Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel is always trying to figure out ways to get the most out of his players.
He showed them a scene from the movie "Rocky II" last week and had a list of the NFL's best lockdown cornerbacks on a board prior to the Pacers' game at Miami earlier this week.
Now he wants his team to emulate the offensive system of the Boston Celtics
even though there are no Paul Pierces, Ray Allens, Kevin Garnetts or Rajon Rondos on the roster.
"I watch every playoff game. I watch the Celtics go on their runs. I watch the Lakers,'' Vogel said. "I watch teams who are successful and I try to figure out how we can do what they do. It's not all talent."
The Celtics have become a premier team by sharing the scoring load. They space the court and move the ball.
The first thing Vogel did when he took over as coach last week was simplify his team's offense. The Pacers spent most of their practice time earlier this week working on Boston's offense.
"We've shown them a lot of tape of (Boston) the last few days. That has nothing to do with Hall of Fame talent," Vogel said. "It's just how they play. They play an unselfish brand of basketball. (Celtics coach) Doc Rivers has them playing as a team, and that's what I'm trying to install here."
The early results have been promising.
At least three players each night have attempted 10 or more shots in all six games under Vogel. They have scored at least 100 points in all six games.
The Pacers, 5-1 since Vogel took over for Jim O'Brien, host the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse.
"I'm blown away at how well our guys are picking up the concepts of just passing and spacing," Vogel said. "We are moving the basketball. It's almost like a passing clinic, the way we're passing the ball. I'm very proud of our guys."
Spreading the scoring load also has made the Pacers less predictable.
Danny Granger still leads the team in scoring, but Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Roy Hibbert also have been productive.
"It's an equal opportunity offense," Collison said. "You can't predict that only one guy is going to get the ball. There are so many guys who can create for themselves and we have a lot of great shooters on the team."
Better spacing on the court and strong perimeter shooting have helped transform the Pacers into an inside-out team again.
Hibbert has scored at least 15 points in four of the past six games, including tying his career high of 29 Wednesday night against Charlotte.
"We run a play. If that sequence isn't open, coach wants us to throw the ball in the post and let me go to work," Hibbert said. "Coach wants us to be like Boston in terms of our efficiency and passing the ball. We just started, so I think we'll get better."