Blazers 107, Pacers 105 Re-Thoughts


There’s an elephant in the room and I don’t like it so let’s turn to it. I feel no need to dissect the foul call. As a fan I don’t think you ever want to see a game decided at the line. For a Pacer fan I can imagine it was just an impossible pill to swallow. But when I’ve learned that when you’re on the other side it’s just best to hush up and move on. So I’m moving on.

(Violet Palmer is just not a very good referee. There has to be a better female referee than her. I know she was the pioneer…but someone has to say something.)

A win is a win is a win. Through the good, bad and the ugly you take the W and move on. The only thing that mattered tonight was picking up the W. Wins trump everything this time of year. This is a fact. It’s just about that time where as a fan you have to start scoreboard watching for Houston, Utah, Dallas, New Orleans and Phoenix. I don’t know about you but I start cheering for random teams to win. It was phenomenal to see what D-Wade did to Phoenix. Tonight our win coupled with a Houston loss puts us right back in 4th place and also a 1/2 game behind Denver for the division lead and #3 spot. No big deal that we play them tomorrow or anything. We don’t win tonight and we fall to the depths of the lower half with a regrouped New Orleans and healthy/surging Utah team. The Suns are doing their best to make getting into the playoffs a bit easier but we all know that if we want to make noise, #4 or #5 is where it is at.

First and foremost before I say anything else I have to give a lot of credit to Coup. He really hit the nail on the head with his pre-thoughts earlier. It almost went exactly as he stated. Indiana’s offense did lead to a different pace and did lead to a lot of scoring from both teams. He also stated how with the game the Pacers play they can easily jump on you but will also let you crawl back in. That also took place. So everyone just air pat that man on the back for a second. It’s creepy how it followed that script.

To the actual game. What I was most impressed with tonight was the patience and resolve the Blazers showed tonight. The game was very much in doubt at times don’t get me wrong but it felt different. This wasn’t the type of game where it felt like the lead was insurmountable or that a mountain was going to have to be climbed. The Blazers just kept playing Blazer basketball, kept taking Indy’s punches and waited. Going back to Coup’s preview, a team like Indiana will open the door for you. The question was not if the Pacers would cool off but when and would the Blazers be able to capitalize. It happened early in the fourth when the Blazers went on that huge 14-0 run. Indiana played a very good game but one of the reasons why they stand at 27-37 right now is their inability to put together a full 48 minutes. I almost feel like I’m talking like Hubie Brown *shudder* but you take away the first six minutes of the 4th quarter and Indiana wins hands down. The Pacers stalled offensively as the execution went down a few notches. Turnovers, ill-advised shots, shot clock violations replaced the team that was giving the Blazers fits. More importantly Portland was able to take advantage of this lapse on the other end. I say all of this because that’s what teams have done to us in the past. Phoenix, Utah, etc. have made those kind of runs against us. I found it neat to be on the other side for once and take it as another sign this team is maturing at a pace none of us could have expected.

Stuck in there was a pretty damn good 4th quarter from Brandon Roy. Pardon my friggin’ French. 13 of his 28 points came in the final 12 minutes and he ended up scoring 13 of the Blazers 29 points in the 4th. I loved the team effort in the 4th quarter. Roy was a main part but there were some big team plays. The defense picked up a notch, pestering the Pacers, forcing turnoves and shot clock violations. Anytime you get Jeff Foster shooting a three late in the shot clock you’ve done something right. Blake and Rudy hit huge three’s and Big Joel went 3/4 from the line during that post-run stretch. Huge free throws when you look back considering a) who was shooting them and b) what a miss here or a miss there could have meant. Travis hit a big jumper to put us 2 late. It was great to see the execution coming late from this team. Again with the maturity.

Indiana played a great game tonight but I like the fact that Portland still found a way to win. I’m not sure I’d want us winning like this all the time against inferior opponents but I’ll take it. Tonight, Portland hung in there, made key runs, made key plays and took advantage of the opportunity given when the Pacers finally showed why they are 10 games under .500. The protection of home court continues with a 10th straight win in the RG. It’s going to be key to keep winning at home as the season winds down.

To the Mile High City for a big game against Denver. What takes place tomorrow night will tell us some things that’s for sure.