INDIANAPOLIS – The world isn’t literally falling around Bankers Life Fieldhouse – with the exception of a few showers on Wednesday afternoon.
But for Pacers’ fans it kinda feels like it.
The team endured an 8-10 month, including three straight losses to end March and fall out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the first time since the opening day of the season. By percentage points, the Heat hold the top spot for the playoffs with seven regular season games to play.
Maybe that’s why Frank Vogel decided to give his team Tuesday off after the Spurs ran past the Pacers en route to a 26-point win-the worst for the team at home in the 2013-2014 campaign.
“You never get to high, you never get to low,” said Vogel in his usual tone on Wednesday before the Pacers hosted the Pistons. “Stay the course with the plan that wins for you and come in and get to work today.”
But a few changes seem to be necessary to correct a Pacers team that has fallen far from the expectations they set with their high level of play in the first month of the season. A team-first brand of basketball has slipped during a stretch where inconsistency has reigned supreme and even a few of the players have admitted such.
Yet on Wednesday, Paul George said that he believes things could spin in the right direction in the final seven games of the season based on what he’s seen even in the losing streak.
“Every guy on this team cares. We’ve just got to do a better job of showing it on the court,” said George. “We’re back on the same page I feel like.”
That could take some convincing for skeptical Pacers fans-especially on the offensive end. While the Pacers defense remains first in the NBA in points allowed (91) their offense has been far from stellar during this recent stretch of losing. Over the past six games, the Pacers have only cracked the 80-point mark once-staying in the 70s the rest of the time.
“We can’t settle for playing bad,” said guard Lance Stephenson. “Just keep playing hard and figure out what we have to do to take the next step.”
Sooner rather than later would be best.