The Indiana Pacers‘ season has turned for the worse as they have now dropped five of their last six games, most recently flopping at the feet of the San Antonio Spurs. They kept it close through three quarters but sent fans home early as it got out of control with the Spurs increasing their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games after the 26-point blowout.
Indiana’a struggle has caused its players to call each other out, and their frustration even showed in the huddle vs. San Antonio Monday:
@WindhorstESPN reports GHill and Lance traded words and had to be separated by teammates during huddle in 2nd half.
— Conrad Brunner (@1070Bruno) April 1, 2014
When it rains in Indiana, it pours. Along with the blowout loss, the Miami Heat beat the Toronto Raptors to take over the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time all season. Roy Hibbert, who hasn’t hid his frustrations from the media recently, told Tim Donahue of 8points9seconds.com when asked his thoughts on the Heat taking over the No. 1 seed: “Good for them. They deserve it. We don’t.”
Although the Pacers and their fans seem to have completely lost all faith and optimism in their team, Tony Parker (22 points vs. Pacers Monday night) still believes Indiana will get their stuff together come playoff time. “Everybody goes through this. I’m not worried about them. They’ll still make it to the Eastern Conference finals and they’ll still play Miami,” via ESPN.com.
The Pacers are embarrassing themselves on the court each and every game, and it has come at the worst time with the playoffs in sight. They have lost the lead in the East, but they can change that by just simply winning. That may be easier said than done — especially when you’re only averaging 77 points per game in your last six games — but if they really dig deep and find the root of the problem, they could be in good shape when the playoffs do roll around. Also, beating the Heat in Miami on Apr. 11 would help them gain and retain the No. 1 seed for home-court advantage in the playoffs. That was the goal starting off the season, and it seemed like it would be easy to hold back in December and January. But now it has slipped between their fingers in March.
Whether it’s a lack of focus, selfishness, wear or injury, the Pacers need to get back in the dominant form they showed at the beginning of the season to avoid a disappointing early exit in the playoffs.