Game Notes: Pacers at Knicks
by Russ Bengtson
As Friday night clicks over to Saturday morning, I desperately need to catch some Zs. But before I turn in to count Zydrunas’s and Z-Bo’s (neither of whom could jump over a fence, I fear), I present to you some disconnected thoughts from tonight’s epic showdown between the Pacers and the Knicks at the World’s Most Famous:
– An hour before gametime, the first Knick game of 2009, and it’s more or less business as usual. As a few Pacers run through their paces with a bevy of assistant coaches, the hometown squad is nowhere to be seen. Instead, ballboys of varying ages launch shots of varying distances with varying degrees of success. Perhaps practice at such a late hour would be pointless—but would it hurt to at least try?
– Starters are Troy Murphy, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Marquis Daniels and Jarrett Jack for the Pacers; David Lee, Wilson Chandler, Jared Jeffries, Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson for the home team.
– Spike Lee, not in the house. This is not 1999.
– Roy Hibbert is in the flow early, beating guys down the floor and being rewarded with easy layups. Will the Knicks counter with lone big Jerome James?
– Q drives straight at Granger, converts the layup, AND the foul. Granger comes right back and shoots an airball falling away on the baseline. All-Star?
– David Lee drives, and in subtle tribute to Patrick Ewing, misses a finger roll from six inches away. Touching moment.
– Enter Nate Robinson and Al Harrington with 4:45 to go in the first. The Pacers counter with Jeff Foster, T.J. Ford and Brandon Rush. Welcome to Death Row. Robinson, never shy, immediately buries a 3.
– Jared Jeffries bricks one from the corner. He’s a bit outside his range, assuming he actually has one.
– Anthony Roberson checks in with 1.19 remaining. One suspects he wouldn’t be playing at all, except Tim Thomas is out with a sore big toe. These things happen, I suppose. If you’re Tim Thomas.
– Nothing much happens. 27-23 Indy after 1.
– Kevin James and Chris Rock are in the prime celeb seats. Here’s hoping that mall cop movie makes roughly $12.
– Roberson cans a corner three to cut the Pacer lead to 1. Rush misses, Lee throws a misfire off the shot clock, Foster hits, Roberson misses a corner three (that’s enough, you), Foster rebounds, and Rush hits a three. 32-26, Pacers.
– Travis Diener off a stop and pop. Whap. One must assume that he wears the number 12 because he looks 12.
– Al Harrington for 3. He loses it the next time down and Foster outlets to Jack, who gives Nate a little hip check—Nate sells the hell out of it, but no one’s buying—and hits the layup. 36-30.
– Wilson Chandler is third on the team in assists with 1.9 per game. An entire blog post could be written about the significance of this. But not tonight.
– In a sequence that will never, ever, be shown again anywhere, Jared Jeffries misses a 20-footer, and Josh McRoberts (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) travels. I hate love this game.
– Jeffries has a dunk attempt blocked by Granger. His alleged range has collapsed into a black hole of offensive ineptitude that threatens to swallow the entire universe.
– 53-44 Pacers at the half, as Ford finds Murphy on a textbook screen-roll at the 24-second buzzer.
– “My Prerogative” dominates the halftime warmups. Where’d it all go wrong, Bobby?
– Pacers VP of Player Relations (and the coolest man in the universe) Sam Perkins is walking around the concourse.
– Some kid in the stands is wearing a Danilo Gallinari jersey. They sell those?
– Granger drives straight into the heart of a double team and is called for a foul. His 3rd, with 8.47 to go in the third.
– Lee with a 20-footer. Range! When did this happen?
– And he follows with another long jumper, he’s got 20 and 8.
– Murphy converts a couple freebies, has 7, 12 and 5.
– Lee then throws a pass from the lane that sails a good four feet over Nate’s head and into the crowd. Not if he was Manute Bol with Vince Carter’s hops, David.
– Al Harrington freezes Daniels on a drive, blows by for the two-handed dunk. Whoa.
– Time passes. Chandler hits over McRoberts, Foster travels, Harrington hits a trey over Foster. Pacers call a TO up 5, and Obie and Granger get hit with technicals. Duhon goes one for two.
– Jack gets Duhon to jump into him on a corner 3, earning three free. The refs take so long checking it that Q has time to sneak over and watch.
– 83-77 Indy after 3.
– Jack free throws and a Granger pull-up, and the Pacer lead is back to double digits.
– Seven straight Knick points.
– Q is fouled by Granger, and falls hard and awkwardly. He stays down. Eventually he’s helped up by Malik Rose and Jerome James—and one assumes he fears himself to be in basketball purgatory. Which he basically is. After a time out, he hits both and stays in the game.
– Harrington scores over Granger, who tries to draw the charge. Next time down, Granger fouls him, and is incredulous. That’s five on Granger with four-something to play.
– Li’l Dun’s shown on MSG Network real quick—and he appears to be picking his nose. Just a coincidence? Or the sign of a real problem?
– Next time down, Harrington posts up Granger, calls for the ball. Nope. Lee instead. Knicks by one. First lead? You betcha.
– Ford offensive foul, Chandler with a 22-footer from the corner. Knicks by three, Pacers call time with 3:30 to go. The crowd is officially alive.
– Ford misses a bad shot out of the time out (who do the Pacers think they are, the Knicks?), Nate puts ‘em up five. Duhon fouls Granger, who hits both. Nate gets swallowed up on the next drive, winds up on the floor, and Jack buries a long two from the corner. Knicks by 1.
– Harrington can’t score, Daniels misses in close, and Murphy cleans it up. Pacers up 1.
– Now I understand. The Knicks had to rally to take the late lead in order to unleash the Uptempo Collapse™. It’s all starting to make sense.
– Harrington gets the lead back for the Knicks, And Jack rescinds it with a straight-on pullup over Lee. Harrington misses an ill-advised deep three, and Jack scores again, this time on a layup off a Murphy screen that sets him free. 24:1 left.
– Chandler. Driving dunk on Murphy. And one. Gets it. 12.5 seconds remaining. Tie game.
– Jack holds up top, no timeout, dribbling, no looking anywhere, Duhon on him, inexplicably back on his heels and guarding against the drive, Jack waits just long enough and—WHAP—straight-on money jumper with .9 showing. Nate misses the desperation 3 on the inbounds from the side and it’s over. Jack goes for 29 on 10 of 14 from the floor. 105-103 final.
– Rasho Nesterovic got the DNP-CD as the Pacers went small, relying on a lineup where Marquis Daniels was the very small forward and Danny Granger was technically the power forward. It’s funny, I’ve always meant to read “Rashomon,” which I believe is a first-hand account of Rasho’s adventures in Jamaica.
– The Pacers—including Jim O’Brien—refer to Marquis Daniels as “Quisy” (pronounced “Keezy”). Yes, he looks a lot like Weezy. No, not that Weezy.
– Jeff Foster’s parents are apparently just in from Dubai.
– Travis Diener’s postgame meal consists of a giant Styrofoam container of chicken fingers and waffle fries with what looks to be a whole pudding-sized bowl of ketchup. Maybe he is 12.
– The Pacers locker room opens almost immediately and Hibbert is already dressed. White Polo pullover, fresh Georgetown fitted, wire-rimmed glasses, white on white Air Force 1s. He’s like the tallest member of De La Soul.
– Marquis Daniels dresses next to Rasho Nesterovic. Which is like a rimmed-out Bentley being parked next to a bone-stock Dodge Caravan. For the record, Quisy’s gear would be big on Rasho.
– Jarrett Jack is dressed to the nines. Possibly the tens. Monogrammed shirt, silk tie, pinstriped suit. And presumably he had a lot to say. But you’ll have to find that elsewhere—I gotta catch those Z’s.new york