It has been proven in my experiences that you always want to end a conversation on a positive note so let’s start with the identity crisis that isn’t looking pretty for the city of Indianapolis. The Indiana Pacers – who have made the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and even made a splash against the Miami Heat in the second round last year have gotten off to a sluggish 4 – 7 start in 2012. As mentioned in my previous posts the Pacers do not look like the team we have gotten to know and love the past couple of years. Sure the absence of Danny Granger, issues with the second unit gelling and icy cold shooting has been the main contributors to this slow start but it appears to be much more.
At times the Pacers can turn it on, have the energy, excitement and playing ability we saw last year. Watching players like Hansbourgh and Stephenson make you believe this team is still a contender. At times the play of stars like George Hill and Paul George make you think the future is bright. The leadership of David West seems to help carry this team to close games. Originally the issue was that we couldn’t penetrate the lane and get easy buckets. We kept turning the ball over on with poor decisions and would throw up three point shots before passing the ball even once.
The issues have changed since the first eight games of the season. The Pacers are now able to spread the floor, penetrate the lane and are making multiple passes. The issue is becoming something intangible. Unfortunately this isn’t the intangible that helps drive your team to a championship, it brings them down because they just can’t seem to piece it together, even though they are doing all the right things. If you look at the game on Sunday against the Knicks the Pacers looked strong. They had solid passes, good shoot selection and good defense. Then the team went ice cold, going 1 of 15 from the floor and frustration reared its ugly face. The Pacers fell back into quick shots, bad passes, lots of turnovers and the inability to penetrate the lane. Maybe it’s the expectations, maybe it is the lack of the one leader who has been there since 2005 or maybe it is just a young, inexperienced team but the Pacers are in an identity crisis and falling fast.
Team leaders Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis came back to the locker room with a fresh start, a young talented Quarterback and no expectations to succeed. To the surprise of many, including myself, the Colts started the season with a 6 – 3 record heading into this past Sunday’s game. Despite getting crushed by the Patriots this past weekend the Colts still sit at 6-4, are still in the playoff picture and have a favorable schedule the rest of the season. Also if you look at this past weekend the Colts outplayed the Patriots in the first half and only lost control in the second half due to poor special teams play and two untimely passes (a couple of mistakes any rookie quarterback is expected to make).
With the poor play of the Pacers early this season we are lucky the Colts have had an identity crisis and are looking to make the playoffs instead of settling for a 3, 4 or 5 win season. It is my hope as a fan that the Colts can continue to make strides towards the playoffs and the Pacers can pull it together until Granger comes back so they can make a playoff run as well. Live, love and play like there is no tomorrow – thanks for reading!
The Marris Minute