The unraveling of the Indiana Pacers reached new depths on Sunday night when the Atlanta Hawks raced out to a 55-23 lead on the franchise that once seemed sure to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Fran Vogel sat the entire starting five less than six minutes into the first quarter while the Pacers trailed 17-3.
Fran Vogel sat the entire starting five less than six minutes into the first quarter while the Pacers trailed 17-3. Over on the bench, Roy Hibbert sulked for much of the night from the bench and went 0-5 without a rebound after complaining about not getting enough touches while teammates implied it was because he was a bad matchup for Hawks center Pero Antić. Hibbert said the starting five and Hibbert in particular looked exhausted.
"They're not getting it done,'' Vogel said. “They're not getting it done, we have to go to someone else, see if someone else can get it done.''
"I considered resting Roy before tonight's game because he looks worn down,'' Vogel said during a short, terse post-game press conference." He's a 7-2 player that's played every game this year, which is very rare. He looks to me to be worn down. He's giving good effort, but he looks to be to be worn down...I decided to play him, but when he got off to a slow start, I decided to rest him.''
As ridiculous as it sounds, the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz is intimating that Vogel's job could be in jeopardy, four games before the regular season ends. It's an intriguing scenario, but not even Pat Riley would have the stones to make a coaching change like this after the job Vogel's done since the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
Via Indianapolis Star:
Bird was hesitant to fire Jim O'Brien in the first place, and even after Vogel turned the team around and got them to play competitively in the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls, it took a couple of months before Bird was willing to give Vogel the full-time job. If you remember, Bird wanted Vogel to hire a big-time, experienced assistant, specifically Brian Shaw, before giving him the job.
Remember, too, that in mid-March, Bird took a swipe at Vogel during a four-game losing streak, opining that Vogel wasn't hard enough on his team at times. Vogel said the comments didn't bother him; I'm not convinced that's the truth.
Would Bird come down from the front office and take over for the post-season?
Would he put it in the hands of Nate McMillan, the former Seattle head coach who is a Vogel assistant?
Bird didn't put this team together to watch it go into the tank. From the moment the season began, he said, "We're all in'' while saying anything short of the NBA Finals would be a disappointment.
Now he sits in his seat in the corner of Bankers Life Fieldhouse and watches his team implode. They are 3-8 in their last 11 games, and are just 20-18 since the 33-7 start. Right now, this looks like a team that has stopped playing for its head coach and stopped playing for one another, a team that will be hard-pressed to get out of the second round of the NBA playoffs.