Solomon Jones's minutes before and after would also be germane. As would Watson's.
BlueNGold hit upon that in his last post herein. Perhaps there is something to that.
Look at the box scores?
There's nothing that jumps out about the minutes, as far as I see.
If there's a critical factor here, to me it's starting Danny at the 4, with Roy at 5. No, that didn't produce 5-0. Or at least didn't stop there. It produced 5-3 (which I'd take for the next 8 games.)
Knicks shot 38.5% and scored 89 points
Wizards shot 39.3% and scored 86
Warriors shot 40.2% and scored 94 points
Nets shot 36% and scored 83 points.
The only exception was the Celtics game. Celtics were able to shoot 47.6% and scored 104 points, but the pacers 9 for 18 from 3 point range made up for that.
Pacers defense was pretty good in that stretch,
Here's a question that perhaps someone can research and answer (or show me where I can find all the box scores and I'll talley it up myself):
How many minutes did the following players average during the five game win streak?
And how many minutes per game did they average for the five games following the win streak?
Knicks: 44.9% (21st)
Wizards: 43.8% (25th)
Nets: 41.0% (30th)
So that "pretty good defense" while certainly apparent those night, wasn't exactly shutting down the Showtime Lakers, particularly when you consider how much worse New York and Washington both were three weeks ago, not to mention the Warriors, who had all sorts of issues at the time.
I'm not trying to say that this should influence everyone's starting lineup arguments, but if we're going to "get clear minded about the win streak" it might help to start classifying it as what it really was: Beating two shi**y teams at home, beating the Celtics and winning in New Jersey and New York.
It's a much more fair way to look at things, rather than pretending that those teams are on par with the Cavs Mavs, Jazz or even the Kings and Raptors.
If you remove the Cs from the equation, the teams we beat during that stretch have a combined record of 20-59.
At this point, the 20-59 record of the opposition minus the C's that we beat during the streak is not that much worse than we appear to be as a team right now.
Click the result in the right column...it links to the box scores. Completed games are at the bottom of the schedule.
Boston is 14-6 for those of you who need the quantitative acknowledgment that the Celtics are, in fact, very, very good.
And, for clarification, the Pacers beat them...by unleashing the Superfriends Lineup of Justice, Peace and Goodwill for Mankind That Cannot Be Beat.
Let's not pretend that the Pacers have since faced powerhouses either though.
They're 1-9 since that streak and have faced 3 teams with winning records. The remaining 7 have a sub .400 winning percentage combined. The Pacers split with one of those teams. 4 of those 9 loses were by more than 15 points and another two were by 10 or more.
6 of the last 9 loses have been by double digits. The majority were on the road though. Still you shouldn't lose by 15 or more.
No one is trying to say that 5-win rotation was some super power. No one is denying that 4 of those teams were bad teams.
What is trying to be pointed out, and it's completely legit and shouldn't be dismissed like it often has been in the rush to make excuses about the win streak, is that the Pacers have since gotten significantly worse.
Poo-poo that winning stretch as a D+ team all you like. It beats the hell out of this F team we have now.
As for the shooting percentages of those bad teams, I don't think it makes a great point unless their crappy FG%s simply held up against us. That's not what happened.
Knicks: 6.4% below average
Wizards: 4.5% below average
Nets: 5.0% below average
That's significant. That matters. It shouldn't be cynically dismissed.
Especially since they've been getting blown out by teams just as crappy since then. On the road or not. If you think you're a middle of the pack team you have to hang with the other middle of the pack teams and beat the Warriors and Knicks.
Following are the numbers. Make of them what you will. The first line under each name is for the five game wins streak. The second line os for only for four straight losses that came after.
32.0 min, 8.6 pts
32.5 min, 10.3 pts
36.8 min, 17.8 pts
34.0 min, 18.3 pts
16.8 min, 4.2 pts
14.0 min, 2.6 pts
28.8 min, 14.6 pts
21.3 min, 8.3 pts
30.4 min, 10.6 pts
23.5 min, 2.8 pts
The Cavs and Mavs can be classified as nothing but powerhouses. The Jazz's personnel, record speaks for itself.
The Raptors are 9-13 (with the 3rd best offense in the league), the Kings are 9-10 (with the 6th best offense in the league), the Bobcats are 8-11 (with the 2nd best defense in the league) and the Clippers are definitively mediocre at 9-11 (but obviously have one of the more decidedly "good personnel/bad team" dynamics in the league).
So while I would not classify any of those four teams as world-beaters, each has something going for them, which makes the fact that they were all, on their own home courts, able to beat a mediocre-at-best team like the Pacers not particularly surprising regardless of match-ups, line-ups and playing time distribution. If two average teams play each other, the one who is at home should win.
But the Knicks and Warriors, as mentioned above, are very bad basketball teams by almost all metrics. The Nets are even worse.
In short, collectively, the quality of teams that the Pacers have played since the five-game winning streak ended are by all measures better than those they beat during the winning streak. You can say that the Celtics are the best team they've played during the last 15 games, certainly, but the Cavs are, recordwise, essentially just as good.
I don't have an argument here as far as who should be playing. I'm just listing facts about the NBA in an attempt to stay in line with the "clear minded" directive of the thread title.
During the last two games, my wife and I paid particular attention to five players - Foster, Hibbert, Murphy, Ford and Watson - particularly on their defense. Keep in mind my wife has only recently come to better understand the game of basketball, as well as becoming a Pacers fan. So, you can understand my surprise when she commented on how Foster tends to run out faster to the open man on PnR plays compared to Murphy or Hibbert. She also noticed that Hibbert has begun to read the defense better and reacts to certain situations on the floor. He's still learning, but she did notice how most of Hibbert's fouls were committed providing help defense.
I watched how TJ and Watson defended the ballhandler and noticed that Watson tends to position himself opposite the defense. This forced the ballhander to either take the jump shot or give up the ball, but rarely did the ballhandler attempt to run a PnR play against him, and if he did, players rotated accordingly and got back to their original defensive assignments as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Not so with TJ. Everytime he'd place himself with his back to the defense which allowed the ballhandler to dribble away from him to the weakside. And everytime either Hibbert or Foster had to bring help defense which put them out of position.
But I digress, looking at the decline in minutes played for both Watson and Hibbert, I can only assume that Murphy and TJ's minutes have increased since the winning streak. And based on their reluctance or inability to provide adequate defense I'd say these two would be the first players I'd look to change from starters to reserves or reduce their minutes. Regardless of what JOB decides to do, I don't think he can ignore the numbers for much longer.
Solo contributed well in short spurts. Watson is a better defender and a sturdier hand at PG. And with Granger being injured, JOB can no longer deny that Luther Head has the best +/- statline of anyone on this team (+35)...and I don't put much stock in the +/-.
Why have we not gone back and tried the same recipe? The Knicks were on a back-to-back after beating them a few days earlier...after the team had 5 wins and were probably not as hungry. You all know the ebb and flow of the NBA. The other loss was to the Cavs. Let's not pretend we are favored to beat them.
The bottom line is, I see no justification for not going back to that group.
The team was playing well when Roy was playing well. Roy was playing well when he played with an athletic lineup. Playing Troy Murphy with Roy Hibbert hurts Roy and it hurts the entire team. The coach puts Hibbert in position to fail by pairing him with Troy, than yanks him in and out of the lineup and destroys his confidence... his production falls off while the pacers lose a ****load of games. Does my logic fail or is it possible there might be something to this?
Its not all about Roy, but it appeared during the streak that the defense could function pretty well when Roy was paired with Granger at the 4, and having a legit post presence was helping us win. With the return of murphy the defense is back to being atrocious and Roy's minutes get cut. Shenanigans.