Post Up: Pacer Power

by May 16, 2012

Pacers 78, Heat 75 (Series tied 1-1)

An exciting playoff game going down to the final buzzer will be overshadowed on this Wednesday morning. A phenomenal performance by Pacer big man David West, who outmuscled the Heat bigs all night long and hit clutch baskets down the stretch, will be elapsed. West has legitimately become the Pacer’s go-to player they have been looking for, but his presence will not be the spotlight of the game. The fact that Mario Chalmers, not the current MVP LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, took the final shot of the game with four seconds left to tie will not be remembered. Indiana’s tremendous defense, limiting a team averaging 98.5 ppg to 75 points, will get outshined. It’s a shame, really. The two teams went a combined 2-8 on free throws in the final minute will also be forgotten. Dwayne Wade’s post-game comments will overshadow the whole game.

Everyone, please watch this video a time or two. Give it a quick glance. Let it soak in for a minute, and explain how Dwayne Wade can criticize someone for “celebrating” a playoff win.

The Heat threw a party for the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The Pacers showed a few visible signs of emotion from a win after an extremely chippy game. Both teams played full speed all game, and tempers flared multiple times. The Pacers did no major celebration dances, no posing for the cameras, no victory laps or anything of the sort. Instead of focusing on the reasons why the Heat dropped a winnable game at home, Wade made these remarks about what happened after the final buzzer sounded:

“I don’t know if they didn’t expect to win. Every night we go out on the court, we expect to win.”

“I heard they wanted to be like the Dallas Mavericks. I saw their little celebration at the end of the game.”

If Wade wants to play the villain, so be it. Every League needs a bad guy. But comments like the ones he made take away from a fantastic game and shine the spotlight on a negative side of sports: bad player quotes.

The fact of the matter is the Pacers head home 1-1 with full momentum and two home games in a row. David West proved he could be the “go-to guy” the media claims is necessary for a Pacers title run. Paul George and Danny Granger came up big at different moments. The defense played its best game of the year and the Pacers proved they can hang with the top dogs in the East. Game 2 was not a game in which the Heat blatantly beat themselves—the Pacers deserved the victory and outplayed the Heat. If the Heat don’t get their act together quickly, they could be staring a series deficit straight in the eye after Thursday night in Indianapolis. —Dave Spahn (@DaveSpahn)

Spurs 108, Clippers 92 (SAS leads 1-0)

Signs pointed to the younger Los Angeles Clippers being able to play with the older San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. For about a quarter, that is. Tied up at 29-29 to start the second quarter, Tim Duncan & Co. imposed their will the rest of the way en route to a rather impressive 108-92 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Furthermore, the Spurs silenced some of their critics who thought they were on the downside of their careers and the shortened season might catch up with them at some point.

And with the particularly lopsided result, perhaps they sent a message to the rest of the League that they still have something left in the tank and are on the verge of big things. This much is clear: The Clippers do not appear to be up to the task of making things interesting.

For all the talk about Blake Griffin being the future, Duncan upstaged him to prove that he’s still one of the premiere players at his position and the face of Lob City has a long way to go. There’s no substitute for experience, I suppose.

Duncan scored 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field. Can’t forget to mention his 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. In comparison, Griffin finished with 15 points on 7-17 shooting. He added 9 rebounds too. Anyone who watched the game somewhat close could clearly see how over-matched Griffin was.

Duncan might have lost a step. Collectively, the Spurs might have lost step. Nevertheless, the Clippers are in trouble, based on the what we witnessed Tuesday. Granted, this series is not only about Duncan vs. Griffin. There are interesting match-ups all over the court. That said, can’t imagine things being much different in Game 2. —Sean Ceglinsky (@seanceglinsky)