Mar 11, 2011, 12:31 PM EDT
For the past 10 days, the Indiana Pacers have been the worst team in the NBA. It’s not just that they are 0-5, they have looked terrible getting there. As we pointed you to this morning in our one liners, the Pacers have had the lead just 3.4 percent of the time in those games (as eightpointsnineseconds figured out).
But things are even worse than we thought, according to a story from the Rockets game last week that Mike Wells tells at the Indianapolis Star.
Veterans Danny Granger and Dahntay Jones took exception to comments made to them during the game by rookie Lance Stephenson. Jones had to be restrained from going after Stephenson in the huddle during a second-half timeout.
Things carried over to the locker room after the game when a number of other players were involved in a heated argument.
The Pacers are young and while they have a quality star in Danny Granger he is not a leader by force of personality. The result has been a mess of a locker room.
After a fast 7-1 start under interim coach Frank Vogel, the team has fallen apart again. But team president Larry Bird says that is the players’ fault, not Vogels.
“We started off pretty strong with Frank, then they hit a lull. They had some problems internally and it took the wind out of them. That has nothing to do with Frank, that’s on the players. The last 10-12 games, the guys haven’t reacted the way you do as professionals,” said Bird, who was on hand to witness the lackluster 26-point loss at Minnesota on Wednesday….
“You have to have the players behind you and they have to be willing to work hard,” Bird said. “I know what’s going on; the players know what’s going on. We’re just not getting the effort.”
Yet, the Pacers remain your eight seed in the East. They are one game ahead of the Bobcats, one-and-a-half ahead of the Bucks. In their last 10 games the Pacers and Bobcats are 3-7, the Bucks are 5-5. The Bucks have the easiest schedule from here on out. But any one of these teams can get that last playoff spot if they come together and grab it.
Or, the Pacers will just back into it.