The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

May 15, 2013

Mike Lopresti: Next man up on podium for Pacers

— Next appearing in the post-game interview room for the Indiana Pacers will be . . .

Well, that’s been the intriguing part about this current joyride in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They’ve been changing stars of the game like they change socks. Four games, four different leading scorers, and no wonder some of them require a little interview room orientation. They’re not all that used to the place.

“Where,” George Hill asked upon entering the room after 26 points in Game 4, “do I sit?”

That’d be the chair in front of the microphone, where he could explain how he had become the latest Pacer to torment the New York Knicks.

“We know we’re a deep team,” he was saying. “It could be anybody up here.”

If not Paul George, then David West, or Roy Hibbert, who mentioned after Game 3 he had never been to a playoff podium in his life and wondered what he should wear. It was like listening to someone talk about his first prom.

Who next, Boomer the mascot? Leading this team in scoring has become an equal opportunity position, but at the moment, Hill is the poster Pacer for Indiana’s 3-1 series lead.

If Indianapolis is to rekindle a love affair for its NBA team, why not big plays from a hometown product? Hill went to college at IUPUI, 11 blocks from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Broad Ripple High School, maybe 20 minutes away. He has donated gobs of money — and even more impressively, gobs of time — to youth basketball in the city. He understands what a long playoff ride would mean.

“It’s Pacers basketball coming back to Indiana the way it used to be back in the day,” he said. “The way this crowd filled up the arena and you can barely hear your plays, that’s what it’s all about. It just shows Indianapolis is a great basketball city, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

If the Pacers are to stay true to their stated team-first mentality, what better sight than Game 4’s leading scorer perfectly willing to spend extra minutes on the bench in the fourth quarter, standing and applauding his mates as they padded the lead on the Knicks?

“I told Coach (Frank) Vogel to let it ride out,” Hill said. “If our team is playing well, there’s no need for me to go back in and mess it up.”

If Indiana is to be a team that thrives by each player taking advantage of opportunity, why not 26 points from a guy who in the first three games of the series, couldn’t have hit the Ohio River from a barge? Hill was 14-for-44 those three games. Not bad, if you’re shooting blindfolded.

He was 9-for-14 in Game 4, making nearly every big shot Indiana needed. “Maybe the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” Vogel said.

Who among Hoosiers would not appreciate such a night from a native son? One comes to mind. Knicks coach Mike Woodson went to Broad Ripple, too. He has been pushed to the brink by a fellow alum.

But so it goes these days for the Pacers, who never know where the next boffo performance will come from. “We just continue to be tied together,” West said. “But we’re not going to overreact to this. We haven’t really done anything yet.”

They will with one more victory. “I feel like we have to go into New York like we’re about to get eliminated,” Hill said of today’s Game 5 in Madison Square Garden.

The interview room is waiting, if yet another Indiana Pacer wants to take his turn leading the way. Directions supplied, upon request.

Mike Lopresti is a former writer for USA Today.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • PH pushes across only run in 7th FRANKTON -- After Frankton's Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights' Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher's circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome. Through six innings, Benefiel

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arabians clip Eagles, go for Muller repeat The competitive feeling at Pendleton Height’s Bill Stoudt Field quickly faded Friday during the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Arabians once again took advantage of the opposing team’s generosity as Frankton pitchers gave up six walks and hit five batters, and Pendleton Heights took the 14-3 victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Indians scratch back into Muller final A young and inexperienced Anderson team again proved its mettle Friday in the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Indians (2-3), playing without several expected starters to open the season, clawed out a 10-6 victory against Lapel (2-2) at Memorial Field to advance to the championship game for the 10th time.

    April 18, 2014

  • Elwood rolls past Liberty Christian While most people were aware that Elwood had 22 hits, 19 runs, 11 extra base hits and four home runs, most failed to notice that pitcher Tenasha Stephens tossed a no-hitter in the process.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pendleton Heights, Frankton to meet for net title

    Pendleton Heights and Frankton advanced to today's Madison County Championship title match after posting very different victories. The Lady Arabian tennis team advanced after defeating the Alexandria Tigers 4-1. For Frankton, it came down to a No. 1 singles tie-breaker to put away Lapel.

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - HB0418 - PHHS vs Alex - 017 Arabians hold off Alex to reach semifinals Good teams don't need much help. That didn't stop Pendleton Heights from accepting a little aid from Alexandria in the second round of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Panthers claw way into softball semis If only Elwood's Jessie Noone had missed the team bus, Thursday's game in the Madison County Softball Tournament would have been more competitive.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ravens drove Manchester to avoid sweep NORTH MANCHESTER — The Anderson University baseball team defeated Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader Manchester University 9-5 on Wednesday at Gratz Field. Andrew Eiler led the Raven offense with three hits, three runs and an RBI, including one of four home runs the visitors hit.

    April 17, 2014

  • Elwood, Liberty Christian advance in county softball tournament The 2014 Madison County Softball tournament got off to a wild start at Liberty Christian on Wednesday night as Elwood and the host Liberty Christian Lions advanced with victories.

    April 17, 2014