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Frank Vogel boils down Pacers' meltdown last season

During a recent appearance on Zach Lowe's podcast, the Pacers coach discussed several interesting topics including what happened to slow down the Pacers at the end of last season.

Andy Lyons

What happened to the Pacers?

I can't begin to count the number of times someone posed that question during the latter part of the 2013-14 season. The normal response started with, pull up a chair. There was no simple answer, no one specific issue that was the obvious problem.

Well, now we have the definitive answer to, "What happened to the Pacers?" During an entertaining and informative interview on Grantland's The Lowe Post Podcast, Frank Vogel took a question about his team's offensive woes last season and efficiently went through the crazy set of circumstances that emerged to waylay his squad after the All-Star break. He even admits the mid-season changes Larry Bird made did indeed disrupt the team's chemistry, which is always a risk when change is introduced to a group.

Here's what Vogel had to say:

Yeah, well, you know it wasn't one thing that happened. I think there was a number of things that happened, you know, and I don't want to get into great details but, I think as a group we struggled to handle success a little bit. And it turned into some stretches where individually we weren't at our best. I think that the trade for Evan Turner disrupted our chemistry a little bit and we just had to find our way some in that regard. C.J. Watson missed a stretch of time, where Donald Sloan came in and once he got acclimated he was pretty darn good and he was able to be himself, but when he first came in he struggled a little bit. Luis Scola had an elbow injury and was struggling to make shots for about three, four weeks, and we were hoping he was going to get through it. Roy Hibbert was struggling with his finishes around the rim.

So I think it was just a matter of a perfect storm of five, six, seven things happening at the same time with off-the-court distractions and all those things that I just mentioned that just contributed to that all happening at one time. While that was happening we had our busiest and most difficult month of the season. And every team has a month where the schedule is just brutal on you and ours was March. And that happened the same time that all those other things were happening. Just one of those things, as much as everybody wants to talk about the epic collapse or whatever that they were calling us toward the end of last season, from February 1st on we were 21-15. That's not horrible, that's a pretty good winning percentage. Is it 33-7 or so where we were at? 16-1? Not as dominant, but no one is going to be that dominant for 82 games. To go 21-15 down the stretch to me isn't that bad. So even at our worst we were still pretty good and still able to get to the conference finals.

While some of those issues read like excuses, there's no fabrication to explain away the late-season meltdown. Changes that didn't work, schedule challenges and nagging injuries and not enough professional maturity on the roster to handle adversity following a stretch of success. That about covers it.

Check out the full interview below. Simply a great listen.