They say that a change of scenery can sometimes help a team find their way back to success. Perhaps it will take a more detailed map here, as the Indiana Pacers continue to look lost.
Embarking on their first extended road trip of the year, they were looking to pick up some much needed victories against teams who like Indiana, failed to make the playoffs last year.
After watching the first two games on this West coast excursion, I think it’s fair to say things are rapidly approaching rock bottom again for this once proud franchise. Unlike in previous years, the problems are on the court, not off of it.
The first stop of the trip would be Golden State to face the Warriors who the Pacers defeated at Conseco Fieldhouse just two and a half weeks earlier. The Pacers started out well and despite 10 second-period turnovers, led 57-51 at the half.
The second half however would be all Golden State as they would outscore the Pacers by a count of 75-50 and go on to win easily, 129-107. Monta Ellis made it a career night by dropping 45 points on the Pacers, who allowed the Warriors to shoot 56 percent from the field, including 42 percent from the three point arc.
C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow added 18 points a piece for Golden State who had five players in double figures.
Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy had 22 points each for the Pacers who shot a dismal 14 percent (3 of 21) from three point range and had a whopping 25 turnovers in this debacle of a contest.
After a day off for travel, the Blue and Gold arrived in Sacramento to face a young and inexperienced Kings team, which appeared to be just what the Pacers needed to snap out of a losing streak. It sounded good on paper, but the Kings would have none of it, as they used high energy and good ball movement to give themselves a six point halftime lead.
The Kings shot seven of 10 from the three point stripe in the second half (50 percent for the game) and behind the stellar play of rookie Tyreke Evans, went on to defeat the listless Pacers 110-105 in a game in which the final score made the end result seem a lot closer than it was.
Sacramento who was paced by Evans with 26, had four other players in double figures and held the Pacers to just 43 percent shooting for the game. The Kings also had 28 assists on 41 field goals and shot 50 percent from the field.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 33 points on a night where the Pacers out rebounded the Kings by 10, but missed seven free throws and turned the ball over 18 times to seal their own fate.
Dahntay Jones added 16 points for the Pacers and Earl Watson chipped in 15 on the night, while again playing more minutes at the point guard position than T.J. Ford.
Notes: The Pacers will battle the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Friday Dec. 4 and then travel to Los Angeles to face Eric Gordon and the Clippers on Saturday to end their road trip.
Both games can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest with the Jazz game tipping off at 9 p.m. locally and the Clipper contest beginning at 10:30 p.m. locally.
Both games figure to be tough for Indiana who for some reason cannot figure out how to defend and rebound the ENTIRE game. Their defensive efforts to date have been pathetic and are the sole reason they have now lost seven of their last eight games, which I am sure has both Jim O’Brien and Larry Bird wondering what to do with this roster of uninspired players who seem to be going through the motions in a manner that is both obvious and unacceptable.
The next home game for Indiana is Wednesday Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. against Lawrence North’s Greg Oden and the Portland Trailblazers. Oden is playing well for Portland, averaging 11 points and six rebounds per contest. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com or the Conseco Fieldhouse box office.
Danny Bridges, who feels these Pacers are embarrassing themselves and the Indianapolis community, can reached at (317) 578-1780 or by email at Bridgeshd@aol.com.