Pacers Fall to the Celtics (Again) and Officially Become Not a Good Team

I’ve been dealing with traveling through the Northeast Snowpocalypse so I actually still haven’t even seen last night’s game yet. I may share some thoughts after I watch it later but since they have the Wizards tonight, it’s probably just on to the next one. Just reading some recaps and looking at the box scores, it doesn’t look like anything unusual happened: Indy played OK for a while then the offense fell apart as Roy Hibbert had another turd of a game and the much better team took control of the game. It’s rinse and repeat at this point.

The only other thing of interest specific to this game is that, going into it, the Pacers had a point differential of 0.00 for the season. This means they had so far scored just as many points as they had given up. Obviously, with a record below .500 we already knew that the early season success was starting to look like a mirage. But a lot of people will tell you that point differential, at least before New Year’s, can be a better barometer of future play than even the W-L record. The rationale is that win/loss can come down to a few anomalous plays (e.g., the Bogut tip, the Dunleavy tip) but point differential is a larger sample size of how the team has performed on every possession of the season.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that the Pacers now have a negative point differential (an average of -0.41 points per game) for the first time since early November. So what we have been watching unfold over the past month has become official: the Pacers are not a good team. They are still not a notably bad team — at least not yet, which remains a nice change from last season — but there is no way anyone can look at their record or their point differential any longer and expect them to beat good teams.

Those wins in Miami and Los Angeles sure do feel far away.

Here was the other worthwhile thing to take away from the Celtics game: Paul Pierce diving into the stands and drinking some water. By the time the Playoffs roll around, I’m sure it will be the only thing either he — or I — remembers from this one.

Tags: Celtics Paul Pierce Roy Hibbert

  • Ian

    I can only assume the overall lack of analysis about the Pacers horrible play recently is because not many people care much about the Pacers. It’s frustrating, especially if you are not based in Indiana and can’t watch the games, to know what is going on.

    Just by looking at the numbers, it really appears that the clear answer is that O’Brien’s offense is a disaster. The Pacers just can’t score efficiently from any phase of the game. Their defense can keep it close for awhile but it only takes 2-3 consecutive scores by the opposition to put them in a hole that their craptastic offense can’t dig out of.

    It also appears that the future building blocks of the team are regressing steadily. After strong starts, Hibbert, Collison and McRoberts have all been less and less productive, and Danny is taking on more and more bad shots to compensate. It is my feeling that O’Brien is trying too hard to force his young players into roles poorly suited for them and its causing them to lose confidence. It’s easy to call for a coaches head during a down streak, and Larry has been patient in the past, but the Pacers need a flexible, teacher-type coach now who can put the youngsters into positions where they can suceed, rather than trying to force everyone to play his ‘system’ regardless of whether it fits the talents of the roster.

  • Ian

    One last thing, I am far less concerned about the Pacers winning than I am by the fact that the young players seem to be playing worse and worse, rather than improving.

  • Jared Wade

    Good stuff, Ian. Definitely agree with some of that. Roy is just a trainwreck. Collison is at best invisible. Danny is just chucking.

    Sorry about the lack of analysis. Don’t worry though — holidays were tough to manage around, but we’re back on the grind now.

  • Dylan

    Mcroberts would not be playing big minutes on a winning team, we whiffed on the brandon rush pick, Hibbert is really inconsistent and as much as i love danny your right Jared he is a chucker alot of the time. Is there any chance paul george develops? if so we should be giving him the PT instead of rush.

  • Ian

    I think Rush is doing better than most people expected. His 3 point shooting has been tremendous, and he’s a good defensive player. He could be a little more active and involved on offense. He’s not great, but I don’t think he’s the Pacers major problem. I included McBobs under ‘young players’ because people forget he’s only 23. 23 and very athletic. But I agree he should not be starting. Another example of O’Brien’s bizarre rotations. He won’t play Jeff Foster to take the burden off Hibbert, and he won’t play Hansbough to see if he can bring some scoring, but he continues to play McBobs, who can be spectacular for a few minutes at a time but seems to vanish far too often to get more than 12 minutes a game.

    I think the inability to get the most out of Collison and Hibbert has been the most disappointing thing so far. Both were pre-season picks for Most Improved Player, and neither has reached that promise. I think trying to turn Hibbert into Arvydas Sabonis has been a big mistake. I think Hibbert is thinking too much.

    As for lack of analysis, I wasn’t complaining about this blog, just to be clear, but more the NBA press in general.

    O’Brien has a history of this sort of thing. If I remember correctly, one of the reasons he was fired from the Phily job was his unwillingness to let his youngsters grow. Instead he jerked them around and played end-of-their-career vets in a desperate attempt to wring a few more wins out of a team that wasn’t going anywhere.