I think the biggest trend we are seeing is wild swings within games. Pacers have lost big leads, but they also came back from a 7 point deficit in the last 3 minutes of the Heat game. But the Pacers have shown the ability to get big leads and they have shown some ability to come back after being behind.
The question that needs to be asked is why and what is going on here. Why are they getting and why are they giving up big leads. When teams give up big leads, no one ever discusses the fact that they had a big lead - they only dwell on the "collapse"
There is no easy answers to any of these questions.
Certainly when you are playing a faster tempo and shooting a lot of threes, there are going to be larger swings within games - as opposed to playing a slow tempo. So I'm afraid we are going to have to just get used to the swings a little.
But I believe there is a lot more going on here and a lot more than needs to be explored and fleshed out.
It seems to me that the Pacers aren't able to keep the intensity up to play the style that they are trying to play. And I'm not even talking about the running game - just the passing game and the defense takes a lot more energy that this team is used to playing. And right now the team doesn't appear capable of playing more than 24 or maybe 36 minutes of high intensity basketball. But I think that will get better at this as they develop better habbits and as they learn the system to the point where it is second nature. So I'm saying it will get better.
In some ways this reminds me of Larry Brown 's first season as our coach. They started the season 17-24 and yet there were signs of good things to come, but the talk was that the personnel just wasn't right for what Larry was trying to do. Brown was trying to change the culture of the franchise, trying to instill a defensive attitude - and it was often ugly during the first half of the season - but it finally clicked and the team gained confidence to the point where they were one of the best teams in the NBA by years end.
Will that happen this season, is that a possiblity. Probably not, but I do believe that as the players get used to the style it can get better.
That is the positive side of what is going on and that is the hopeful side of things. Putting my bball cap on for a second - losing the way the pacers have the past three is a horrible sign of things to come. As the players begin to lose confidence, as they get more and more frustrated with each other - things will spiral out of control and we could be looking at a 20 win season. See what happens in the NBA, a lot of teams start out the season pretty even, but as the season goes along they separate and the gaps between the good and the bad teams widen with each passing day. As someone who grew up following the Pacers in the 80's let me tell you November was typically their best month and yes this team this year in a lot of ways resembles those 20 win teams.
OK, talking my bball cap off - let me say I don't expect things to spiral out of control that is if the players stay together and if they believe in the coaching staff.
My greatest fear is going through a bad season (and by that I mean less than 35 wins) with JO and Jamaal Tinsley leading them. I don't want that - I would rather win 25 games without those two - with the idea of building towards the future.
So right now just like the wild swings within games, I have wild swings within my own mind as to where this team is headed. I do have complete confidence in this coaching staff - believe me I really do. If we have a rookie head coach and inexperience assistants I think we would be looking at closer to a 20 win season than a 40 win season.
This post isn't about analyzing individual players, (although I did mention the two most important players). Most of you have never gone through a completely hopeless 20 win season - let me tell you it isn't fun - the NBA takes no pity on you and for you who gripe about the referees and for those of you who think we never get any calls, No, 20 win teams never get any calls.
My only advice to you is hold on, enjoy the little things and lower your expectations because I honestly don't know where this team is headed