You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Sports columns

  • James does right by Cavs, himself
    Let’s put aside all the lines about the prodigal son returning home and the speculation about how good the Cleveland Cavaliers may be this coming season or in years to come.
  • Redskins, feds both in wrong
    Now that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has struck a governmental blow against commodified ethnic insults, I’m nervous, because I may have “disparaged” somebody this morning when I buttered my toast.
Advertisement

Familiar script for the sequel

– This is the Indiana Pacers. You expected two good home games in a row?

Now playing, the sequel that has all of Indiana talking.

The Troubled Pacers, Part II.

Yes, the same cast is back for more crisis management and mayhem, and it’s a must-see! Some of the faces have changed, but the plot hasn’t.

Watch them get rolled over at home Monday night in the series opener 102-96 by the Washington Wizards! Just like they did by the Atlanta Hawks.

Marvel at how the Wizards punched holes in the Indiana defense, with 3-pointers! Just like the Hawks did. Trevor Ariza put up six of them Monday, and made all six. “He was shooting warm-up J’s on us,” David West observed.

Gape at how the offense had moments where it looked as if the Pacers were moving in wet sand and the ball was a shot put! Just like against Atlanta. Paul George and Lance Stephenson took 30 shots, and missed 22 of them

Wonder at how a Washington team ranked 20th in rebounding this season crushed the Pacers on the boards 53-36! “We just didn’t fight hard enough. We just didn’t have enough grit,” West said. Frank Vogel concurred. “They manhandled us.”

Be agog at Roy Hibbert slipping back into hibernation! Just like most of the Atlanta series. Hibbert, the starting Indiana center, played 17:43 with no points and no rebounds (though he tied for team high in fouls). Drew Gooden, the backup Washington center, played 17:47 with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Also, Gooden had seven offensive rebounds by himself. The entire Indiana team had six. In the five-game Chicago series, Gooden had only two points and three rebounds. Further comment on what happened in the paint might be superfluous.

“I’ve just got to look within myself and go out there and try to figure it out,” Hibbert said. “I felt like I need to step up more and do something. I plan on doing that.”

Watch the Pacers lose home court advantage, as the Bankers Life Fieldhouse stands turned into a grumbling mass of gold shirts! Just like Game 1 against Atlanta. And now the Wizards are 4-0 on the road in the postseason.

“Mostly it’s on us,” West said. “Be a little bit more aggressive. Be the instigator a little bit. We’re going to have to fight these guys.”

Was it Monday, or was it Memorex? And 48 hours before, all had been so well.

But consistency, thy name is not Indiana.

“We can’t put ourselves in this predicament,” George said. “We should have learned from the first series. It’s going to be a tough series for us. But we can’t allow ourselves to be put in these holes.”

So now they’re pedaling uphill again.

The guess is now there will be speculation about changes in the Indiana rotation. Questions about Hibbert. Questions about body language, such as Stephenson’s tiff with Vogel after being taken out of the game late in the third quarter.

“I think I came out soft today,” Stephenson said. “I blame this game on me.”

And Wednesday, Indiana will absolutely need to win. Just like Game 2 against Atlanta.

Mike Lopresti is a freelance columnist. His columns appear periodically.

Advertisement