Thoughts on First Regular Season Game Vs. Hawks

Evan MasseyCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2009

It’s definitely disappointing to see this game end the way it did, especially because looking back through the game there is one thing that really changed it. This, of course, is turnovers.

The entire game the Pacers were being careless with the ball. Mainly I look back at the eight stolen inbound/outlet passes, and the way that those turned into either layups or dunks. Other ways Indiana turned the ball over was by trying to dribble the ball between two or three Hawks, and honestly, you're probably not going to score against Horford and Josh Smith even if you get between Bibby, Crawford, and Johnson.

Another reason that I think we got a little flustered was the fact that Josh Smith went off blocking shots and stealing passes, or even just contesting the passing lanes. There were many occasions where Dahntay Jones, T.J. Ford, and Luther head would get deep into the lane, get a very high percentage shot, just to see Josh Smith get up and get the block.

Granted, this was the Pacers first regular season games, but 24 turnovers are way to many.

The game wasn't just a bad game for Indiana, and I'll try to get all the players that looked good for Indiana and I'll try to show you how they helped.

Danny Granger
This kid is just a beast at scoring the ball. He put up 31 points on 10-18 shooting, 6-8 from the foul line, and 5-10 from behind the arc. One thing that Granger really needs to work on throughout the season is grabbing more rebounds, as he only added four rebounds, and at 6'9" he needs to be helping out on the boards more. The three point threat is something that the Pacers are growing accustomed to, and many people say that Granger is just as dangerous as Reggie was because he likes to come off screens and pull a quick three, which is exactly what Miller did.

Troy Murphy
Double-Double. What else can I say? He just picked up another double-double in the first game of the year, thank you Troy (he's on my fantasy team). Murphy put up 14 points on 6-9 shooting, and 2-3 from behind the arc, which is something that Indiana Pacers fans are coming to know and love about Murphy. Murphy used to be one of the best rebounders in the league with the Warriors about five years ago, but of course he was traded because he had lost rebounding skills right? Wrong. Murphy picked up the performance last season and continued it last night with another 10-rebound game, and decided to throw in seven assists to go along with it, definitely not a shabby game.

Dahntay Jones
Jones was definitely more than advertised. In Denver, he was recognized as a defender, and wasn't really thought of as a good scorer, but with the Pacers he has been asked to drive to the bucket and score, as well as play defense. Well, to make a long story short, Jones responded with 17 points. He went 4-9 from the field, and an amazing 9-9 from the free throw line, while not attempting a three point shot. The point in the game where I realized that Jones was a very good addition was when he drove to the bucket, took a foul from Josh Smith, and still flipped the shot up over his head and made it for a three point play, that's when I saw that Jones wasn't just a defender, but could be Danny Granger's partner in crime until Mike Dunleavy comes back from injury. Not only did he score however but he played solid defense on Joe Johnson all night long, and didn't allow any easy shots, which is exactly what the Pacers want from him on the defensive side of the floor.

Earl Watson
Many NBA fans thought that the addition of Earl Watson would be decent for Indiana, but after watching the first game he played for the Pacers, many fans are talking about him replacing the struggling T.J. Ford in the lineup, and I think it's definitely a possibility. Watson went off for 20 points, on 7-8 shooting, 3-4 at the foul line, and 3-3 from behind the three point arc. Not only did he break out on the offensive end, but he also pestered point guards like Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford all night, not letting anything easy by him. Only one rebound and one assist from Earl could raise questions on whether or not he's the kind of point guard the Pacers want, but then again, just watch a re-run of the game and you'll see that he ran the team well, people just couldn't hit the shots he made passes for, so it's not his fault and he was passing.

Overall those are the key bright spots in the first game for Indiana, and even though they aren't all the best, and there are only four, that's definitely cause for hope for the Pacers. They have put together a defensively minded team, and it showed up until the last eight minutes in the fourth quarter. Not only do they play defense, but I think we have a better scoring squad than we did even last season, so yeah good start to the season even though we did lose, should be fun to see how we do next game vs. the Heat!

Comments are appreciated.