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10 Things I Loved About the 2011 NBA Playoffs June 14, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Sport.
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Ahh…it’s finally all over. The Dallas Mavericks just defeated the Miami Heat in 6 games to capture the 2011 NBA Championship in what has been the most enjoyable NBA Playoffs in recent memory. Dirk Nowitzki was named Finals MVP, elevating the big silky German to all-time great status and denying Miami’s much-maligned ‘Big Three’ of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a chance at a title in their first year together. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Here are the 10 things that I thought made these Playoffs one of the best ever.

(to read on, click on ‘more…’)

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NBA Skills Challenge: Mo Williams replaces Jameer Nelson February 12, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA.
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Mo Williams is now an All-Star and a Skills Challenge contestant

Mo Williams is now an All-Star and a Skills Challenge contestant

To me, the Playstation Skills Challenge at the NBA All-Star Weekend is a nice addition but honestly I wouldn’t complain too much if it wasn’t there.

This year’s contestants are: Devin Harris (New Jersey Nets), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) and Mo Williams (Cleveland Cavaliers).  Williams replaced the injured Jameer Nelson (Orlando Magic).

I’d love to see Derrick Rose take this one out (because he’s just sick), but I have a feeling that veteran Tony Parker will rise to the occasion this time.

Just like that, Pacers establish losing streak January 21, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Indiana Pacers.
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A quick follow up on last night’s post.  Just a little over a day ago, the Pacers were talking excitedly about the possibility of a 3-game winning streak (huge deal).  In the blink of an eye, they’ve lost 2 in a row – today to the Spurs in San Antonio.  This one wasn’t even close, 99-81, and the Spurs had rested most of their starters by the 4th quarter.

Another one of those ‘should have lost’ games.  The Pacers dropped to 15-27, still second worst in the league ahead of Washington, but it’s a shame as they were in position to make a push up the ladder with just a couple more wins.

The Pacers seem to struggle against teams that are fundamentally sound like the Spurs and teams with a good big man (like Duncan) – because they lack both and only try to beat teams by running them ragged with their run-and-gun game.  Such tactics don’t work against these types of teams.  Until they learn to play some defence, it’s not going to change anytime soon.

On a brighter note, the Pacers got 2 mentions in ESPN.COM’s Daily Dime today.  TJ Ford was named “Tuesday’s Worst” for his 4-14 effort against the Spurs in 28 minutes (give the poor guy a break, he’s still recovering from injury).  Danny Granger, on the other hand, was named by analyst Tim Legler as one of the season’s biggest surprises thus far:

Danny Granger.  I never thought he’d be a guy who could average over 25 points per game. Mike Dunleavy being out helped because Granger got more touches, but he has worked so hard at making himself a great scorer between his ball-handling, his mid-range game and now he’s a legitimate 3-point shooter. He’s got the whole package and he’s doing it against great defenders.

PS: There’s mention of another possible trade for ex-Pacer Jermaine O’Neal, this time with Shawn Marion of the Miami Heat.  The only reason Miami is even considering this is because of the salary cap space O’Neal would free up shortly. 

Since making a new start in Toronto, Jermaine had shown flashes of his old self, but really, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he started getting injured again.  We had all heard of his inspirational speeches before about being healthy this time and returning to his All-Star levels, etc etc.  Well, sure enough, the big man has not seen any significant action for quite some time.

It was also recently revealed that he secretly requested to be traded the first year Jim O’Brien took over as head coach.  For some reason the request was never made public.  I guess the Pacers had enough problems on their hands at the time.  But it might also reveal why Jermaine was booed the first time he returned to Indiana a few days ago.  This was a guy that took the Pacers back up to elite status not that long ago, but I guess fans are still bitter about his lack of leadership and inability to take the team to the next level (and involvement in the brawl)- and now they think he’s betrayed them too.

I’ll still always remember Jermaine for that unforgettable sliding punch into one of those hobbits who ran onto the court in Detroit.  See the video again, at around the 1:11 mark. [NOTE: Video removed from Youtube.  Had to post a different one – this one’s at the 1:25 mark or thereabouts]

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