(Photo: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Pacers' Struggle: "When" vs. "If"

Everyone in and around, following and studying, the Indiana Pacers knows there is something — or multiple “things” — wrong with the team right now.

They simply are not playing good basketball. The players, including the veterans, are providing excuses when they lose and giving themselves too much credit when they win. In fact, the last time I watched Indiana play an exciting game was back in early February when they defeated the Portland Trailblazers 118-113.

There are so many topics one could discuss concerning this nasty funk the Pacers are in. It isn’t like Indy took a dip in the pool. They jumped in the mud and have been swimming around for quite some time now, searching for ways to find the identity they had very early in the season.

Indiana has scored over 100 points seven times since All-Star Weekend took began on February 14. All seven of those games came against teams with losing records. The last time the Pacers reached the 100-point plateau was over 10 days ago, and it took a 25-point, come-from-behind overtime effort to beat the Detroit Pistons 112-104.

In their last four games, Indy is averaging 81.2 points per game. Think about that for a moment.

Roy Hibbert is struggling mightily and has been for some time now. Paul George hears nothing more from the media than negativity and it seems to be affecting him on the court.

The blue and gold again have one of the worst second units in the league in terms of scoring. While Luis Scola, C.J. Watson, and Evan Turner have been effective at times, the same cannot be said about the rest. Nobody would complain if sharpshooter Chris Copeland received more minutes to provide an offensive spark, but as we saw against the Bulls last night, his minutes remain sporadic and unpredictable.

Without further ado — for the Pacers’ sake — it isn’t a matter of when they are going to snap out of this ghastly funk, it’s a matter of if they will at all.

As things currently stand, the Pacers are 51-20 on the season and 7-7 in March. Miami sits in second place in the East with a 48-21 mark, just two games back of the top spot. A showdown between the two looms on Wednesday, and I suggest Indiana gets its act together for at least one game. Perhaps a single win over their biggest rival could provide a boost moving forward.

Regardless, the Pacers have 11 games to fix all their issues.

Otherwise, more folks like myself might wonder “if” as well.

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