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Pacers are doing an awful lot of finger pointing

May 27, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

Paul George Paul George

Paul George spent more of his post-Game 4 press conference blaming the referees, but he also saved some shade for Lance Stephenson, who challenged LeBron before the game.

George in his postgame press conference, via ASAP Sports:

Q.  You mentioned that maybe you need to watch what you say.  Do you think that Lance’s comments took him out of the game at all today?  He was scoreless until about almost halfway through the third quarter.
PAUL GEORGE:  Yeah, maybe so.  You know, maybe so.  When you make comments regarding trash talking and just being caught up between another player in a matchup, you got to bring it.  You got to bring it.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people were going to be tuned in to see what Lance was going to do because of what he said.  Maybe there’s a lot of pressure on him.  And everybody goes through situations where you just struggle.  Just because of what was said and what was done, it just wasn’t a good time for him.

Roy Hibbert, who went scorless, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

“The game plan really wasn’t to utilize me as much; I’m just trying to be effective as I can,” Hibbert said. “Would I like a little bit more touches early on? Yeah. But that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes.”

There’s a fine line between making excuses and offering explanations. After each game, the media asks players and coaches to explain what happened. If they give an honest explanation that isn’t liked, the media will skewer them for making excuses.

Stephenson was probably affected by his rift with LeBron, and it’s reasonable for George to be upset by that needless distraction. That doesn’t excuse George for playing so poorly.

The Pacers didn’t go to Hibbert much early, opting to milk the David WestRashard Lewis matchup (maybe even too often bypassing sound offense to exploit that mismatch). That doesn’t excuse Hibbert for disappearing.

Indiana’s All-Stars can play better. The rest of their team – Frank Vogel included – can perform better, too.

Those facts should be more independent of each other than they are. Before addressing issues out of their control, George, Hibbert and every other Pacer should look in the mirror and do what they can first.

  1. zackd2 - May 27, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Hibbert had 0 points. That’s unbelievable.

    • rodyaugu - May 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      That’s the Hibbert we’ve grown to love.

    • finsfan71 - May 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      It’s unbelievable times 4 now.

      • brookwell2013 - May 27, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Yeah, not scoring is crazy but Hibbert’s lack of rebounding is absolutely inexplicable. Last night 22 minutes 4 rebounds; Game 3, 36 minutes and 2 rebounds…..2. How is that possible? he’s over 7′ tall?? Wouldn’t the ball at least hit him 3 or 4 times around the basket???? He sure has been playing like a bum.

      • gostlcards5 - May 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Part of his problem is when he jumps (the whole verticality thing), he’s often not in a good position to rebound.

  2. rodge1 - May 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Yes Paul, it’s everyone else’s fault every time. Paul George has plenty of talent, but I’ve never seen a player complain to refs as much as him. He even complains to them when he makes FTs.

    • bball242322 - May 27, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      It seems to come with the stardom, I’ve never seen dudes complain more than LBJ or Dwade about calls. PG is just young and learning from the biggest complainers of them all

      • cwilson6843 - May 27, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Yea he sure learned a lot from lbj and wade from game one huh? Get outta here scrub

  3. nard100 - May 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    So let’s take a tally on the excuses:

    1) Refs
    2) Lance trash-talking the King
    3) Coach – for not running “Hibbert-friendly” plays

    Maybe next year fellas!

    • gostlcards5 - May 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      As a Pacers fan, I totally agree. They all need to shut up and play.

  4. sportsfan18 - May 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    You finger point when you’re MENTALLY WEAK…

    It’s called MAKING EXCUSES…

    I grew up in the state of Indiana. I went to IU for college. I’m ROOTING for the Pacers.

    This team IS talented physically. They are good enough that way to win it all.

    This team is NOT mentally strong enough to win when it counts and they’re simply showing that off the court in spades in instances like this.

    Mr.Bird, you sir need to bring in like 2 to 3 real, solid as people, solid between the ears LEADERS.

    It’s great if your best players are also your leaders but that does NOT have to be the case. A leader is able to lead from the bench.

    Grant Hill is retired but there would have been a great one.

    • sportsfan18 - May 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Paul Pierce says he wants to play 1 or 2 more years as his contract with the Nets us up…

      Boy could the Pacers ever use a Paul Pierce on their team.

      KG is too run down. He might retire and if he does play this one more season it will be with the Nets as he has a one year deal with them still.

      But KG and his makeup, would be great for the Pacers too.

    • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      When your star player(s) are leaders their leadership is WAY more effective, especially when they lead by example.

      For Indy, they are so clearly not on the same page I’m not sure if you point the finger more at the players(Paul George, Hibbert, Stephenson) or Vogel…

      • sportsfan18 - May 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        yes it IS better if your best are leaders but simply being great at basketball doesn’t make one a leader.

        the current group of players that the Pacers have ARE talented. Hill, Hibbert and the others…

        Since they are NOT leaders, instead of getting rid of them, bring in someone like Pierce to guide them.

        They can’t afford what a true in prime leader would cost as they will be getting rid of Lance (no loss there mentally) because of money.

        I just thought that with the team being close to winning it all, the easiest fix would be to add solid veterans with leadership skill, championships and standing in the game in all ways…

        not sure if you read it but there was an article a few days back that says on the Heat, Ray Allen is called the “committee” because it is he and he alone that settles things in the lockers. When something needs to be decided, they take it to Ray and he settles it.

        There is no doubt Paul Pierce would be like this for these Pacers. A calming, steadying effect and influence on them.

        Indy has the horses to run with the Heat physically. With current contracts the way they are, what is the easiest, quickest and most cost effective way for Indy to get over the hump?

      • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        What you are saying is very true.

        What I’m saying is if Paul George and Roy Hibbert were on the grind everyday and bringing the same type of high level effort every game the other players would fall right in line.

        That clearly isn’t happening in Indy.

  5. buffalowned - May 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    I honestly feel bad for Frank Voegel because he takes a lot of heat for the Pacers struggles but this is the type of locker room he is dealing with. He’s overachieved in my opinion.

    • sportsfan18 - May 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Exactly, bunch of incredibly weak players mentally…

      This group of guys needs MORE than just a basketball coach, they need a shrink too…

      They need a different mix on the team next year, 2 or 3 new guys who real leaders, mentally strong, even if they’re bench players.

      Kevin Garnett is too old, might retire and if he does play it will be with the Nets for just one season.

      But he would have been great.

      Paul Pierce is available and he wants to play one or two more years he says. The PACERS could
      REALLY use a Paul Pierce on their team.

    • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Don’t feel bad for Vogel. His team is like this because he’s like this. They’re arrogant because he’s arrogant.

      • bball242322 - May 27, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Anti – That’s gotta be the dumbest comment on this page

      • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Where do you think the Pacers get their attitude from? Remember Vogel calling the Heat the biggest floppers in the NBA? Remember Vogel saying the Heat were just another team? Remember Vogel saying defiantly during Game 1 of the ECF last year, “I told you guys we were going to win. Do you remember in the locker room I said we’re going to win?” … and then they lost.

        Teams take on the attitude of their coach.

      • bbbmf - May 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        You kinda have a point there. Wasn’t it Vogel who said the Heat were “just another team”?

  6. southbeachtalent - May 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    It was also windy.. Oh wait they play indoors.

  7. vikesdynasty - May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    I used to love this team now I can’t stand most of them. Aside from Paul George. Stephenson and Hibbert are clowns.

  8. ravenswhat - May 27, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    Time to blow this team up Larry. Vogel is a terrible coach and that core is non cohesive. Getting rid of granger did a number on this locker room.

    • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Blow up the team?

      No. They are firmly entrenched right now as the #2 team in the East and their best player is still progressing. They are a step behind the defending champs(more so mentally than physically) but they have a good enough core especially considering they are in the East.

      • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        I don’t know about “firmly entrenched.” Next year the Pacers may be back in 48 win territory. And Hibbert has become completely unreliable. And how reliable is Paul George? And for three years this team has lacked a toughness that is irritating the heck out of Larry Bird. So why continue on with that?

      • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        Every team has to look to get better and progress the players they have(especially the young guys like Paul George).

        You really think blwing this team up and going through a rebuilding phase is a better option than trying to acquire an offensively solid PG and hopefully a scorer off the bench?

        Even with a more respected, more influential coach this team could take the next leap. The Pacers ceiling is high enough to get to the finals through the East, that’s why they are a confusing team. They just need the mentality/leadership to get there. Players can acquire that but not all of them do.

      • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        I’m trying to think about this from Bird’s point of view. He has already publicly criticized Vogel and mentioned players who he thought either weren’t doing their jobs or weren’t giving 100% in practice, etc. Who he was referring to, aside from Granger, I don’t know. But Bird has been upset about the direction of the team for a few months now, and he can’t be too happy about losing three straight to a team they were designed to beat in a series they had home court advantage in. If they can’t win under these conditions, then when would they?

        But you may be right about the proper way to approach the offseason, and it’s probably the same approach I would take. A problem, though, is what Bob Kravitz wrote in the Indystar last night – that the Pacers need to trade Roy Hibbert. If the local papers are putting that out there during a series, and if it becomes a growing sentiment in Indianapolis, and if Bird is steaming mad about nearly everything, then how can they avoid a dramatic change?

      • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        True. Hibbert though is a player that wouldn’t be effective on every team, actually he would only be effective in the right defensive system. That and his contract really hurt his trade value. Other than completing a sign and trade involving Lance I’m not sure they could get good value back on trading any of their players save for Paul George. If you trade your best player you are basically rebuilding at that point and you could kiss even making it to the ECF again goodbye.

      • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Yeah, I wouldn’t move Hibbert. He is their defense. Just having him there means the Pacers would always have an elite defense. That’s why I was surprised by the idea. I wouldn’t trade Lance Stephenson either. For all of his faults, he has a very rare triple double ability that you just can’t find anywhere. They just need the right wrangler to manage it.

        I do like Frank Vogel, but I think the Pacers probably need someone who can better meet (or quell) the emotional (or ego) demands of their group, and who commands a little more respect from the players… or maybe just someone who strikes a little more fear into their hearts. A player like Stephenson – who has a lot of talent but can’t get out of his own way – could probably use someone like Larry Brown? Or Larry Bird.

      • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Well said and I totally agree.

        The one area where I think they need to look at an upgrade is at point guard. Maybe, like you said, if they can wrangle in Stephenson he could be that playmaking/slashing guard that would allow George Hill to be a 3 and D point guard. If not though their offense will still have long, stagnant stretches of forced/contested shots that they convert at a very low percentage.

      • bbbmf - May 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        Nice conversation here guys.

        Upheaval is not the answer, just a couple of tweaks will do. They really just need a ‘true’ PG and a little time to cure. That said, let’s not forget the hump [Pistons] the Bulls had to overcome, or the many number of great teams and players denied titles (or shots at titles) during Chicago’s two runs? Timing is everything and it could just be that the Pacers are a really good team at the wrong time.

      • bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        You’re right. This Pacers team has only been denied a finals appearance by a two time defending champion. It’s not like the Heat are an easy team to overcome, lets not blow up the core of this team(which is still very young) just because the Heat have been really good.

        That being said the one thing they are missing is a truly great player, a definition of a #1 guy that comes through in the clutch. George was that guy for the first half of this season but maybe the “stardom” and fame got to his head a bit.

        Either way the Pacers have to hope this is another learning experience and try to get to that next level. Time will tell if they can do that.

    • bball242322 - May 27, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Pacers are YOUNG (aside from West and Scola), give them time to develop. PG is capable of being that guy, he just turned 24. PG is new to stardom. He wasn’t like LBJ who was used to being in the spotlight ever since he was very young. That’s why there was so many off-court distractions for the young star. He will be a consistent superstar 1 day…

      And Lance is a moron, talented, but dumb as can be.

      Blowing up the team is the last thing they should do. What an idiotic suggestion. Vogel is a very good coach. Why would you blow up a team because they lost to the future champs?? LMAO dumbest comment you could possibly make. and Anti just don’t respond with your ignorance

  9. kghane - May 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    *playing better

  10. chargerdillon - May 27, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    The problem with the Pacers is a 2-fold issue.

    Problem#1: Talent. The Pacers have talent. Just not as much as the Miami Heat
    Problem#2: Leadership. The Pacers have NO LEADERS. This includes the coach.

    The reality is the Pacers look like they could beat anybody on any given night. That is until they face competition either as good as them or better.

    The Heat are prepared to face adversity. Do you think finger pointing came out after the game 1 loss? Of course it didn’t because this team has leaders that know you’re not going to sweep every series.

    The very moment the Pacers experienced any level of adversity in the playoffs there’s been no leaders to lead by example. Not the players or the coaches. Frank Vogel may be a great tactical coach but he has no idea how to manage egos. Which is something guys like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley have made NBA careers out of by being able to manage egos at the door.

    You will never beat a team that has better talent and better leadership than you. You can even with with one but not the other, but you cannot win lacking both.

    • bball242322 - May 27, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      I’m sure David West would have sometime else to say about “no leaders on the team”

  11. bougin89 - May 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    This isn’t a team that can rely on only a few players having good/decent games. They can’t afford to have two of their starters disappear for a game at a time(looking at you Stephenson and Hibbert).

    It’s like a mix and match who will play well. One game it’s George and West but the rest of their starters are non factors. Next game Hibbert and Stephenson are playing well but George shoots 30% or lower from the field.

    To be captain obvious this team doesn’t have a Lebron or Wade to come through in the clutch if their other starters are ineffective. The Pacers could have really taken advantage of their decisive game 1 win but instead they floated back to their undeserved non-chalant attiude.

    My hopes for a dogfight of a series have basically been crushed. It hasn’t even been fun to watch.

  12. lenbias34pt - May 27, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Paul George is more of a fan of LeBron than competition.

    He is a talented guy, but he is surrounded with as much talent as he will ever be in his career……and this team is making a quiet exit.

    I’d trade George and sign Lance. Lance might be a character, but he is a FIGHTING character!

    • antistratfordian - May 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      There have always been a lot of fighting characters in the league – and a lot of them play in China and Turkey now.

    • gpatrick15 - May 27, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      You’d make a terrible GM based on that. Why trade an All-Star caliber player, who has displayed at least enough talent at such a young age to actually help lead his team as their potential best player, for someone who’s ceiling is “mid-level rotation player” at best? Paul George isn’t all that he’s been hyped up to be (not yet at least), but he’s far and away a better basketball player than Lance Stephenson.

    • Kansachusetts - May 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Lance plays harder than anyone else on the team.

    • gostlcards5 - May 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      PG is a top 3 talent in the league, if he gets his head out of his butt and works to be that. There is NO way he is being traded.

      As far as Lance playing harder than anyone on the team, that’s only true to a point. He brings the energy a lot of the time, but when he gets down (a perceived bad call, a bad TO, etc.), he gets instantly lethargic. Lance is the biggest case on this team of needing to mature and to work.

  13. indrathegod - May 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    All of this shows how young and immature the Pacers truly are. Overachieving and unsure how to use that as fuel to make the next step…

    Anyways, Heat in 5 as I said before and a 3-Peat is on the way. #Heatles

    • fanofthegame79 - May 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      I still see this series going 6 games. There’s no way that the Pacers lose game 5 at home.

  14. caeser12 - May 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    When did Mike Woodson become the Head Coach of the Pacers?

  15. jtbsteeler - May 27, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    You will not win a championship with George Hill as your PG. I told you this last season.

  16. crossroadspastor - May 27, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Paul George is not a star. He’s a pretty good player, that’s all. he best player on the Pacers is David West, by far. He is also the closest thing to a leader they have. Miami is toying with them while saying all the right things. They could have easily won Game 4 by 30. Roy Hibbert SUCKS. He and George give very little effort, cry all the time, and Hibbert has no idea where he’s supposed to be half the time. A guy his size, and supposed athleticism, get 0 points, and 5 rebounds. And this is a recurring theme. The Heat could roll them out in 4 by an average of 25 points. The win last night was almost effortless. Oh, and BTW, why doesn’t Vogel learn to speak the language?

  17. crossroadspastor - May 27, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    A lot of this is on the coach. These scrubs won’t play for him, and they don’t have a basketball smart guy on that team. David West is the best, and smartest, player on that team. It is shocking they got the top seed in the East, and made it 2 rounds with that bunch. There is no leader, not 1, on the Pacers.

  18. ptownbearsfan420 - May 27, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    If Roy Hibbert makes the all star team next year i will lose all respect for the league. Guys a joke.

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