From The Other Side: Indiana Pacers Face An Existential Crisis in MidWestworld | Wizards Blog Truth About

From The Other Side: Indiana Pacers Face An Existential Crisis in MidWestworld

Updated: December 29, 2016

Truth About It is a blog that primarily focuses on all things Washington Wizards. We have media credentials and that access allows for up-close coverage of games, practices, and other activities, irreverent and otherwise. But occasionally we use our access to explore what is going on with the opposing team the Wizards are facing. We call this segment, “From The Other Side,” and in today’s installment, @LedellsPlace focuses on how the Indiana Pacers coped with their 111-105 loss to the Washington Wizards.


Paul George sat at his locker after the Pacers 111-105 loss to the Wizards with his feet in a bucket of ice, his uniform still on and a wistful look in his eyes. He was answering reporters’ questions in a crowded locker room, but he might as well have been sitting on a metal chair in a cold sterile room having a candid conversation about the world with Bernard.

This Pacers team… I think there might be something wrong with this team.

The Pacers, like Dolores, are facing an existential crisis. They are no longer a good defensive team or rebounding team but they also have not developed into the fast break team that was promised in the off-season. Paul George is coming to grips with the grim reality of his team’s place in NBA purgatory:

You can’t be a fast break team if you are not getting rebounds and not getting stops. That was the goal of this team was to get out and run and get in open lanes. You just can’t do that without the ball. We’re not getting stops well enough to do that. We’re not rebounding well enough to do that. So I think that part of our game is nonexistent.

Therein lies the problem. The Pacers can’t play big and they can’t play small. Paul George seems to yearn for the days of old when the Pacers had an identity. Count how many times George says that the Pacers are “not big” in the following 55 word quote:

I think teams understand that we’re not a big group. We’re not a big team, so they are sending everybody [to the offensive boards]. We are not a transition team. We are not a fast break team, so they are sending everybody. Again, we’re not a big team so in their eyes it’s fair game to get those rebounds.

George knows exactly what the Pacers are not, but no one knows what they are.

Washington continuously exploited the Pacers’ lack of size en route to a startling 54-34 rebounding advantage. The disparity was not lost on Pacers coach Nate McMillan:

They pounded us on the boards, just dominated. Beat us by 20 on the boards, 15 offensive rebounds. You can’t give teams second opportunities like that.

But it was not just a size advantage. For the second straight game, Washington out-muscled its opponent. McMillan wants to see his guys put up more of a fight:

I thought there were some times when we got pushed around and you got to ‘man up’ down there…  That ball is up in the air, it’s free for anybody to go get, we got to box out, scrap, and go get those balls.

All is not lost for the Pacers. The NBA regular season can feel like an eternity, an endless loop of hotels, plane rides and shoot-arounds. Indiana is stuck in a rut but there is still time for them to break free someday. Then again, ‘Someday’ sounds a lot like the thing people say when they actually mean ‘never.’

A Friendly Assist From The Men in Grey.

Nate McMillan and Paul George were fined a collective $25,000 for negative comments about the officiating after their loss to the Chicago Bulls the game before playing Washington. They didn’t get their money’s worth.

The Pacers were called for several questionable fouls in the fourth quarter, most notably against John Wall when he was driving wildly through the lane with little chance of scoring.

The entire Pacers team spent a lot of time chirping at the refs (often for good reason) and it took them out of their rhythm. McMillan commented after the game that his players need to learn to keep their composure.

Paul George did not want to pick up another fine after the game — opting instead for the ‘it is what it is’ stance — but he was clearly upset with a perceived lack of respect from the officials. He won’t find any sympathy from Washington, where John Wall has spent years getting knocked to the ground on drives to the rim with no whistle. For once, it was nice to see the home team get a few friendly calls when the game was on the line.

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.