Tag Archives: ahead

Pacers Clinch Playoff Berth, Begin to Look Ahead

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers secured their spot in the 2016 NBA Playoffs tonight with a 129-105 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets. Indiana’s seed is still yet to be determined, but as we’ve known for a while, they will either enter the postseason as the 7th or 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

It’s always good to pick up a win, particularly one that clinches a playoff spot. Beyond that, however, is something gained from this that the team really needed.

The Pacers have had a number of poor performances in the latter part of the season, and part of the reason for their inconsistency has been lack of chemistry/lack of leadership. Indiana doesn’t have serious locker room issues, but they do have some that get in the way of team performance at times.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Frank Vogel recently talked about the team having “decent chemistry,” which is basically an admission that it is less than optimal – or worse. After a recent blowout loss to Atlanta (pictured above), guard George Hill was quoted as saying “it’s not about keeping people happy” when asked about fixing the Pacers’ problems. His comment was an allusion to some of his teammates being a bit more concerned about themselves than the team.

The game against Brooklyn, a blowout win in which everyone got to play and contribute, helps team chemistry, at least in the short-term. These guys all feel good about things after that type of victory, coupled with the accomplishment of making the playoffs.

I don’t think it matters who they play in the first round, but what does matter is how the team learns and grows from their playoff experience. Playing either the Cavaliers or Raptors is going to be a struggle, and it will be important to see how the players react when things aren’t going well. In the NBA, that’s usually when teams pull apart, rather than band together.

The Pacers aren’t going to advance past the opening round, but if they gain some valuable playoff experience during this process, and learn to stay together and play for each other when times are tough, then they will have accomplished quite a bit during their brief playoff run.


IPL 2016 Opening ceremony: Bollywood stars set the stage alight ahead of new season

Mumbai: A glitzy mix of Bollywood razzmatazz and high-octane performances, including that of West Indian cricketer Dwayne Bravo’s smash-hit rap ‘Champion dance’, marked a glittering opening ceremony which set the ball rolling for the ninth edition of the IPL on Friday night.

The two hour and 15 minute long event was less spectacular as compared to the previous editions but the cine stars still managed to put up an entertaining show, enthralling the gathering at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Stadium at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai.

Ranveer Singh performs during the opening ceremony of IPL. PTI

Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez and Punjabi rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh kept the audience glued to their seats during the opening gala attended by the BCCI top brass, franchise team owners, players and support staff of all the eight participating teams.

The crowd at the indoor stadium enjoyed every bit of Bravo’s much-anticipated ‘champions dance’. In white blazer and black trousers, Bravo, a part of the West Indies World Twenty20 winning team, swayed to his ‘Champion dance’ as the fellow cricketers and crowd cheered him.

Bravo also danced to another number ‘Chalo Chalo’ and was joined on the stage by Bollywood playback singer Ankit Tewari who sang an Indian version of ‘Champion’ — ‘Hindustan Mein Bade Bade Champion.

Like earlier opening ceremonies, the cricket segment was short and limited to only the oath taking ceremony by the skippers of the eight teams. Indian team Director Ravi Shastri ushered the eight captains to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge for fair play.