The Indiana Pacers played very poorly throughout the final two months of the regular season, and the trend continued in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. Despite their disappointing play down the stretch, Indiana still secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. You wouldn’t know it by watching them on the court.
Like many others, Charles Barkley is fed up with watching such a talented team struggle to score points. He went off on the Pacers on Sunday’s “Inside the NBA” halftime show.
“You guys talk all that noise all year,” Barkley said. “‘We want home court.’ Then you come out (Saturday) night and play like dogs.”
Barkley then complimented the Pacers for having a great front office presence in Larry Bird and a great head coach in Frank Vogel.
“But to come out and play like wussies the last month of the season, get a fresh start and then come out at home (Saturday) night… I was disappointed because I’m an Indiana fan,” he continued. “But to come out and play like flat wussies… Come on man, ya’ll are better than that. You’re embarrassing coach Vogel and the great Larry Bird.”
I’m sure Indiana fans feel the same way as Sir Charles. The No. 1 seed has lost in the first round just 8% of the time in the NBA playoffs, but the Pacers look incredibly vulnerable. They have seemingly had chemistry issues for a while and have lost their identity. With the way Jeff Teague played in Game 1, Indiana fans have every right to be concerned.
The 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 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.
If 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.
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.
You 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.’
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.
After 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.
6:47 AM. Bus just broke down in the middle of nowhere on the way to San Antonio. Good times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First it was Candlestick during Monday Night Football, and now it’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Yup, the lights went out during the second quarter of the Nets-Pacers game in Indianapolis Thursday evening. No reason was given for the outage, but it didn’t last very long. One thing we know is that it wasn’t sharp shooting that made the lights go out; the Pacers were only 39% from the field.
It was hard getting over the shock of the Miami Heat blowing a 22-point lead against the Utah Jazz when I heard another shocking piece of information: the Indiana Pacers made 20 straight shots to start the third quarter. Yup, the Pacers beat the Nuggets 144-113 on Tuesday night thanks to a record-setting performance.
Indiana came out smoking hot in the 3rd, making its first 20 shots including 13 from outside the paint. The streak wasn’t broken until Josh McRoberts bombed and missed a three pointer to end the quarter. McRoberts also missed two free throws in the quarter making matters even worse.
Mike Dunleavy actually went for 24 points in the quarter alone, making five threes. The team set a franchise record with 54 points scored in the quarter and were five points away from setting the NBA record for most points in a quarter.
Coach Jim O’Brien said their hot quarter was about as much fun as you could have on a basketball court. Heck yeah that is — those players haven’t ever shot that well, not even when they were on fire playing NBA Jam. Scoring 54 points in a quarter and going 20-21? That’s just silly.