The Indiana Pacers evened the series against the Miami Heat last night for a host of reasons, but one centers around Roy Hibbert and the mismatch against the Heat front line. The Heat have no answer for a classic center like Roy Hibbert, and he creates all sorts of problems for them when he stays out of foul trouble.
Now, this wouldn’t matter as much if the Miami shooters were hitting their threes, but Indiana’s overall defense deserves some credit as well.
Unlike the matchup with the Bulls, there hasn’t been a time so far in the first three games where the Pacers have looked overmatched against Lebron James and the Heat. The Pacers have the athletes and the size to go head to head with the Heat, even if they at times have their own breakdowns against the suffocating Heat defense.
But by taking game 2, the Pacers now have more than a puncher’s chance of winning this series. There’s a very long way to go, but now game 3 becomes a pivotal game. Let’s see if Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers can keep up the intensity at home. The Heat aren’t intimidated by playing on the road.
The Indiana Pacers have the odds stacked against them facing the Miami Heat, but the team matches up well against Miami, and things could get very interesting if Lance Stephenson continues his impressive development as a player.
Adrian Wojnarowski has a nice profile of Stephenson, explaining how Larry Bird discovered him with a huge assist from another blast from the past, former Cleveland State coach and basketball guru Kevin Mackey.
Indian has size and they know how to play defense. But they’re young and their perimeter players are inconsistent. So they need several of these guys to step up against Miami, and Stephenson has the kind of talent that can thrive in these settings. But, he’s had to mature a lot these past three years, and now we’ll see if he’s ready for the big stage.
While some might call Stephenson a head case, you could say the same about Lebron James who has had some of the biggest post season meltdowns in NBA history. So let’s see if Stephenson can perform at a high level, and then let’s see how Lebron responds.
The game wasn’t close, but we’ve seen Memphis come back repeatedly after Game 1 losses, so we won’t make too much of this game. The question will be whether a young team like the Grizzlies can rise to the occasion in the conference finals against a veteran team like the Spurs. I Like the Spurs in this series, but game 1 outcomes can be deceiving. The Spurs have to hold the home court in this next game.
Even though he just recently finished his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin, Traevon Jackson comes across just like his game- confident, smooth and mature.
For being just 20 years old, he’s so calm and composed, you can’t help but think about where you were in life at 20….and then sheepishly quit punishing yourself.
Some of that confidence undoubtedly comes from his famous genetics and being the son of NBA star player Jim Jackson, but the greater part of it comes from his faith and approach to life, off the court.
What was your experience like playing in the NCAA Tournament?
“Obviously, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. Just the fact of me playing in the tournament was great because it’s the attitude of “loser goes home” and unfortunately we had to go home. But it really puts into perspective what you need to do to prepare for it going forward. And learning from that this year helps us next year.”
Is there added pressure based on who your dad is to succeed? What’s the dynamic of that like?
“Growing up, I felt it more than I do now, but now I don’t even think about it at all, actually. The pressure that I feel now the most is pleasing the Lord. That may sound cliché, but that’s an everyday type of task and the biggest thing for me. As long as I continue to grow in that aspect, there is no other question.”
Who would win a game of one on one right now?
“Oh, me of course (laughing). Easily. He can beat me in golf and all the other, cards, all that stuff, but he’s not beating me on the court.”
Every year after the Kentucky Derby, the question becomes whether the winner can carry it forward and win the Triple Crown. I’m old enough to remember when Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978, and frankly I’d really like to see it again.
Often we see horses win the Derby where it’s obvious the horse has no chance to get two more races. But this year, even on a sloppy track, Or b looked like a horse that has the goods to compete for glory. Next up is the Preakness, and the odds look pretty good for Orb:
The 138th Preakness, however, does not appear to offer a profitable opportunity to wager against the Derby winner. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers at Churchill Downs will not be at Pimlico because they are awaiting the Belmont Stakes or other objectives. Just eight horses will challenge Orb, and it is difficult to make a solid case for any of them.
Fortunately, in today’s world you can bet the horses from anywhere you like from your home and enjoy things like Royal Ascot Betting, so getting your racing fix is very easy. But there’s still something special about the Triple Crown, and getting in on the action in a year where a horse finally prevails should provide a hell of a story.