Danny Granger’s gone. Kobe’s having the flu game (40 points.). 9 seconds left. It’s you and Metta World Peace. 5 seconds left it’s you and Pau Gasol. 1.9 seconds left it’s the ball and Dwight Howard. 0.1 seconds left it’s the ball in the basket.
Yes George Hill got it done for the Pacers last night in the clutch against the ‘mighty’ Lakers with a bit of assistance from Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace’s inability to make free throws. Kobe was indeed having the flu game like Mike, with 40 points, even when there were doubts about him playing at all before the game.
The Lakers’ dependance on the Mamba saddens me because of the fact that they have a roster stacked to the rafters with Allstar potential yet they are still struggling. In my mind, Kobe is still the best player by quite a bit on that team. He showed it last night. Dwight Howard missed two free throws with around 30 seconds to go, when LAL were down by one. Then the Metta had his chance to tie and put the Lakers ahead soon after he missed both. The Pacers took their advantage and scored a bucket on the other side to put them up by three. But come on, Kobe’s on the other team. He’s quite possibly the clutchest player ever. So he steps up and sinks a tough three to tie the game, with 11 seconds left. We know what happens after that.
The Lakers are a joke and Mike D’Antoni isn’t going to make them any better. Yes his Suns team were great to watch but did they do anything substantial? No. His Knicks were a holy show. Rasheed Wallace has the right idea. ‘Offence sells tickets but defence wins championships.’ I don’t even think Mr. Pringle even knows what D stands for. To win games you need a solid defence and he has the pieces, Ron Artest (Sorry I cannot call him that stupid name anymore.), who won the DPOY in 2004, D12 is a three time winner of the award and Kobe has been all-defensive 1st team nine times. But Hill just breezed past them last night like they weren’t there. At least when D’Antoni was in charge in MSG he had Melo (Possibly the worst defender in the history of the NBA.).
But enough about the bad team here.
The Pacers are a topsy-turvy team this year compared to last year and the absence of Danny Granger has affected them on the offensive side. But they still have solid aspect to their overall game. Players like Paul George (!) and Roy Hibbert can lead a team defensively but only have outbursts on the offensive side, the Hornets OT thriller on the 21st of this month an example, when George had 37 points (Career high, 9 three pointers.) and Hibbert had a trip dub of 22 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks(!!!).
Players like Granger, West and Hill are consistent, reliable starters with players like Lance Stephenson and Ian Mahimi who can put points on the board the Pacers have a solid base to build on. Like the Nuggets last year they lack an out an out leader. In my mind, and this is very bias, Paul George is that guy, especially on D. I still do not retract my statement from ‘Where amazing happens part 1’ when I said the Pacers were darkhorses for the title because they are, however crazy that sounds. I’d back them over the Lakers!!