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Open Game Thread: Pacers vs. Utah

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Mark Montieth was on JMV tonight and he seems to think the players haven't given up hope yet. They still feel they can take care of a few things on defense, start hitting some shots and turn things around. Hearing that at least gives me hope, although the Jazz-Pacers matchup still looks like an L to me no matter how many positive vibes I have. Montieth also mentioned that in his fourth year as coach, Carlisle is certainly on the hot seat. The offense is obviously a source of contention and could lead to RC losing the team soon. Bird or Walsh will be with the team for all of their remaining road games to assess the players and what is going on.

Add Ike Diogu to the list of disgruntled Pacers. Thanks to TrueHoop, I saw this Contra Costa Times item about Ike's frustrations since the trade. Losing exposes all warts. When a team is winning, something is working and so everyone keeps doing what they've been doing. String together a few losses and suddenly the individual thinks, I gotta take care of my business and at least get mine. This attitude ends up moving the team farther away from winning. The last thing the Pacers need right now is another voice of negativity.

While Ike airing grievances to the media really chaps me, I happen to agree that he needs more time, especially now when the season is slipping away.The problem with Ike right now is he's a bit of a liability on defense. Offensively he's always a threat because he can take a foul and knock down the free throws. I think more time will allow him to play more comfortably within the system and he will begin to play without looking like he's thinking too much.

On other negative news front, J.O. talked to Nick from Absolute Pacers after the Clippers game. He didn't have all of the audio but mentioned that J.O. told him this (Nick paraphrasing J.O's comments):  "he feels teams have figured it out... That the coaches will call out a play and the opposing bench will call out exactly what is coming. Teams have been sending double teams as soon as Jermaine touches the ball in the post. It used to be they would wait until he started to make his move, and now they won't even let him do that. They are daring us to shoot and no one is hitting their shots. He said he has been trying to step out of the post and shoot but if he misses, we have no rebounders so our possessions are typically one-and-done."

The Pacers did push the ball a lot more against the Kings and at least made an effort to stay out of the long half-court plays. We'll see if there are any changes tonight.

Wow, that's a lot to chew on right before the tip. Let me know your thoughts on these items or the game.