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IC Cold Links: Pacers Continue To Sink Midway Through Season

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How low can you go?

The Indiana Pacers went west a week ago clinging to seventh place in the Eastern Conference. After four losses on the road pushed their losing streak to five, they landed back in Indy last night tied for tenth in the East.

I mention this, not to evoke a Jim Mora-esque reaction from ye faithful readers, but to remind you that making the playoffs is a team goal. Prior to the trip, Jim O'Brien mentioned that it was such a priority that the team discussed the playoffs and their standing in the East every day.

I just hope the playoff goal remains a priority because they will have to take a different path to get there than JOB set out on to start the season, a path that includes heavier doses Tyler Hansbrough, Paul George, A.J. Price -- players JOB has been reluctant to trust on a consistent basis.

Obviously, the playoffs remain a long-shot at this point even though a simple three-game winning streak could put the Pacers in contention for the sixth playoff spot. Only problem is, the Pacers haven't been able to win more than two at a time all season. There will be inconsistent play from night-to-night as the young players adjust to larger roles, so a complete transformation of the mind, body and soul of the team will be needed to meet their goal, but that gaol shouldn't be abandoned.

That mind part may be the biggest problem. Reading the quotes from players after last night's loss reveals a team down on itself without much fight in the tank. Support players Hansbrough and George both have career nights but don't get the support they need from the beaten down team leaders. Don't expect things to settle down until the trade deadline passes in a month, since the Pacers and many specific names on the roster will likely be mentioned in plenty of rumors over the next few weeks.

Coaching changes, players changes, lots of changes -- everyone knows the Pacers need to make changes. I just wonder how far the team will sink in the meantime.

After the jump, a few links of interest from last night's loss.