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IC Cold Links: Pacers Continue Calibrating Lineup, Looking For Winning Combination

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There was plenty of promise in the Pacers play by the end of the first quarter last night.

Not only were the Pacers winning 33-30, but nine different players had played with enough energy and focus to make it appear that maybe Jim O'Brien was closing in on a reliable playing rotation. Prior to the game, JOB mentioned his intention to include nine players in his rotation (starters: Ford, Dahntay, Granger, Murphy, Hibbert, bench: Dunleavy, Watson, Foster, Hansbrough) with the remaining three used as needed.

The solid play continued through much of the second quarter with the second unit making all kinds of hustle plays and extending the lead to ten points. For maybe the first time all year, things seemed settled with clearly defined roles. You could actually envision everyone understanding, accepting and then building on their role in the rotation.

But then the starting unit returned flat to finish out the half allowing the Kings to turn a 10-point deficit into a three point lead at the break. From there, the team just didn't play well or adjust to the adversity of falling behind with enough sense of urgency to do anything about it. Plus, minute limits on Dunleavy and Hansbrough left the playing rotation jumbled at a critical time in the fourth quarter. Even though the game remained within reach in the fourth quarter, it never felt like the Pacers would get over the hump to steal the win.

So while it remains a work in progress, I still think the playing rotation used last night gives the Pacers their best chance to win and it would be nice to see the players get a chance to grow into their roles by maintaining some consistency. Then all the players have to do is, you know, play better.

After the jump, plenty of links of interest from the loss last night.