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Playoffs = Veteran Time

The story of the night in game one was the spark that the second unit (a.k.a. the Young Guns) gave us. They gave Indy so much of a thrashing that it was almost a shame to put the vets back in.

However, sparked by that energy, the vets stepped up as well. Gary Payton was a man on a mission, positively abusing the Pacer guards - especially on the blocks or driving to the hoop. Raef was feeling it from outside (and was the only reason we were still in the game during the first quarter). Paul and Antoine had off-nights shooting, but still managed to do all the other things well that make a team win ballgames. Even Blount was noticably un-noticable (considering his oft-fumbling ways, this is an improvement). All the vets showed great poise on the defensive side, creating turnovers and grabbing lose balls. What should really strike fear into the Pacers is the thought of what will happen once Paul and Antoine start making shots.

While you can count on the kids to come a down to earth a little, you can also count on the vets to maintain their focus and solid play. This is why we brought Gary Payton to the team. This is why we brought back Antoine Walker. Jefferson and the boys showed that the future is soon, but the present still requires experienced leadership.

(oh yeah, and on the flipside: don't count on Allen being able to contain Reggie forever - he'll pull out some of his tricks soon enough)