Jan 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) talks to head coach Frank Vogel during a time out in the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 97-87. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers STILL Can't Win in Atlanta

Atlanta Hawks (19-17) 97

Indiana Pacers (28-7) 87

Jan 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) blocks a shot by Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap (4) in the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 97-87. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

I’m still trying to wrap my head around last night’s loss. Is there any good reasoning for the way the Pacers just came out so flat, and had to work extra hard to make it a respectable game? Why is playing in Atlanta so tough for the team? Was it the 4th game in 5 nights that did the team in? I really thought this team was going to perform much better than losing by 10 points to a Hawks team that I had to look up the roster to even know who’s there.

The box score for this game is downright ugly. You give up 16 points to Pero Antic. Who? Roy Hibbert will remember that name as he let the guy get a couple of easy baskets right away. You give up 17 points to Kyle Korver. He continues his three point hitting streak. Mike Scott? Is that the guy from the Office? He goes for his own 15 points. The Hawks hit 10 three pointers in the game and shoot for 45% against the league’s best defense. All ingredients for one stinky stew.

It’s hard to blame individuals, but Roy Hibbert had one awful game. Maybe that’s the game that he can get his head right about being a top center. This game needs to be the kind that gets the Pacers back in the right mindset.

One good thing was Paul George who went for 28 points and shot the ball better than previous games. I thought C.J. Watson came off the bench and tried to will this team to something in that second quarter. But it wasn’t much as the team got down 25 points at one point in this game.

The ten point margin looks like it was closer than it should be, but this game was all Atlanta. Maybe the Pacers do need to stop the talking and concentrate on the task at hands. I feel like they’re hitting that lull before an All Star break, but that’s still a month away, and you can’t have this lack of focus till then.

Right now, they’re still in control of their division, so I wouldn’t fret about that. But that top spot in the East could go away if they have another game like this. You know Miami isn’t going away anytime soon, so the Pacers have to hit on all cylinders each game. Especially games in the Eastern Conference where you want to pick up wins and distance yourself from the pack. Last night’s game didn’t do anything like that, it showed more this team has some work to do to get back to where they were.

If that loss doesn’t refocus the team, I am not sure what will. Time to get the heads right for Friday night against a better Washington Wizards team. Time to get the swagger back and show who’s the cream of the crop here.

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