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Waiting on the Pacers vs. Grizzlies

Happy New Year to you and yours as we digest yet another disheartening loss by the Pacers, a team that's moved past needing a critical win and is now desperate to end the losing and beat the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow night.

Looking back at yesterday's loss, I have a couple of questions.

How did Mike Dunleavy only get on shot off in the second half after scoring 18 first half points? Yes, he had foul trouble, but he played enough second-half minutes to get some shots.

Why has Jeff Foster's role been reduced? O'B answered that question by praising Troy Murphy's play.

"It comes down to Murph is probably playing better than anybody we have on the team right now," O'Brien said. "It's more of a reflection of how well Troy is playing than anything Jeff has done. I think Troy is playing at a high level defensively and he spaces the court."
I'm happy Murph is playing so well, but the Pacers have now lost four in a row. When they've played their best games and won, Foster has been in the mix. Might be time to think about changing things, no? While bad offense is glaring in the late game implosions, the defense isn't any better. Foster can secure extra possessions on either end of the floor, yet when Troy Murphy fouled out last night, Shawne Williams finished out the game and the Pacer unit on the floor gave up free throws, layups, and tip-ins. I'm just sayin'.

What happens the next time the Pacers are up ten in the fourth quarter? The Pacers realize there's a problem with finishing games, but haven't done anything about it.
JO: "We get up double figures, there's five minutes to go in the game and we lose the game; it's always a tough way to lose," Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal said. "We've had quite a few games like that this year. We have to figure out a way to change that and hold onto games if we expect to be a good team. . . . This is a tough one to swallow. We have to put this one behind us and throw it away like 2007."

Granger: "I don't know what it is," Pacers guard Danny Granger said. "We get up, have a chance to put the game away and we start turning the ball over, we take some contested shots and we lose the game."

Dunleavy: "We should have won this game going away," Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy said. "I think if there are any adjustments that need to be made it needs to be the ability to close out games."
We've all heard similar quotes before but nothing seems to change. There's no adjustments that need to be made other than playing solid basketball for all 48 minutes. Know you have a win within grasp, and seize it. Don't look around for someone else to finish the game for you. The passive, careless play while "protecting" a lead is so anti-O'B I don't see how it continues to happen. Maybe Lester Connor should set up a kangaroo court and impose fines for every turnover or careless play in the final six minutes of a game. Something needs to change with the play on the court or the only option is to change the players on the court.