Pacers have lost their identity and way

VIDEO: The Rockets blow through the Pacers

HOUSTON — There were always nights when the shots fell easily and others where it was a struggle. But the vagaries of the offensive performance were rarely much of a concern to the Pacers because they thrived on a defense that was tighter than a bear hug and just as suffocating.

Until now.

After a 112-86 loss to the Rockets — their worst defeat of the season — the Pacers are trying to find that defensive calling card which was their identity and their path to contending for a championship.

With their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Pacers have fallen into a tie in the loss column with Miami in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It’s nothing serious,” said forward Paul George. “We just got to find out who we are, point-blank.

“One, it’s getting back to what the Indiana Pacers used to be. That was a grind-out (team). When teams came to play us, they knew it was gonna be a long night. It’s not getting back to that right now. I think over the last probably 10 games we’ve been giving up probably 100-plus points. We’re usually an 80. Regardless of what we were doing offensively, we were winning games in the 80s. And that’s what we gotta get back to.

“I don’t like losing. This is the first time we lost three in a row and this (bleep’s) gotta change. We got to get better as a team. We got to get back to how we used to play.”

In the 10 games since the All-Star break, the Pacers are 6-4. But what is notable and significant is the slippage in the No. 1 rated defensive in the league. For a team that has surrendered an average of 91.7 points per game on the season, the Pacers have allowed eight of their past 10 opponents to get at least 96. They’ve given up 100 or more three times in that stretch, topped by the Rockets’ explosion on Friday.

“Every team I’ve ever been a part of has had a stretch like we’re in right now,” said coach Frank Vogel. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve always worked our way up. I’m sure we will. It stinks right now. It’s not fun right now. But we’ve got a good team and we’ll regroup.”

To a man, the Pacers seem suddenly lost and confused on the court and in the locker room. Following this blowout loss, George, Roy Hibbert, David West and several other veterans gathered in Vogel’s tiny visiting locker room office and were still trying to figure things out nearly an hour after the game ended.

“Offensively, we haven’t been the most efficient team all year, but we were able to defend the 3-point line and defend the paint and at this point we’re not doing enough of either,” Hibbert said.

“I don’t know. In a game you go back and forth with punches, figuratively, and we’re not responding the right way. We gotta figure that out at both ends because we’re struggling mighty bad. We have to have at least one and right now we don’t have either.”

What the Pacers do have is still a quarter of the regular season schedule to figure it out.

“It would be bad if this was the playoffs right now,” said point guard George Hill. “We still have 20 games to fix it. But the fix has to come immediately.”

60 Comments

  1. davon says:

    Y’all ppl are trippin they lose couple games in a row an y’all putting them dwn already so wat about the heat they lost couple games in a row y’all not saying nutting about them..

  2. Boo says:

    L1,L2,L3 and now L4…..next would be either L5 or W1 period..end of conversation.

  3. Jacques Durceille says:

    Paul George is a Beta, his early seanson 23ppg was a fluke and he has been exposed. The beta marches on. The beta will not win and this is his true nature. He is not a superstar, he is a second scoring option in need of guidance. The pacers are losing to teams they should not be losing to. This is what happens when you cannot truly count on your main scoring option. 2 points is not a superstar, that is a jodie meeks caliber player type numbers. I want to see paul george removed from MVP conversation immediately. He is just a player on a good team. Send my regards to Granger with capital ‘G’, paul george is a beta.

  4. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    Losing their identity and way definitely won’t win them a ring :D

  5. MJ23 says:

    What kind of a superstar scores 2 points in a single night. LeBron had an off-night but still scored about 19. George is too overrated in my opinion. Where is all the firepower now? Maybe the Pacers used it up before the All-Star Break. I have been watching Pacers’ games the last few nights and they just can’t get the ball inside the basket offensively. To me it seems like this slump is going to continue. No Offence to the Pacers or anything.

  6. Unkle Daddy says:

    The Pacers will be fine, I think it will be a 7 game series with the Heat, whoever has home court wins. The Granger trade was a bad idea, they owed that man a deep playoff run.

  7. pacerfan1981 says:

    wow people wats with all the pacer hate…. its a 3 game losing streak, 3 games not 10, not 20, not 30 ….. 3 games….. all teams go through a little slump and the pacers lose 3 straight yet still first in the eastern conference….. they will bounce back and make it to the finals….. seriously guys…3 games…wow

    • Vic says:

      They are lucky they have only lost three in a row. Their have been many recent games they were lucky to pull out. If you ask me they should be worried. They are lucky to not be a .500 ball club since just before the allstar break

  8. ricz says:

    Why in the hell am I seeing Miami here again lol

    Indiana just got lucky last year ;3

    It’s definitely miami(if d wade is still healthy at that time lol) vs okc or sas

  9. Victor says:

    Why do the teams with the best record always get so much hate? All teams go through slumps. If the Heat had been 1st all year than everyone would be saying that the Pacers will beat them instead of screaming “OVERRATED”! BTW they will beat the Heat. They almost did last year and their team is much better this year while the Heat really haven’t changed.

    • Who says:

      The heat haven’t really changed. Adding first overall pick Greg oden and second overall pick and potential superstar michael beasley isn’t changing. Why do the Heat haters have such small biased minds? Smh

  10. Makapatakki says:

    What now George? Feeling like a super star but you are not! Good player but not a superstar so stop acting like one

  11. marty says:

    Might have focused to much on regular season U can’t go all out every game.They playin without confidence.Let’s wait and see how they handle adversity when now the hype is not in their favor.

  12. Alejandro says:

    Everytime there’s a Pacer forum, there are two or more bloggers that say, and I quote, “to all you damn bandwagon Miami Heat fans…”, it just doesn’t fail. Not even when the most recent Pacer loss has nothing to do with Miami or our fabulous fan base. Whether we are band wagoners (smart, since the Heat are the team to beat) or old timers like myself, (extra smart, because we have loved the Heat since we were born or because Miami rocks or because their ain’t no place as pretty or as warm and cozy as Miami in the US) I say this, and I quote my dear little fan boys, weren’t the Pacers the team with the lowest attendance record before Larry Bird revived your sorry State? I mean really, I like Indiana, I plan to go there, if I the food runs out, so I can hunt me down a possum or squirrel or something. There’s a lot of road kill on I-70. Plenty, of food there. However, since the food bank ain’t close to running out and since Indiana Hoosiers and all, did not invent basketball, as they seem so inclined to make us all know. I will stick with my band wagon homies, whilst sipping my margarita, at the beach bar, while checking out the very, very, skimpily clad and absolutely beautiful girls in South Beach and watching my man (LeBron) and his band of brothers pounce on some other, not quite as gifted, not quite as fortunate NBA opponent. Gentlemen, I rest my case!!

    • Who says:

      I love you. People who refer to every Heat fan as a bandwagon are very simple minded. It’s as if Miami has a population of 15, the 15 being the Heat players, and absolutely nobody, anywhere, that lives in Miami besides them. I was born here, raised here, still living here, and will probably not move for a least 5 more years (I’m 18). And yes, our women are the best in the business. While bandwagon Pacer fans get to stare at flatchested white trailer trash, we get to stare at natural double d, tanned, beautiful women with huge behinds and perfect hair. And even though I never liked going to the beach, at least we have that option, lol. The Heat will be a dynasty, and the Pacers will always be in our shadow, kinda like the Nets have been to the Knicks, except we can actually win a title. (Yea, a NY diss)

  13. No time to panic. Indy just has to do what those guys were all saying: rededicate themselves to playing tough D for 48 minutes. It isn’t rocket science. Granger’s absence isn’t that big of a deal.

  14. brandon p says:

    Lol I guess pacers fans forget real quick how great miami is on offense.. we might be the worst rebounding team in the league but we make up for it in fastbreak points and commiting to forcing the turnover which the pacers have been awful with as of late. Just because you have a big team doesnt make them the best. Vogel will be crying on his sofa again during the finals because the heat will three peat.

  15. Jinelson8 says:

    Its about time for the Pacers to humble down. They are too much confident about the way they played which seems and think to themselves unbeatable. They should consider themselves that they are still beatable in a world of basketball.

  16. htg2828 says:

    Why is it suggested that the pacers lost their identity? Why can’t it be that other teams found theirs? Bottom line its a long season, pacers had a hell of a first half of the season but this league is about progression, chemistry and will power! We are approaching the playoffs, that means most teams are playing their best basketball at a high level. Playoff intensity! Oh, u must thought the pacers was gonna just gonna juggernaut their way to the finals..not happening! #h-town

  17. Chris Girt says:

    This can be a good thing for us… It might not be a bad thing to be humbled a little bit before the playoffs begin. We will get hot again.

  18. fabrice says:

    what the hell are you talking??? DANNY GRANGER DIDN’T SHOW UP THIS SEASON

  19. jim says:

    It is just one game. Houston is hot now. They will cool off very soon.

    • htg2828 says:

      That sound good, idk if u follow the rockets really idgaf if u do but we are finally 100% healthy! Translation: the league is in trouble!

  20. Jake says:

    You guys are looking way into this!!! You all aren’t experts Larry Bird knows what he is doing. He built this team, and drafted the guys, has he made a mistake yet? NO!! So give Turner a damn chance it will work out in the long run and make our team better. they are more skilled with Turner. And to all of you damn band wagon Miami fans it doesn’t matter if its home court or not!!! Miami has no chance this year against the Pacers. We are too big, and have a deeper bench, especially when Bynum starts getting in the rotation, that will give us three 7 foot plus guys. Also the Pacers now have the experience to beat Miami. and every team has their rough patches the Pacers are just now having theirs, its not a big deal. And for all you hatters Paul George is a superstar have you not seen all of the clutch plays he’s made this year!! He’s a go to guy, he just doesn’t put up huge numbers because this is a team that shares the ball, not a “one guy team” And do you know who the last team was to clinch a playoff spot this early in the season? Oh yea the 96 Chicago Bulls they also went on to win the championship. So just wait till the end of the year hatters. #PacerNation

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      Their bench has been almost non existent allll season wat are you talking about?! Kmlllll!! P.s the pacers were too big last year as well

  21. some dude says:

    You people are going over board… yes, a little slippage happens to the best of them.
    Indiana will beat Miami in the east finals and lose to whoever makes it from the west (OKC, Houston, Clippers)

  22. Rangers says:

    Fair weather fans lol. Granger wouldn’t matter. The team just got in a little funk. They’ll get better. Also, they got turnwr to dribble whic will be critical against the heat

  23. Jacques Durceille says:

    Paul George has been exposed. Tell the pacers they can mail it in. They aren’t going anywhere. Looks like george, with a lower case ‘g’ is the beta we all knew he was. Send my regards to Granger, capital ‘G’

  24. Chez says:

    bulls can beat pacers in playoffs

  25. zhiggi says:

    this is where danny granger happens…..once you take out a even a small building block of a core team that has played together for over a year let alone through last season as well with defensive being their core principle of playing quality basketball then your ought to go through some shake up…..I know granger isn’t playing the same as he was prior to his injury but he knew the pacers and how they played ball and he knew the system and once you take a player like that out of the system, its gonna be really hard to adjust.

  26. Whom says:

    The Granger trade was a bad move in my opinion. However, this team shouldn’t be playing this poorly regardless.

    Like someone said, both Miami and OKC are also struggling right now. OKC is also having a defensive meltdown as well for whatever reason, and while these teams are probably affected by chemistry issues (OKC with Westbrook coming back and Indiana with Turner coming in) a single player shouldn’t cause such a huge drop off unless ,in the highly unlikely situation, that Westbrook and Turner contrasted to their counterparts are giving up an extra 10+ points to the opposing players.

    I don’t think this will linger into the playoffs for any of these teams. However, unlike OKC and Miami, who have shown they can overcome adversity, Indiana has not to this point. So that might be the only reason their meltdown could be more concerning.

  27. Jack says:

    Oh no, is it that time of the year already? Great team lets a couple of games slip and everybody comes down on them. You all are a bunch of drama queens.

    • BigPicture says:

      well last two games they lost were by 20+ so yeah its a big deal. If it were by 5 points then not really. Plus 3 in a row from the number team, thats sad. Pacers better be careful now and their lucky b/c their next 4 games are teams under .500

  28. krishawn-MIA says:

    Looool he was laughin when he first came to indie an they had that blowout win!

  29. lol says:

    overrated pacers, they got no chance vs the Heat or the west elite teams.

    • BigPicture says:

      True , the Pacers are over rated too much and consisder number bandwagon team in the league, Miami, Chicago, and perhaps tthe raptors have the skills to knock them off in playoffs. Plus every top 4 team in the west,

  30. okc2014 says:

    Oh where art thou, Andrew Bynum? Are you excused from team activities to deal w/ personal issues? LOL.

  31. HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

    Danny Grange trade LOL.. Don’t ever mess with chemistry LOL. Pacers even sound like they don’t know what to do

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      What chemistry?! Danny granger hadn’t even gotten his feet wet with this team this season he played how much games again? Averaging how much mins again? Its still early to judge the trade but I never liked it to begin with speakin as a bbal fan(not a mia fan) even tho that’s my team bbut it didn’t address their weakness….shooting

      • JustTheStr8Facts says:

        Nonsense. The Pacers were sliding defensively (and off) well before the Granger trade. IMO, the rest of the league has been watching and learning, and the Pacers have wore themselves out.

  32. JM says:

    A team can never be perfect in both offense and defense. We see how the Pacers got whipped by high-scoring teams like Phoenix and Houston but that’s natural. They can’t sustain this defense like forever. But the thing is, defend when it matters most, like in the playoffs. Right now, teams know the Pacers are big and stifling. That’s the identity they established this season and if they want to win it all, they have to be the defensive team that can choke teams like crazy and show it consistently.

  33. Steven says:

    I love Larry Bird as a player and he did an excellent job building this team. But I think think the Danny Granger trade was a bad idea! I feel he should have waited until the next year to do this. The pacers were very fragile prior to this trade and I think Turners ego is having an effect on this team because Turner has never been on an NBA winning team and I think he came to the pacers with the mindset that he knows what’s best for the team.

    If I were the coach of the Pacers I would sit Turner for a few games and then bring him back in a smaller back up roll to humble him. I’m not blaming Turner but I think he messed up the chemistry of this team. The other night Paul George went 0 for 9 my question is why did Paul George only get 9 shots???? He’s their star if he has a bad night he should be going 0 for 15. Coaching at this point needs to re-evaluate how they’re using Turner he needs to be humbled and this is where good coaching comes into play!

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      I’m no pacer fan but turner has shown no evidence of having an ego problem and the team hasn’t expressed it either, where the —- do you people get your info from???? Geez the fans are worse than the media

    • JustTheStr8Facts says:

      How do they trade Granger next year when he was a free agent at the end of this season? Bird did the best thing he could do (get some value out of him and help the team) and still have a chance at keeping Lance next year. How did Turner screw up any chemistry when it’s clear that the Pacers were sliding defensively (and the bench has been abysmal) well before Granger was traded?

      So many nonsense posts by people who have no idea what they are talking about!

  34. RAY says:

    every elite team seems to be struggling except the spurs and houston their elite now with miami thunder now indiana losing its not how you start its how you end up playing your best ball going into the playoffs

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      I swear you have posted the best comment thus far, a lot of persons seems to be watchin bbal with their eyes closed

      • mee(a)t says:

        I wonder how people reacted when 90′s bulls lost a game
        “ITS THE END OF THE DYNASTY!!!!”

  35. Paul says:

    The Pacers are O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D! Heat – Thunder in the finals.

  36. eX says:

    I think Paul George has been exposed to his true value as a good player but far from superstar

  37. bernardo says:

    nice article,” It’s nothing serious,” said forward Paul George. “We just got to find out who we are”, ok but it’s a little late for that even if they could think about the next season, try to make a move to get norris cole (cole + and eventual protected draft pick+cash for hibbert)
    BINGO

  38. kevin says:

    yes please…you’re playing like a bunch of scrubs and not the title contenders you are…

  39. Kaneman says:

    Serves you right for letting Granger go.

  40. Javier says:

    Well a few days ago I had said that they had nothing to worry about lose to the Bobcats. Now, it seems they have something to worry about, especially now that the Heat are creeping up on that first seed. If the Pacers don’t have home court advantage vs the Heat, they don’t stand a chance.

  41. Benjie says:

    Pacer won’t win the title / always miami…

  42. OKC says:

    what is missing is danny granger, some stuff just doesn’t show up on the stat sheet