The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Sports

May 18, 2013

Mike Lopresti: One screen causes Hill of trouble

Ah, the fickle ways of the NBA playoffs, where flips come with flops and so many roads have U-turns. One change-everything injury is all it takes. One untimely blow to the head, and the karma.

Which brings us to George Hill’s concussion.

Suddenly, everything is different for the Indiana Pacers. The 3-2 lead over the New York Knicks is tenuous, the momentum is melting, the danger is growing, Game 6 at home tonight is absolutely vital.

Overcoming adversity is part of the deal, if you want to stay with the big guys in May. It’s the Pacers’ turn to be the overcomers. Or not.

One loss can do all that? Sure, if it is accompanied by the point guard going to the bench, for who knows how long. Day to day is the current verdict on Hill, but here’s the thing: Not many days are left in this playoff series.

It was not just Indiana’s defeat in Game 5 that sounded the alarm — really, who didn’t expect the Knicks to win in Madison Square Garden? — but the message.

The Pacers’ offense without Hill produced 19 turnovers, and no assists by the man who replaced him (D.J. Augustin). It had no answers when it needed them, against a New York team that could have been had. The Knicks did not seize Game 5 so much as they survived it.

So an Indiana team built with just the right chemistry suddenly is missing an important ingredient. A BLT sandwich without the tomato. Injuries can ruin an NBA team’s plans and hopes quicker than anything in the spring. Ask the Chicago Bulls. Ask the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In the end, will someone say, ask the Indiana Pacers? All because of Tyson Chandler’s screen on Hill in Game 4. About that screen ... “No comment,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said Friday.

Come tonight, the Pacers will need answers, with or without Hill. Paging Paul George. Paging Roy Hibbert. Paging someone, anyone to help pick up the slack. The Pacers have said they are deep. This is when they need to be, lead or no lead. The reasons for urgency are there in black and white, not to mention blue and gold.

Lose, and the series once tilting their way is tied.

Lose, and the Pacers must play Game 7 on the road, where they have lost four of six in the postseason, all four by a bunch.

Lose, and the Knicks can clinch at Madison Square Garden, where they are 35-12 this season.

Lose, and the Pacers will have history hissing at them from the front row, sitting right next to Spike Lee. Road teams are 10-26 this century in Game 7.

See how this works? One loss, one headache, and everything changes.

Home must save the Pacers now. Home, and finding a way, even with one wheel missing. If Hill is still out, it will be a chance to learn something else about these Pacers. We know they’re talented. We know they’re good. We know they’re eager. Now we’ll find out how resilient they are.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Rick Bramwell: Improving weather should aid morels When I looked at my wilted daffodils Tuesday morning, I knew this would be a setback for morels. The long-range forecast through April 29 calls for near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. This is good news for the blacks and grays.

    April 16, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0416 - tennis file - 14 Many girls tennis teams return top talent With spring sports getting off to a good start thanks to some spring-like weather last week, local girls tennis teams are taking to the court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wild week will get later start The busiest week on Madison County's high school sports calendar is going to start a day later than expected.

    April 14, 2014

  • Familiar trio leads boys track teams Much like in years past, Anderson, Lapel and Pendleton Heights have assembled the largest number of track athletes of the area’s 11 high schools. And, while the remaining teams may struggle to compete from a team standpoint, they will send capable athletes to the line to challenge in individual events.

    April 14, 2014

  • New roles, same goals for Arabians

    Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the first 13 years of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament is that no team has repeated as champion.

    April 14, 2014

  • Track stars prepare for numbers game

    Track is a numbers game, not just with times and distances, but with roster sizes as well. Smaller schools often abandon the philosophy of competing for team titles when running against larger schools with nearly double the number of athletes. Instea

    April 14, 2014

  • SPT - HB0413 - Horseshoe Classic - 163 Arabians finish third in Horseshoe Classic It wasn't the place they wanted to be playing for, but the Pendleton Heights Arabians won their final game of the day to finish third in the Horseshoe Classic here Saturday.

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • PH wins Yorktown invite Pendleton Heights and Alexandria opened the 2014 golf season as part of the 15-team field at the Yorktown Invitational. Despite the abundance of blue skies and sunshine, the weather may have been more of a challenge than the 18 holes at The Players Club.

    April 12, 2014

  • New faces dominate Tribe's roster At some point in the very near future — likely Monday — Anderson baseball coach Terry Turner will sit down with his players and explain the significance of the week ahead. He'll tell them who Nick Muller was and why he worked so very hard 14 years ago to help create a tournament that carries the former Indian's name.

    April 12, 2014