while healthy compared to Dallas Clark, as well as comparing Dallas Clark's production to that of the other tight ends like Fletcher and Utecht (who are also up for new contracts.)
My first reaction? Business as usual for the Colts. Cut a guy who has been hurt or under-performing while taking up too much cap room, and replace him with someone who is still on their first contract. We'll see how I feel tomorrow when I actually sit down and look at the numbers.
As we speak, the Indiana Ice are in their top-secret training facility preparing to dominate the Sioux Falls Stampede tomorrow in all aspects of the game of hockey. I have no idea what any of those aspects are besides scoring goals and stopping the other team from scoring, but the Indiana Ice know what they need to do to win and they are prepared to unleash their wrath. To prepare you all for tomorrow's game, here's a picture of the Ice's Gregory Squires who is second on the team in total points (one point behind the amazing John Kemp) and the player for the Indiana Ice who dresses the most like Colonel Sanders:
So I decided to go ahead and figure out what the Pacers' record would be if they only played 1 quarter, 2 quarters, 3 quarters, 4 quarters, or 4 quarters with one overtime. Here are the results:
Record playing one quarter:
29 wins, 24 losses, 5 ties
Record playing two quarters:
27 wins, 29 losses, 2 ties
Record playing three quarters:
24 wins, 29 losses, 5 ties
Record playing four quarters:
21 wins, 34 losses, 3 ties
Record playing four quarters with one overtime period:
1 win, 2 losses
So after looking at these stats, here's my un-professional opinion... if you're going to go to a Pacers game, chances are they are only going to win the first quarter so unless there is a great sale on nachos you should probably leave before the second quarter starts and celebrate like the Pacers can win at home.
Mike Wells guessed in his recap of the latest Pacers game that the Pacers would have a winning record if they played for only three quarters. I decided to investigate, and this is what I found:
The Pacers' current record is 22-36, but after 58 games of only playing three quarters their record would still only be 24-29-5 The fact that their five ties would have to go into overtime (or in this case the fourth quarter), along with the fact that the Pacers have only come from behind in the fourth quarter to win games just a few times, leads me to believe that those five ties should be at least three more losses for the Pacers. Several players and even Coach O'Brien have said that they lose games in the fourth quarter, but it's just not true.
So what is to blame? "Mental toughness", which O'Brien blamed the losses for last night? Could it be that the Pacers just lack the endurance to play hard for the full 48 minutes? Lack of motivation? Do they just not care? Even though Dunleavy and The Lone Granger continue to put up good stats game after game, you'd have to wonder how much harder they would play if they had a better supporting cast (besides SuperRush, he's just amazing) and knew they had a better chance to win every night.
I guess my question is this: Why should Pacers executives expect fans to show up to games (and especially stay for the entire second half) if the team those executives are putting on the floor can't even do that much?
Update: The Pacers aren't even a second quarter team
Not really much to say about this game. The Dunleavy and Granger Show put up its usual numbers while Troy Murphy added 19 and Travis Diener added 22. Jeff Foster was the only starter who didn't score in double figures, but the bench backed them up with only 18 combined points.
The Pacers went into the 4th quarter all tied up, but never led during the final period and at several times were down by 9 points. The Pacers had the opportunity to come back with 00:57 left in the game being down only 110-105, but they could not capitalize on the situation. The final score was 113-107, Chicago.
With Pacers in the news lately for hanging out with alleged rapists and murderers, it doesn't surprise me that so many fans have quit supporting the team again. No one wants to pay tickets to see a professional sports team with no ties to their city or state lose most of their games and give up in the fourth quarter of nearly every single loss. I don't expect for Walsh and Bird to turn the team around overnight, but if we don't see even an attempt at improvement starting this summer and through the draft, then we need to start thinking about getting new executives.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The 2008 NBA Dance Team Bracket will begin on March 17. If you go to the Pacers website, you can decide which of the 11 pictures will enter the bracket. (This is my favorite) Make sure you pick your favorite so we can beat the ladies from Charlotte in the first round.
Photo by: (Frank McGrath/Pacers)
So the only prediction I had even close to right was SuperRush hitting 3 three-pointers. The Pacers played close all game, and were ahead quite a bit throughout the first quarter and second half, but all of that means nothing when you aren't ahead when the clock hits 00:00.
The game played out how every Pacers game plays out: The Lone Granger scores a bunch of points and gets a lot of rebounds, Dunleavy scores a bunch of points, and SuperRush does okay from three-point land while trying his hardest to miss difficult shots from all over the floor.
Bosh and Granger both came up big with double-doubles consisting of 20+ points and 10 rebounds a piece to lead their respective teams, but it was the Raptors' teamwork and consistent play down the stretch that won the game for Toronto.
The Pacers play Chicago at home Wednesday and a win will give them sole possession of third place in the Central Division standings. Everyone keep Jermaine O'Neal in your thoughts as he valiantly battles the flu.
The Indians are beginning to fill in their roster spots as they have added 12 players now. These players include:
RHP Mike Burns
Jesse Chavez #12
LHP Corey Hamman
RHP Josh Hill
RHP Mauricio Mendez
RHP Marino Salas
RHP Josh Sharpless #38
LHP Josh Shortslef
Milver Reyes #6
Russ Johnson #13
Neil Walker #27
Andrew McCutchen #2
The players with numbers are returning players.
The Pacers return home tonight to play a good Toronto Raptors team. They are coming off of a disappointing loss to the New Jersey Nets who they had beaten the night before.
The Pacers have lost their two previous match-ups with the Raptors this season, and need to win tonight to make sure they don't get too far out of the playoff race. In their first match-up, the Raptors won 104-93 with Chris Bosh and Jason Kapono both scoring over 20 points. Their game in November had the same result, with the Pacers losing this game 110-101. Chris Bosh also put up 22 points in that game as well. (LINK)
Jermaine O'Neal was an impact in these games as well, scoring 14 with 6 rebounds in the first game, but only played around 30 minutes in the second game adding 13 points and 1 rebound. Jamaal Tinsley was also a factor in both of those games, but is still out until early March with his knee injury.(LINK)
The Pacers will have a tough time tonight with a very good Toronto Raptors team. Jeff Foster will have to bang down low matching up with the 7 footer, Andrea Bargnani. The team will also have to find a way to slow down All-Star Chris Bosh as he has a good shot at scoring 30 today.
If Danny Granger and Mikey Dunleavy can combine for 40-50 points tonight and get some help from the rest of the team, the Pacers could have a chance tonight. Travis Diener also needs to perform his dribble and dish to find open threes. The Pacers need hold Bosh and Bargnani to both under 20 points and play tough defense on all the other players. Also, make sure they are playing a good offense finding open shots instead of trying to play isolation basketball. If they do these things the Pacers could have a crack at beating the Raptors.
--No in-game update--
Starting tonight with their game against the Pacers, the Toronto Raptors play 9 of their next 13 on the road. Chris Bosh and his guys are coming off a big win at home against the New York Knickerbockers and are hoping to start a win streak tonight. Unfortunately for them, they're coming to SuperRush's house... and SuperRush hates Canadians (as far as I know that's a lie.)
My predictions for the game:
Chris Bosh scores 29
Jose Calderon has 12 assists
The Lone Granger scores 25
Dunleavy scores 21
Rush goes 3-7 from behind the arc, 2-5 from the paint, and 2-2 on his free throws
Those are my predictions. Expect a better and more in-depth preview later today before the game.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Cedar Rapids Roughriders came into Indianapolis' Pepsi Coliseum tonight and got destroyed by the Indiana Ice 6 goals to 3. This is the first Indiana Ice score I've ever seen in my life, and the only thing I know about the team is that John Kemp is awesome... so here's a picture of John Kemp:
The Pacers proved last night's win against the New Jersey Nets was a fluke by losing 102-91. Danny Granger was the sole bright spot for the Pacers tonight, scoring 29 points while going 4-7 from beyond the arc. The rest of the Pacers went 5-22 from 3-point land.
Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson stepped up to combine for 60 points while Josh Boone turned in a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Williams added a career-high 13 assists. That's 21 assists for Williams over the past three games since becoming the starter.
Awesome Stat of the Game
After Danny Granger's final basket with 2:22 remaining that cut the Nets lead down to 96-91, the Pacers did not score another point for the rest of the game. Awesome job, Pacers!
Rush was 4-10 from the field, 2-4 shooting 3s and 1-3 from the paint. This is an improvement over last night, when he was 1-4 from the paint. Don't let your poor numbers from the paint discourage you, Rush! Keep jacking those 3s!
Indy Star Sports: "Valuable player in fold"
Dallas Clark is the richest Tight End in the NFL, but I believe that $6.9 million a year is a steal. Anyone who watches this highlight clip has to agree.
In all seriousness, I was taken back by the commitment the Colts gave D-Clark with this contract. On a team that has let defensive players leave in the past for big contracts while plugging even better (and cheaper) players into those same roles the same year, it seems strange that they are so willing to tie themselves up like this at the tight end position. I understand keeping the O-line together (especially after their run-blocking the team to the Super Bowl a year ago) but I don't see how this helps the team a few years from now. Is Peyton Manning really that dependent on Clark? I guess that dropped pass to end the Chargers playoff game last year didn't hurt him too badly.
The Indiana Pacers enter their second game of a home-and-home series with the New Jersey Nets tonight. The Pacers snapped a three game losing streak last night by beating the Nets 113-103.
The Pacers are now only two games back on the seventh ranked Nets in the East. With Kidd gone and Devin Harris out with an ankle injury, now is the time to gain and eventually take over the seventh spot. Devin Harris' absence was definitely felt last night as the Nets had a total 23 turnovers and only 22 assists.
"I think it's a little easier to defend them because (Kidd) brought so much to their transition game," Pacers forward Danny Granger said. "They won't have that anymore. I'd rather play them without him than with him any day."
The Keys to tonights game are the same as yesterday. Limit Vince Carter's touches and open shots. Carter was frustrated last night as he couldn't even drive to the basket with out a body on him or hands in his face. The coaching staff even took him out with ten minutes left in the game when the Nets were only down 10 points at the time. Also, the point guards are struggling for the Nets. Until Devin Harris returns I believe the Nets will continue to hurt as I see no improvement in Marcus Williams.
Mike Dunleavy needs to stay hot, going 11-20 last night, to give the Pacers a chance to stay in the game tonight. Granger will remain consistent getting his average of 18 points a game, and Foster, Diener, and Murphey will add theirs. As long as they move the ball around and play good defense like they did last night, the Pacers will win this series against the Nets putting them in good position heading towards the end of the season.
--No in-game update--
Friday, February 22, 2008
The Pacers played great tonight with seven different players in double digits scoring. They were moving the ball very well always finding the open man. Hopefully next game Kareem "Super" Rush will realize that making a three pointer doesn't make you a superhero. Also, going back to the keys of the game, they only allowed Vince Carter to score 15 total points and only 14 combined points and 8 assists from the point guards. The Nets are really missing Jason Kidd as they have no real back court presence. Overall, other than there being less fans than last years 1A state championship game, the Pacers had a pretty good win.
7:10 Tip Off
1st qtr 8:22 Pacers 10 Nets 6
Pacers moving the ball around getting open inside shots while the Nets keeping taking shots from 20+ ft.
1st qtr 6:38 Pacers 15 Nets 10
Nets finally make a shot from outside of the paint as Kristic hits an 18 footer but as a team they haven't figured out how to get inside. Travis Diener has a sweet drive and kick to Dunleavy for a wide open three.
1st qtr 3:21 Pacers 22 Nets 18
Jeff Foster knocks down a great 18 footer as shot clock is running low for his 4th point. Vince Carter starting to heat up as he knocks down a few shots and is beginning to take it hard to the basket.
End 1st qtr Pacers 28 Nets 27
Jeff Foster trips (and is now bleeding) with the ball rolling all over the court for a no call turnover and a shooting foul on the other end. Clock stops and Pacers are playing some great 90's music. Kareem Rush off the bench hits a big 3 to get the lead back up to 5. Somebody needs to tell Rush making a 3 pointer doesn't make you Superman. He's running around everywhere with the ball. Darrell Armstrong hits a 3 at the buzzer for the Nets.
Pacers are playing pretty good through the 1st. Even though they are only up by one , Vince Carter has been limited to only two points. If they can keep playing good defense on Carter and allow him to only take shots from three point territory and put a body on him every time he drives, I believe the Pacers can start to run with this.
2nd qtr 8:45 Pacers 30 Nets 32
Pacers come out cold to start the 2nd quarter going 0-5 on shots and allow the Nets to take the lead.
2nd qtr 7:28 Pacers 30 Nets 35
Pacers are falling apart fast. Going 0-11 in the last 7 minutes and 0-7 so far this quarter. Their fouls are racking up too as they keep fouling guys as they are shooting.
2nd qtr 5:15 Pacers 32 Nets 37
Jeff Foster almost gets the Pacers first basket of this quarter but the way more athletic Richard Jefferson comes from 7 feet away to foul him while attempting to make a lay-up. Foster misses both free throws. Diener finally ends the 0-13 streak with a basket a foot inside 3.
2nd qtr 3:25 Pacers 38 Nets 44
Vince Carter get a wide open dunk as he flies up the court on a turnover then flies to the rim and throws it down. Richard Jefferson lighting it up from everywhere on the court, he knocks down an 18 footer and has 12 total. Mike Dunleavy takes it strong to the rim and throws it down real hard on a baseline drive. Danny Granger comes right back off a Nets miss and does the same thing. Are the Nets ever going to learn?
2nd qtr 1:22 Pacers 44 Nets 45
Mike Dunleavy makes his second shot in a row from the elbow as shot clock was running down. Nets with an arrant shot Kareem Rush come down the court to knock down a 3. Pacers can't miss now, Diener knocks down another mid range jump shot to bring Pacers within 1. Richard Jefferson goes to the bench, hopefully this is our chance to take the lead.
End 2nd qtr Pacers 50 Nets 49
Rush thinks he's Superman again since he made a 3 pointer taking dumb shots as the clock is running low. He missed 3 shots in the last 10 seconds and is lucky Marquis Daniels was there to clean up his missed lay up at the end of the quarter.
Half Time Stats:
Mike Dunleavy -14 points, 3 steals
Danny Granger -7 points
Troy Murphey -7 points, 6 rebounds
Travis Diener -6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Jeff Foster -6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Richard Jefferson -18 points
Darrell Armston -9 points
Vince Carter -8 points, 6 assists
DeSagona Diop -5 rebounds
I thought going into the game stopping Vince Carter would be the key, I have now found out that stopping Richard Jefferson is. The Pacers still need to focus on Carter, because he could still come out in the second half and light up the place. It does look like they could play a little more defense on Jefferson. The Nets are also struggling at point guard like I thought with Marcus Williams only having 2 points and 1 assist so far. Diener is having a good half with 4 assists, the Nets haven't figured out his dribble and dish yet, even though he has performed that move about 5 times already. As long as Dunleavy can remain hot and the other starting 4 can continue to contribute, the Pacers should be able to pull this one out.
3rd qtr 9:42 Pacers 58 Nets 58
Nets come out of the half with a 3 pointer from Marcus Williams, and surprisingly the Pacers come out missing a 3. Dunleavy looking as if the half did not affect him as he makes his first shot taken, a 3 pointer. Travis Diener with 5 straight points, first with a dribble drive and then a 3 pointer.
3rd qtr 6:01 Pacers 73 Nets 67
Nets are now making all the right passes getting inside scores and finding the open guy for mid range jumpers. Pacers are starting to make their shots now too as Danny Granger gets an and 1 to take a 3 point lead. Troy Murphey with a great pump fake to get his man in the air and an easy dunk. Superman gets his 3rd three of the game as the Pacers start to run. Dunleavy with another great pump fake, this time for a 22 footer to go into an official time out.
3rd qtr 2:15 Pacers 80 Nets 68
Nets starting to play awful with bad shots and turnovers, also allowing Pacers to make easy inside shots and no pressure defensively. Superman misses the only shot that he'll take, the one from 23'9. Danny Granger just missed a free throw ending his streak of 65 straight, but starts a new streak by making his 2nd.
End 3rd qtr Pacers 85 Nets 72
Marquis Daniels thought about taking a 3 when he saw Shawne Williams standing alone underneath for an easy basket. We're lucky the Nets can't make free throws or this game might be close. Jeff Foster in some pain as he takes a charge on a hard drive by Bostjan Nachbar. He must not be in too much pain as he throws down a dunk off of an offensive rebound to end the quarter.
Mike Dunleavy now has 21 points after 3 as he keeps on playing a great game. Danny Granger adds 16 and Travis Diener adds 15. Richard Jefferson is still having a good game as he gets 7 more points in the 3rd quarter to take his total to 25. Vince Carter is still struggling though as he only adds 4 to his total. Also, the Nets are still struggling at point as Marcus Williams only adds one basket in the 3rd.
4th qtr 8:55 Pacers 95 Nets 79
Vince Carter knocks down a 3 to start the last quarter. If the Nets are going to get back into this it's going to be because of him, and I think he knows that. The Nets must think they are done because they just took out Carter with 10:00 left in the game. Pacers still getting their easy baskets inside the paint as Jefferson now has 4 in a row for the Nets. Dunleavy gets an easy dunk off of a stolen pass to take us to an official time out.
4th qtr 5:57 Pacers 101 Nets 87
Pacers and Nets trading baskets coming out of the time out and now trading missed shots. Dunleavy with a hard foul driving to the basket sending him to the free throw line. Misses the first and makes the second to give him 27. Travis Diener hits a 3 to break the 100 point mark for the Pacers. Official time out.
4th qtr 3:14 Pacers 106 Nets 95
Nets getting 4 straight points coming out of the time out taking a 17 point Pacers lead to a 10 point lead. Granger fouls Nachbar on a layup after Nachbar stole the ball from Granger. Nachbar only gets one free throw to take the lead to 9. Dunleavy answers with a 3 to take the lead back to double digits. Dunleavy now gets fouled going for a dunk after he got wide open on a back door. He gets both free throws. Dunleavy gets called for a block as Nochbar comes down the lane out of control off of a crazy possession full of misses, offensive rebounds, and almost turnovers for the Nets.
4th qtr 1:15 Pacers 108 Nets 97
Superman air balls a 3 pointer with the Pacers up 13. I don't really get why someone would be taking that show up 13 with 2 minutes left. Nets shooting 3's for every shot trying to get back into the game finally makes a basket.
End 4th qtr Pacers 113 Nets 103
Crowd mocking Darrell Armstrong as he makes a loud noise after fouling Dunleavy. Dunleavy makes both free throws. Trinton Hassell makes a wide open 3 and then Pacers turn the ball over at mid court. Murphey now fouls Sean Williams but he only makes one. Jump ball with 13 seconds left, Pacers up 9. Nets trying to hang around by putting the Pacers on the line.
Mike Dunleavy - 34 points
Travis Diener -19 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
Danny Granger -16 points
Troy Murphey -11 points, 7 rebounds
Kareem Rush -11 points
Jeff Foster -10 points, 14 rebounds
Shawne Williams -10 points
Richard Jefferson -34 points
Bostjan Nachbar -22 points, 5 rebounds
Vince Carter -15 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists
Trenton Hassell -11 points
After a day off, the Pacers will be playing the Kidd-less Nets tonight at 7PM. Even though some of us might have thought we needed a change around here, Coach Jim O'Brien had different feelings. He told the Pacers official website, "I happen to like coaching this group of players. I think that they feel like they have not played nearly their best basketball yet, and I want to see them play that type of basketball."
The key for tonights game will be trying to control Vince Carter. This is the first game between the teams this season, but last season Carter averaged 31.3 points in four games. Also, with Devin Harris being out, the Nets could be inconsistent at their point guard position. They will have Marcus Williams going, who through 25 games is averaging 4.1 points and 1.6 assists.
Even though the Pacers lost their first game out of the All-Star break to the Cavs Wednesday night, tonight will be a true test to see how they are going to play the second half. With the trade deadline behind them, players can start focusing on becoming a team and tonight is the night to do it.