The Indiana Pacers have a chance to catch their breath this week before heading into the home stretch of the season. The Philadelphia 76ers are in town tonight for the Pacers' only game in a five-day stretch that started this past Sunday.
Of course, with the Pacers this year you never know if rest is a good thing or not. They've been known to come out flat as flapjacks when you'd think they would be fresh and ready to go. Other times when you'd think they would be worn out they muster up a good effort. Their last game in Phoenix is a perfect example as they showed up for their fourth game in five days on the road with more energy and spirit than they showed in the previous three.
But that's the beauty this beholder's eye has found in following the Pacer team. Maybe I'm truly sick, but a few weeks ago my outlook flipped a switch. I went from going through misery following this team to finding the whole exercise extremely entertaining.
The key to my intrigue has been a shift in focus to how the individuals react to the trying circumstances. The season slipped away and there's been plenty of adversity to go around. What's next? How do you react?
So many players have had to deal with injuries, poor individual play and of course all of the losing. Just in the last two months individual players dealing directly with this roller coaster season include: T.J Ford, Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Solo Jones, Roy Hibbert. Brandon Rush, Josh McRoberts and A.J. Price. Trying times reveal who you can rely on for the long haul.
Oh, and then there's the coaching staff. With one word, Jim O'Brien turned any remaining public support against him. There's no doubt he will hear it from home fans when he's announced tonight and likely the remainder of the season at the Fieldhouse.
All of these individual story lines continue to pique my interest even if the team as a whole does not.
Pacers very glad to be done in the wild, wild West
Bruon's Caught In The Web breaks down the highlights and lowlights from the 0-4 road trip.
Pacers talking trash for their college teams
Mike Wells reports on March Madness hitting the Pacers locker room with all of the former college players who saw plenty of success in the tournament staying true to their schools.
Have the Sixers Finally Found a Style That Fits?
Dei Lynam delves into the Sixers recent success using a small lineup.
Injured Speights to sit for now
Kate Fagan reports that the Pacers won't have to deal with Marreese Speights around the bucket tonight due to a right knee sprain.
Projected top pick John Wall may be hard fit for lottery teams
Frank Hughes begins projecting John Wall's jump to the NBA and thinks Indiana would be the best fit. Me too.
The state of basketball analysis
Henry Abbott at TrueHoop talks with one of the early NBA advanced stat adopters, Dean Oliver about the progress of advanced stats in the NBA.
It's Not Whether You Can Find the Perfect Stats, It’s How You Use Them to Play the Game
From the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Jared Wade reports on a panel discussing how advanced stats are practically applied. The stats don't make the decision they factor into the decision.