Jan 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) and forward David West react in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pacers 124-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Going Get’s Tough….

Jan 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (center) sits on the bench after fouling out in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pacers 124-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (center) sits on the bench after fouling out in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pacers 124-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

 

Our Indiana Pacers are currently experiencing their first true test of character this season.  Losing 4 out the last 5 games and giving up triple digits in as many games the Blue and Gold haven’t looked anything like themselves.  It’s too bad that the offense seemed to be trending during an obvious slump in our defensive effort.  It will be important to find a happy medium.

Not to worry though.  It is to be expected that any team will experience a losing streak of some kind during the season and most likely at several points.  I would say that the important point is the speed of reaction and how it’s handled.  A championship caliber team won’t take long to get back on track and I expect nothing less than that from the Pacers.  With a young and talented core combined with good leadership through veterans and coaching adjustments will be made quickly.  Indiana is obviously focused this year on not only the first seed and home-court advantage but a title.

I think it’s fair that complacency along with fatigue were a factor during this slump.  Our guys know that it’s hard work that has earned them the title of league best and only the same will keep them there.  It will be important for Lance Stephenson to continue is increasing improvement.  His defensive energy does not only encourage and energize his teammates but also often leads to easy buckets.

Roy Hibbert has shown even earlier signs of offensive improvement this season and should still be favored for the Defensive Player Of The Year.  His contributions will prove to be important for the second half of the season.  Although still young, he is a leader on this ball club and his court presence alone changes the game offensively and defensively.

I missed a chance to ask Coach Vogel a few questions today, but had I managed at least one….

“How do you remind your team of the importance of their league leading defense?”

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Tags: Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson NBA Roy Hibbert

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