Indianapolis: Nap Town? Not Today.

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Photo Credit: @Pacers

May 26, 2013.

Might as well mark it down as one of the biggest days in Indianapolis’ sports history. Today will include everything but naps for Indianapolis sports fans.

12:12 PM EST: The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.

8:30 PM EST: Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat in downtown Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

With hometown racer and Butler University alumnus, Ed Carpenter, sitting on the pole, the fans had plenty to cheer for today. The crowd erupted when Carpenter was introduced during the pre-race festivities and roared again when Billy Graham asked, “to continue our joy tonight in helping our beloved Pacers to ice the Heat,” in the pre-race prayer.

While Ed Carpenter did not win, he was still able to finish 10th while leading 37 laps along the way. If anyone had to win other than the Butler alum, it was Tony Kanaan, who has been a crowd favorite for years. He was able to persist through a record-high 68 lead changes to capture his first Indy 500 title in his 12th attempt.

Thus, with around 400,000 in attendance and an exciting race, the Indy 500 was a great success for Indianapolis, and let’s hope the Pacers can help cap off a perfect day for the city. In just over 4 hours, they will square off against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

If the Pacers limit their turnovers, defend in front to prevent straight-line drives to the basket by Heat players, and take advantage of their low-post advantage in Roy Hibbert and David West, they will have a really good chance at taking control of the series.

It also helps that they are at home and will be playing in front of an electric crowd. For as crazy as the atmosphere was for Game 6 against the Knicks, tonight will be on a completely different level.

If any Miami Heat fans made the trip to Indianapolis (let’s be honest, they probably didn’t…they have trouble making the trip to their home arena), they can borrow some of the ear plugs used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today so that they can handle the crowd noise. Indianapolis Colts punter, Pat McAfee, will be proud because it most definitely will be Bonkers Life Fieldhouse tonight.

Indianapolis sports fans can find time for a nap sometime tomorrow…

Until next time…

Joe
@stlCupOfJoe

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Special Column: Pacers Game 6

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(Photo Credit: Mitsubishi Electric)

Game 6 in Indianapolis. The Pacers are up 3 games to 2 over the Knicks in the best of 7 series. They need this game. Why? As (John) @Buccigross tweeted earlier this morning, the Pacers are 5-0 with a points-per-game differential of +15.4 at home; whereas, on the road, they are just 2-4 with a PPG differential of -8.8. Needless to say, they really enjoy playing in front of the hometown crowd–especially in the playoffs.

Sure, they could really use George Hill–a point guard with a perfect combination of scoring and playmaking ability. However, if he is unable to play (due to his concussion), this Pacers team was built and coached to work through adversity throughout the entire season.

In order to win this game, two things must happen, and I am 100% sure that Frank Vogel knows exactly what I am talking about.

1. They need to limit the turnovers to half (or even less) of the 19 they had in Game 5. Sure, George Hill being out is a big reason for this high number, but they are all NBA players for a reason and are fully capable of taking care of the ball as long as they play within themselves–which Vogel will stress before and during the game. In Game 5, they were able to make comeback surges when they took care of the ball, but they saw the Knicks pull away when they starting turning it over towards the end of the game. This must be fixed in order to win Game 6.

2. Roy Hibbert must impact the game in a positive way. When he has been in a groove (offensively and defensively), the Pacers have been dominant. When he has either had an off night or on the bench with foul-trouble, the Pacers have looked mediocre at best. This is not a knock at Ian Mahinmi at all, who has been a great back-up center all season, it is just a testament to how important Roy is to the Pacers’ success. They need to #UnleashRoy for Game 6. This one is for Klipsch Audio (@KlipschAudio), and their catchy hash tag they came up with for the playoffs.

In all, the Pacers are the better team than the Knicks. They are not just a mere collection of aging stars looking to contribute individually in hopes of bringing the team success (I am hinting at the Knicks here).

They will win Game 6 tonight, regardless of the status of George Hill, if they limit the turnovers and get the ball down low to their big man early and often. By limiting the turnovers and getting the ball down low, it sets up their offense and gives players like Augustin, George, and Stephenson open looks from 3.

Also, it helps that they are at home for their biggest game of the season. As my favorite punter, Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow), would say: the Pacers need it to be “Bonkers Life Fieldhouse” tonight!

Until next time…

@stlCupOfJoe

A Nomad Lifestyle

Valued Viewers:

I will be taking a break from my daily sports blogging until Tuesday, May 21st. I am kind of a nomad (moving between rental houses, sleeping on couches, etc) right now up in Indianapolis without permanent Internet access. Blogging on the iPhone can get tedious and lead to errors that I do not want to make.

Thus, look for me to return to form next Tuesday upon arriving home to St. Louis for the summer.

Again, thank you for your views, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them. In the meantime, check out my other articles and share them with friends!

This one on Shelby Miller is my second favorite, and the one about our Farm System’s Impact is my overall favorite.

Until the 22nd…

@stlCupOfJoe

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