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Frank Vogel to Pacers: Stop complaining about in-house stuff

Frank-Vogel-Heat-floppersThe Indiana Pacers have not been shy about expressing their displeasure during their current 7-10 stretch of play. They are slowly losing their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, mainly because they can’t find ways to score. Regardless of what their issues may be, Indiana head coach Frank Vogel wants his team to stop complaining.

Or, at the very least, Vogel doesn’t want to hear the Pacers whining with microphones in their faces.

“It bothers me,” Vogel said Wednesday, via Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “Guys should never air in-house stuff to the media. I talked to the team about it today (Wednesday).”

More specifically, Vogel seemed bothered by Roy Hibbert’s comments last week when he called his teammates selfish.

“It was a weird thing. Roy said it a couple of days ago (after the Washington loss) and nobody really caught onto it until (recently),” Vogel added. “So I made sure to tell them that A) I don’t believe we have ‘selfish dudes’ in our locker room and B) whatever you might want to say about your teammates, don’t say it to the media. We have to get that stopped.”

Pacers forward David West also said recently that the team does not play a “good brand of basketball.” Considering Indiana was — and still is — one of the best teams in the East, that seems like a bit of an overreaction.

“Every team has stretches like this, some in December, some in January,” Vogel said. “It just happens that it’s happening to us in March. I still think our guys really believe in what we have here. I think it’s going to stabilize and turn around for us.”

Better to happen in March than in late April, I suppose. But if the Pacers don’t lose the “sky is falling” mentality before the postseason begins, their bad stretch of play may continue.

David West: Pacers look vulnerable, don’t play good brand of basketball

David-West-PacersIf you believe in momentum heading into the NBA playoffs, you understand why the Indiana Pacers desperately need to pick things up over the final nine games of the season. The Pacers, who still own the best record in the Eastern Conference, have gone just 8-8 in the month of March — their worst this season. David West spoke about his team’s struggles after Friday night’s loss.

“We look vulnerable,” West said, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “We look like teams can just come at us. Again, it’s because we don’t play a good brand of basketball.”

West’s comments came after Indiana lost to the Washington Wizards, a mediocre team at best. The Pacers committed 17 turnovers in the game, and West was responsible for four of them. He believes his team is taking lesser opponents too lightly.

“We’re at the point where we can’t just get up for the Miamis or the Chicago Bulls and then come out and get doughnuts against the Wizards or these other teams,” West said, via ESPN.com. “I just don’t know if we are handling success and being out front the right way.”

Roy Hibbert sounded just as frustrated as West.

“I don’t know. We’re tired of talking about it,” Hibbert said. “We’ve been in this rut for a month. You take one step forward, three steps back.”

We know the Heat are going to bring it come playoff time. They have won back-to-back championships and LeBron James is hungry for a third. If the Pacers want to stop them, they’ll have to match their intensity. Indiana certainly has the talent. Hopefully they’re getting their bad games out of the way now.

Andrew Bynum reportedly convinced Pacers to sign him

Andrew BynumYou won’t find many players in the NBA who are respected less than Andrew Bynum. The Chicago Bulls acquired Bynum in a trade for Luol Deng with the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, but only to waive him for financial relief.  Now, the Indiana Pacers have decided to take a low-risk, high-reward gamble on the oft-injured center.

Why would anyone want to add Bynum to their roster? According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, Bynum talked the Pacers’ brass into signing him with a convincing pitch during a three-hour dinner.

[Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard] said that during the Friday night dinner – which included team president Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel — Bynum made quite the pitch to join the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers.

“He made it perfectly clear,” Pritchard said during the radio interview. “He was like, ‘Look, I want to win a championship, I think I can really help you, and I want to fit in. I’m not coming here to let everybody fit in with me. I got to fit in with everybody else.’

“When he said that I think the thing changed.”

That must have been one hell of a sales job. Bynum was suspended by the Cavs earlier this year for conduct detrimental to the team, though Deng later said that the team is a mess in general. Still, that was hardly the first we have heard of Bynum being a disruptive presence.

Bynum doesn’t seem to like basketball, and one former teammate said he has never seen a player who dislikes the sport more. That said, the Pacers are already a championship contender. If Bynum causes a hint of a problem, they’ll just cut him and move on. If he is healthy and actually feels like trying, he could provide some quality front-court depth.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Pacers plane grounded, bus breaks down, CJ Watson gets stuck in bus bathroom

CJ-Watson-bathroomAfter defeating the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and improving their record to an NBA-best 17-2, the Indiana Pacers had themselves a night from hell. It all started when the team’s flight from Salt Lake City to San Antonio was forced to land in Houston because of nasty weather.

From Houston, the Pacers boarded a bus that was supposed to take them on a three-hour ride to San Antonio. Then the bus broke down. Pacers director of media relations David Benner and radio announcer Mark Boyle documented a lot of the disastrous evening on Twitter.

Fortunately, the bus eventually got back up and running shortly after it stopped. It’s probably for the best that the Pacers’ flight landed in Houston, though I’m not sure how much safer they were riding in a bus given the look of the weather conditions.

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Roy Hibbert paid Pacers backups $100 each for keeping Bobcats under 80 points

The Indiana Pacers take great pride in their defense, otherwise they would not be ranked 1st in the NBA with only 88.9 points allowed per game. It takes more than just a starting five to play great team defense, and Roy Hibbert wanted to remind the Pacers reserve players of that on Tuesday night by giving them an incentive late in the game.

With Indiana holding a comfortable lead late in the fourth quarter of a 103-76 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Hibbert offered the Pacers reserves $100 each if they held Charlotte under 80 points. Obviously, they were able to do so. From Curt Cavin of the Indianpolis Star:

‘I’m a man of my word,’ he assured them.

In a happy locker room following a 103-76 blowout, the highest-paid Pacer ($13.66 million this season) handed out large bills to three teammates, including one he couldn’t name, Dominic McGuire, who is playing on a 10-day contract. Jeff Pendergraph refused his reward. Ben Hansbrough must wait until Hibbert finds an ATM.

‘He’s a rookie; he gets his last,’ Hibbert said with playful defiance.

The Pacers are at the top of the NBA in both rebounding and defense. You don’t get those kind of results without steady contributions from role players. Hibbert is currently playing under a four-year, $58 million contract, so he can certainly spare the extra scratch. That being said, he might want to save the financial incentives for the playoffs. I don’t think paying your teammates for good defense is tax deductible.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie

Pacers players reportedly get in scuffle outside Orlando nightclub (Video)

When professional athletes hang around nightclubs into the wee hours of the morning, bad things are bound to happen. Why they would still choose to do so during a crucial time like the playoffs amazes me, but they do. According to TMZ.com, police had to break up a confrontation outside an Orlando nightclub at around 2:45 a.m. Thursday morning between Danny Granger and Kyrylo Fesenko and a group of Magic fans.

According to the report, the dust-up started when one of the club-goers accused the 7-foot-1 Fesenko of bumping into him and “unleashed a flurry of verbal attacks” on the Indiana center. As you can kind of make out in the video below, Fesenko was attempting to walk away as the mob grew. At that point Granger began running after the mob but was restrained. Here is a video of the incident, which contains some NSFW language.

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Pacers training staff mocks Amar’e Stoudemire’s fire extinguisher injury (Picture)

Regardless of the type of greatness he may achieve from now until retirement, this is the moment that is going to haunt Amar’e Stoudemire for the remainder of his career. The infamous fire extinguisher incident will be remembered by any and all who were sports fans after the turn of the century. From the stories we heard about how gruesome the injury was, it sounds like Amar’e doesn’t need people piling it on. However, we have already seen a hilarious t-shirt that pokes fun at him, New York newspapers making a mockery of the incident, and now this.

The photo that you see above was tweeted by Austin Croshere of the Pacers with the following text: “The Pacers training staff is taking injury prevention to a whole new level!”

Fantastically original — we’ll give it that. Sorry, Amar’e. Some things are just too funny to pass up.

Thanks to Los That Sports Blog for sharing the photo with us