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
  • SPT - HB0424 - Frankton vs AHS - 048 Frankton hits early, often in win over Anderson Frankton pounded out 11 hits in handing Anderson its second softball loss in as many nights.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0424 - Alex v MG 3 Argylls hold on to top Tigers Pitching and defense win games, especially in girls high school softball and it was on display here Wednesday evening as the Madison-Grant Lady Argylls picked up a 4-1 Central Indiana Conference win over the host Lady Tigers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indians come up short against Tigers in golf The Anderson Indians came up short against Yorktown 147-170 on Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Reggie photo for online notebook Colts notebook: Few doubts about Wayne in locker room If there are outside doubts about whether Reggie Wayne can return to form because of his age and the severity of his injury, few are shared inside the Indianapolis Colts' locker room.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0424 - Mathis armor Mathis' leadership paying off for Colts An authentic set of battle armor greeted visitors to Robert Mathis' locker Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The black-and-gold helmet and chest plate look more at home in one of the "300" movies, but they are the proud possessions of the NFL's reigning sacks champion thanks to the generosity of Daniel Adongo and Bjoern Werner.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mike Lopresti: Pacers finally respond to critics So maybe the Indiana Pacers don't like being called wussies. Is that all it took, an on-air jab from Charles Barkley? Some brash talk, apparently, from Atlanta Hawks guard and Indianapolis native son Jeff Teague? Or was it the stark reality that they were closing in on owning the notorious legacy of a team that melted in the bright lights, faster than frozen yogurt?

    April 23, 2014

  • Rick Bramwell: Morel season off to a slow start The expectations, brought on by a harsh winter, have turned into a wait-and-see situation for morel hunters. A cooler than normal spring has put the tasty little sponges on ice.

    April 23, 2014

  • Tigers nip Argylls in girls track meet ALEXANDRIA -- Kelsey Crisp had a trio of firsts and a second place finish and her Alexandria Tigers needed every one of those as they nipped Madison-Grant 61-60 in a girls dual track meet here Tuesday. Crisp won the 100, the 400 and the long jump and

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT - HB0423 - PHHS golf 1 PH displays depth, dismantles Delta Three of Pendleton Heights top five golfers sat out Tuesday’s match against Delta, and the Arabians barely missed a beat. Tyler Meyer and Chase Simpson fired low nine-hole scores of 36 to pace the Arabians to a 159-190 victory over the Eagles.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0423 - AU baseball - 117 Heberling lifts Ravens to crucial win Cole Heberling's 11th-inning hit landed in right field for an RBI-single Tuesday, and the Anderson University baseball team moved into sole possession of second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-5 victory against Rose-Hulman.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos