Two steps forward, two steps back.
The Indiana Pacers returned home early this morning to a snowy Indianapolis just as they left, with a .500 record.
Momentum seemed to be building for something special after starting their West Coast swing with wins over the L.A. Lakers and Sacramento Kings. But after a reality check against the Utah Jazz and then checking-out early against the Phoenix Suns last night, players, coaches and fans are left lamenting another win that got away.
Milwaukee, Houston, Oklahoma City and now Phoenix. Those 50-50 losses are stacking up and keeping the Pacers sputtering through the season around the mediocre middle of the Eastern Conference. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that this team has raised my expectations enough so that a 9-9 record at this point in the schedule is frustrating.
But the Pacers have shown what they're capable of when they defend, move the ball on offense and attack the opposition. Those are things they can control and last night they were lacking with little coercion from the Suns. I mean, how can Channing Frye be left alone so often to torch the Pacers from deep? Maybe some of the young players were reading their positive press clippings which have been coming in from several national outlets.
So now the Pacers are back home with a chance to regroup and try to gather that positive momentum once again. It seems like a pretty easy recipe, take care of the ball and get down and dirty on the defensive end and then let the chips fall where they may. We'll see if the Pacers can emerge from the middle of the pack again and this time stay above the fray.
After the jump, a few links of interest from last night's loss.
- Box score
PACERS: GAME REWIND: SUNS 105, PACERS 97
Game Rewind has highlights, analysis, notes, quotes and stats from the Pacers' 105-97 loss to the Suns Friday in Phoenix.
How the West was lost: Turnovers
Mike Wells reports on the mess that was the Pacers' loss last night.
Channing Frye scores 29, leads Phoenix Suns to 105-97 win vs. Indiana Pacers
Paul Coro reports on Frye leading the Suns past the Pacers.
Suns Regroup in Second Half, Down Pacers, 105-97 - Bright Side Of The Sun
Channing Frye's 29 Points Help Suns Defeat Pacers in Phoenix, 105-97
Game #18 Recap – Greatest Hits by K-Tel (Hopefully, Limited Time Only)
Tim Donahue recaps all of the low points from last night's loss.
Rush or Dunleavy? | IndyStar.com
Mike Wells shares Jim O'Brien's thoughts on the shooting guard position for the Pacers. Matchups dictate who starts, but personally I like Dunleavy off the bench to help solidify the second unit offense.
Going 2-2 isn’t good enough | Pacers Insider
Mike Wells knows what he saw and allowing any excuses for that loss last night.
Pacers Don't See Value in D-League -- NBA FanHouse
Scott Schroeder makes the case for using the D-League.
Sixers beat writer Phil Jasner dies at age 68
We lost a wonderful hoops scribe yesterday. Rest in peace, Phil Jasner.