Also, this has been discussed before in some detail. This year's Pacers are 5-10 in games decided by 4 points or less in regulation, and 1-4 in OT games, for a combined 6-14 in "Close" games. Over O'Brien's tenure, the team has gone 11-16 in games decided by 4 points or less in regulation, and 2-6 in OT games, for a combined 13-22, or .371.
However, there are two other things to note:
First, in his previous stops in Boston and Philly, O'Brien's teams won about 60% of their close and OT games, (60-39).
Second, in the two years prior to O'Brien coming here (Carlisle's last two years), the Pacers were 8-24 in regulation games decided by 4 or less, and 2-3 in OT games, for a combined 10-27, or .270 record.
This happens to virtually every coach at some point in time, some more than others. Isiah is the classic example of the guy who was a bad coach from day one. He constantly thought he could out-coach the game, and often seemed to believe that the game was won in the huddles and not on the floor.
When solid-to-good coaches get desperate, they start to push. It happened to Carlisle, and it's happening to O'Brien. Couple that with the over-engineered defensive scheme and things start to spiral. If he stays on the path that he started a couple weeks ago, I believe should and will be fired.
What he needs to do is tighten the rotation back up, and make it relatively rigid. I think it will help the team both now and in the future.
However, he needs to resist the instinct to go old. My rotations would be based on three groups:
Point Guard: Ford, Jack, & Diener
Wings: Granger, Dunleavy, & Rush
Bigs: Murphy, Foster, and Hibbert
Rasho, Daniels, Baston, Graham, & McBob generally only get a taste for fouls or injuries. Rasho, Daniels, and Baston are gone at the end of the season. Graham has basically been this year's Kareem Rush - a guy who more or less came out of nowhere to contribute, but has reached his diminishing returns. McBob is a marginally interesting young prospect. They will probably both be back next year simply because they'll be cheap.
Play the rotations tight, play them strict. Dumb down the defense and play more straight up. You're not going to make the playoffs by trying to make the playoffs. The best shot, at this point, is to have Hibbert and Rush give you what they gave you last night.
Also, if we drop the game tonight, we should probably shut Danny down until after the All-Star break (and I'm including him not participating in All-Star weekend, as well. If he doesn't play in real games, he shouldn't play in some dumbass exhibition.)