The Pacers beat the Hornets

Published: October 16, 2010

The Hornets and Pacers clashed last night in Indiana, and the Hornets lost by 98-101(Box Score) after a very close finish that could have gone either way.  One thing, though, is clear.  Monty didn’t care at all about winning the game.  For the entire fourth quarter, the team rolled with bench players plus Belinelli, with Belinelli serving as the shot-creator.

Even with the Pacers running with their starting five and best rotation players, (Granger went out halfway through the game) Monty stuck to his guns and kept the reserves in there to figure out what they could do.  Considering that – the reserves didn’t do so badly.

Marco Belinelli

For a lot of the game, Marco played well.  He worked off of other players, drove when he was closed out on, and generally made good decisions.  Then it became crunch time.  From that point on, he took 18 or 20-foot leaners, shots as he was fading away, and generally tried to be the hero.  I’m fine with it.  We all know West and Paul will be in there in the fourth and they are much better options – having him there going against the third tier of a teams defense rather than the first, will be a benefit at the end of games.

I did notice that all of his three pointers were rushed, with his feet not set.  That makes me sad.  Always set your feet.  Or move the ball.

Jason Smith

Some of you are going to hate this guy.  It’s a given.  He’s awkward, loses control of the ball while rebounding when he should have an iron grip on it, and he just doesn’t come across as impressive.  However, I really liked what he was doing.  He moved his feet, he set picks, he battled.  He’s not a starter, but he’s our best backup big man at the moment, and I think he fits nicely into almost any teams 4-man big rotation.  14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in 23 minutes last night.

Marcus Thornton

Thornton’s line was awful.  I watched the tape again this morning, and if he hadn’t already shot poorly in two previous games, I would have shrugged this one off without a second thought.  Four of his shots were point blank at the rim, and just dribbled around the rim and fell off the other side.  The other was a mid-range leaner that wasn’t good, but it wasn’t a bad shot either.  I’m torn about this.  Marcus has shown nothing this pre-season to warrant longer minutes, but last year he did a lot to warrant longer minutes.  While I want Williams to make people earn their time on the court, I’m horrified by the idea of Thornton vanishing to the end of the bench and not having enough chances to work out what is happening.

Other observations:

  • If that performance last night doesn’t end Joe Alexander’s chance at the rotation – or maybe even the team, I’ll be surprised.  He was being absolutely destroyed by Tyler Hansbrough.  I actually felt a little bad for him.
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu had some nice energetic moments crashing the boards, and some terrible ones, including rebounding the nice stop at the end of the game, Hornets down 1, and then throwing it at Willie Green with two Pacers standing between them.  Game over.
  • Some of you are coming down hard on Willie Green.  I’ve found him to be perfectly adequate as a backup point guard the past couple games.  I’m not saying he’s great, but he protects the ball, can easily bring it up against pressure, and then gets the ball to the right people to initiate the offense.  His defense has been fairly solid as well.
  • Paul and Okafor looked pretty good out there.  The starting group is nice.
  • Ariza is a ball-stopper.  If it touches his hands, he has to first think about what he can do with it before moving it on.  He also drives a lot into traffic and then turns around and has to pass it out, having gained no advantage for his team.  He’s still got his moments, though.
  • Peja looked nice, but I’m already heartily sick of seeing him be matched up against opposing power forwards.  He gets manhandled so badly and gives up and-one’s like candy.
  • Watkins and Strawberry got some limited minutes and had limited impact.  Stawberry hounded Collison into a turnover, and Watkins showed he likes to throw elbows.
  • Pondexter wasn’t getting anything done.  In twelve minutes, he missed a shot, got an assist, and had a foul.  I wish I could say more, but I don’t have any notes about him at all.  Odd, I even remember thinking I needed to watch what he was doing specifically.

That’s it.  Another game tonight vs the Atlanta Hawks.  Hopefully Thornton will make a shot.


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