Karma has a strange way of fiddling with the NBA. With so many strong egos and huge personalities, there are several cosmic forces flowing within the league.
The Pacers are one franchise that could easily complain about getting the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving the fruits of the supreme God Ishvara. However, we may be seeing a franchise experiencing enlightenment through reincarnation.
They appeared in five ABA title games and won three of them making them by far the best team in the short-lived league. In 1976, the Indiana Pacers began selling off their star players in what would be their last season in the ABA. However, they were broke. Somehow they raised the $3.2 million it cost to join the NBA and were one of four teams accepted in the ABA-NBA merger.
It took a large financial contribution and even a telethon to sell season tickets to keep the Pacers’ head above water for the 1977 season. It was hard to fill seats when they only had three winning seasons in their first 13 years in the NBA.
Additionally, bad management prevented them from ever establishing a strong roster. They had the third overall pick in the 1978 draft and passed over Larry Bird who grew up in Indiana. They enraged their fans by picking up Rick Robey instead. They traded away Alex English for George McGinnis in 1980. McGinnis was past his prime and faded. English became one of the best scorers in NBA history.
The next season, they traded away their 1984 first round draft pick to the Trail Blazers for center Tom Owen who only contributed for one season in Indiana. Three years later, they had the worst record in the East and would of landed that second overall pick in the draft that included names such as Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Perkins.
It seemed as though the NBA had made a mistake by allowing such a poor and frankly idiotic franchise into its league. That all changed when Reggie Miller came to town but they still did not win that elusive title. They made it in 2000 when Miller guaranteed that he would bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Indiana but Kobe Bryant and the Lakers had different plans. They beat them 4-2.
On November 24, 2004, a fan named John Green threw a beer that essentially crippled the franchise. The Malice in the Palace ensued and the Pacers never fully recovered. A fallout was felt in Indiana with the loss of Miller and several other players as they entered a state of cleansing.
Larry Bird took over for Donnie Walsh and the seeds of Pāli vipaka have been starting to grow as the franchise begins to reenter the great wheel of samsāra that will lead to Nirvana. In other words, they are getting their act together as a team and making the right decisions to establish something great up there at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Right now, it may not seem that way though. They are sitting at 0-2 against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. However, this series has been played in a manner that going back to Indianapolis up 2 wouldn’t be too hard to conceive.
They led for the entire first game but gave up too many rebounds and clutch shots in the remaining minutes. Last night, they lost a key player in Darren Collison but still managed to hang in there. It came down to turnovers and last minute plays that simply didn’t go their way. These are all symptoms of a young team with a young coach.
Yes, being matched up against Derrick Rose and the Bulls in the first round is a daunting task and may seem unwinnable especially since they entered the playoffs with a sub .500 record. However, we are getting to see what this team may be able to accomplish one day.
Tyler Hansbrough has come out strong in this series and is showing the doubters that he can take his game to the NBA level. He hung in there after taking a hit from Kurt Thomas. He finished the game with 22 points after barely being able to walk himself to the locker room.
In game one, they gave up a late three to Kyle Korver who has been silent for most of the series outside of two extremely clutch shots. Danny Granger missed a late shot, Rose eventually went to the line and there wasn’t much else they could do against the Baby Bulls that are beginning to look like grown men.
Instead, it’s the Pacers that are looking like babies but there’s nothing wrong with that. These young guys are the ones stepping up. Acquiring Collison from New Orleans was the right thing to do. They needed a point guard and the Hornets were willing to part with the boy that made his name by filling in for the injured Russell Westbrook at UCLA.
He sprained his ankle during the first half of the game last night and head coach Frank Vogel says that he might not return for the series. Their depth at the position really stepped up last night though in Chicago. T.J. Ford and A.J. Price came in with a lot of hustle but the scoring simply wasn’t there. They got some much needed points with Ford’s 70-foot shot at the end of the third quarter and Price’s late free throws but they missed shots towards the end. That happens especially when it’s your first trip to the postseason and your own the road so it’s no surprise.
In this tale of David vs. Goliath, it is the big men in Indiana that also deserve some recognition. Roy Hibbert was thrown into a starting position very early in his NBA career and carries a frontcourt on a very small team. He was out there battling as well and is getting a lot of experience. The rookie Paul George is the same way and his 18 deflections showed that he is a hustle player.
Both games were losses but the Pacers are doing a lot better than we had expected in this series. The 0-2 doesn’t show how hard the young players in Indiana are playing and how they are setting the Karmic wheels in the right motion. They are the pieces that will deliver this franchise from the depths. They are the light.
Ultimately, the Pacers will loose this series. Rose cannot be contained and simply shutting down the rest of the Bulls wont be enough. Korver so far has hit some really important shots and it’s really hard to compete against all the personnel that Tom Thibodeau can put on the court.
These young guys in Indiana have been playing scrappy bally all season and have come up under a franchise somewhat defined by being the underdog as of late. They need to release that in order to achieve full nirvana they needed a period of rebirth and this is it. With a few more pieces, they will succeed and hopefully reach the ultimate goal that has eluded them for so long.