The Pacers are officially out of time to figure things out on the offensive end and begin playing like an elite team once again. After a decent defensive effort went for naught in New York, the Pacers now face a gauntlet of games that will have them sliding down the standings if they don't get right.
Yes, the Pacers only lost by six to the Knicks, holding a high-scoring New York team under 100 points but the clunking offensive effort from the starting unit, had Roy Hibbert and Paul George pointing fingers after the game, as Candace Buckner reported.
Hibbert scored 20 points for the first time this month and took the opportunity to throw some poorly veiled shots at Lance Stephenson for the offense not operating as expected. Hibbert actually said he decided to do more for the offense since things weren't working. Seems like that should be Plan A all the time, no? Well, then Hibbert dropped this.
"We've fallen in love with the jump shot for a while," Hibbert said. "People feel like they have it going and they want to do it themselves sometimes. That's just how it works. I feel like two guys that I have 100 percent trust in doing that is Paul and David. I feel like they should have carte blanche on whatever they want to do in terms of attacking the paint and (put) the ball's in their hands because they've earned my respect."
"They're able to do it at a high level, even if they start off a little slow but I know they're going to bring it. Those guys have the green light whenever they have it, but other than that I think we should move the ball and get people involved."
Check out the whole piece which also includes Paul George taking his team's basketball I.Q. to task for not being able to adjust on the offensive end when opponents counter defensively. Hopefully, PG included himself in that assessment because he hasn't looked like the smartest player on the floor when things break down.
Look, Lance and PG going 4 for 16 from behind the arc is never a good thing and the inside-outside game worked well with Hibbert, but the Big Dawg has to be that presence in the post every night and not just against Cole Aldrich.
So as the Pacers prepare for their most critical stretch of the regular season (Chicago, @ Memphis, @ Chicago, Miami) they not only have to raise their level of play, but also get on the same page. The latter may solve the former but one thing remains a constant with this team -- they cannot get by on individual talent alone, only working as a team do they become a title contender.
Ready or not, bring on the Bulls!
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