Checking in on the first meeting of the Pacers and Warriors since their eight-player deal, the centerpiece of which included the Pacers trading Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson for forwards Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy. In the ninth game since the deal, the Warriors mopped the court with the Pacers, 113-98.
In wake of Jackson's actions
On to the questions . . .
Jackson, who had clashed with both the law and coach Rick Carlisle during his Pacers tenure, returned to Conseco and dropped 36 points in front of a crowd that appeared to come straight from the Colts' victory parade. The crowd could barely get a boo in edgewise before he went off. Motivated much?
He had something to prove. When you get traded, you do that.
Pacers announcer Quinn Buckner said he saw his first Jackson hook shot, even. If you were to judge solely from this game, it would seem Golden State got the better of the deal, right? On one scoreboard, it was Harrington-Jackson 52, Dunleavy-Murphy 14.
It's one game. Actually, I like this move better for Indy. Jackson and Harrington play hard, but this time they had the extra motivation. They scored the first 14 Warriors points.
The Pacers are now 6-3 with their new players, and the Warriors are 4-5. You expect the Pacers to continue to show the better overall improvement?
Yes. Murphy has been riddled with injuries -- he broke his nose again this past week. But he's a guy who can step in and rebound or make a shot. If he can get comfortable, he can knock down the shots and complement Jermaine O'Neal. Having Danny Granger is a big reason why the Pacers could deal Jackson and Harrington.
Is Dunleavy going to shoot better? He made 4 of 15 in this one, and is under 40 percent with his new team.
He's going to be better in the long run because he's going to be playing with a talented post player in O'Neal. When you're the third pick in the draft, the expectations go through the roof. Remember, he came from a not particularly strong draft in 2002. But he is, and can be, rightfully viewed as a very solid complementary player. Dunleavy can get better.
And Ike Diogu?
Probably a guy that just needs more time.
Where do you put the Pacers in the East?
Indy's now three games out of the East lead. If this team goes on and wins, say, eight of its next 10, then it's maybe the new No. 1 in the East. It's been the Wizards one week, the Pistons the next and so on. Will someone in the Eastern Conference, please stand up? As my colleague Mike Tirico astutely points out, Indy is now the sleeper to win the East.
What about Nellie's new guys? Can they shoot their way into the playoffs?
If they get hot, they can beat you. They took this one without Baron Davis. But I don't buy them as a perennial playoff team. Now, if we're running them in a 6-foot-6 and under league, I'll take 'em every time.
But they're just two games out of the No. 8 spot. Will they get hot enough?
No. They're not a good defensive team, and don't have a good enough post presence.
At least Jackson got something off his chest. And the Conseco crowd had a tiny moment. In lieu of having Booger McFarland sit on Jackson, they had to settle for the swat by 38-year-old Darrell Armstrong of their villain in the third quarter.
The veteran has been a good addition. The latest moves by the Pacers show that, if you're that close to the top, and you deal four players, you were obviously not too happy with the way things were going.
ESPN analyst Jon Barry retired last year after 14 years in the NBA.
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Bulls forward Luol Deng battles for a rebound with Jazz center Mehmet Okur, who scored 12 of Utah's final 14 points during Utah's 100-95 win.
greg (toronto): I really like the way the Raptors are playing and the culture developing around the team where everything is about the team and it doesn't matter who starts and who doesn't (i.e. Calderon and MoPete). What's the best case for the Raptors this season?
John Hollinger: I've got to say, winning a playoff round no longer seems completely absurd. It will be tough -- likely on the road against one of the Central division powerhouses -- but suddenly it seems the Titanic champ won't produce an automatic 4-and-out.
Talk is heating up as the NBA trade deadline approaches. Marc Stein goes in depth with Chad Ford on the players rumored to be changing addresses.
Suns overcome Melo triple-double
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Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash holds his right shoulder while looking on in the fourth quarter of the Suns' 113-108 win over the Nuggets. Nash did not play in the second half due to inflammation in his shoulder.
Quote of the Day
-- Andrew Ayres
If you're one of the NBA's elite teams, a packed house is an incredible positive. Everyone in the arena is pulling for the home team, and the noise and emotion can be a huge problem for the visitors.
But for teams on the other side of the NBA tracks, a sellout can be much more of a mixed blessing. Take the Hawks' "home" game against the Lakers on Monday for instance. On the one hand, it was great to see Atlanta celebs like Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, and Bow Wow come out, and it was nice to see the crowd be a factor at a Hawks game for a change.
On the other hand, the crowd was mostly a factor for the visitors. A good chunk of the audience was wearing gold jerseys with a "24" or an "8"on the back, and the vast majority of fans cheered for the visitors.
Kobe Bryant seemed to visibly feed off their cheering, much as he did in Boston a few days earlier. This was particularly true when he took the game over in the fourth quarter, scoring nine straight points midway through the period on a series of one-on-one moves to put the game out of reach.
It was a great show and one of the more entertaining games Philips Arenas has seen this year ... but I have a feeling the Hawks would rather have played in front of a few hundred folks and picked up a W.
-- John Hollinger in Atlanta
February 6, 1970
February 6, 1988
-- ESPN Research
As we celebrate Black History Month, Tony Dungy became the first black head coach to win the Super Bowl. Black head coaches to win NBA titles:
-- ESPN Research