The odds were definitely stacked against the Indiana Pacers prior to last night’s game against the Washington Wizards. The night before in Indiana, the Pacers led the Boston Celtics for three quarters before Ray Allen and Marquis Daniels stepped up in the fourth and led their team to victory. On top of being demoralized by that late loss and having to deal with the fatigue that goes with playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road, the Pacers were also in the midst of a six-game road losing streak which spanned the entire month of December.
Despite the stacked deck, Indiana played well enough to stay in the game for three quarters once again. But in the end, the Wizards were deeper and more athletic.
After the game, the Pacers locker room looked completely dejected. You’re probably saying to yourself, ‘Well damn, a post-loss locker room is always dejected, that’s how it should be,’ and you are right. But the level of dejection and depression I saw in that Pacers locker room was enough to suck the Christmas/New Year’s spirit out of anyone.
Danny Granger (15 points, nine rebounds and two steals) sat in front of his locker with both of his legs in water, and he twice rebuffed the media’s request to talk to him (but finally agreed to talk 15 minutes later — after I left, of course), and barely paid attention when assistant coach Walter McCarty tried to offer words of encouragement. Tyler Hansbrough sat at his locker room with the same dumbfounded look, and T.J. Ford (eight points and three assists) just kept looking at the final stat sheet and shaking his head. But no player was more dejected than former Georgetown Hoyas center Roy Hibbert.
Naturally, I wanted to get the opinion of a Pacers fan-blogger on the potential deal. Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows was kind enough to weigh-in via email:
[The] proposed trade definitely makes sense from an emotionless nuts and bolts perspective. I do think the Pacers are willing to move Foster and with Mike James involved the team could have additional cap room next summer. Plus, as an added bonus, assuming Jarrett Jack does not re-sign and the team keeps A.J. Price in play, James may be a good mentor for the rook since both hail from Amityville, NY.
The Diener/Crittenton parts appear to be a wash. Diener is in the last year of his deal and Crittenton has a team option next summer. Crittenton has some known flaws, namely his ability to shoot the three and too many turnovers which are two areas Jim O’Brien values highly which he proved last season by moving T.J. Ford out of the starting lineup. The physical upside to Crittenton’s game would be worth the gamble though since the team could let him go after the season, not a bad worst-case scenario.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, almost since Eddie Jordan got fired from his gig with the Wiz. Well, now that he’s at the helm of the Philadelphia 76ers, this is an appropriate time as ever to publish.
My feeling is that a majority of Wizards fans think Jordan was unjustly fired (or at least weren’t dancing in the streets when he departed), and that even more wish him well.
Count me among both of these groups. Although, when he was terminated, I wasn’t like, “OMG! What an injustice!”
I was more disappointed with the entire landscape of the team, and later resigned to it just being ‘one of those things’, and in the end, maybe it was best that both parties moved on. But we’ll never really know.
In any case, here goes my tribute to Jordan’s basketball career (to date).