We all knew it was going to be a rough stretch. Even if it's a mix of good and bad teams, there are lots of road games and loads of games stacked into a short time frame. We called it a 'make or break' part of the season for the Indiana Pacers.
And right now, they are breaking.
I won't go into all the specifics, but in short, the Vogel effect is now all but gone. The excitement and freshness that came with a new coach has slowly evaporated over time, and if Vogel doesn't do something to inject his squad with a renewed vision and passion, these Pacers will be no different to the team that Jim O'Brien was fired from.
The Pacers have now lost 3 straight road games against Western Conference teams -- getting blown away by the Thunder in Oklahoma, losing one against the Mavs in Dallas without ever being a serious threat, and then getting blown away by the Rockets in Houston.
That makes it 5 losses in 6 games. Even with the Charlotte Bobcats almost deliberately bombing out the rest of the season, the Pacers are still not a lock for the playoffs. And you can just about forget moving up to the 7th seed. The 27-35 Pacers are way behind the 32-30 Philadelphia 76ers at the moment -- though the Pacers do have an opportunity to cut into that lead with a victory against them tomorrow night.
It's a home game, and it's after a brief rest, so if the Pacers are really serious about turning things around, we need to see a victory.
After that, they go on the road again for another 3 game stretch, but this one is much less strenuous -- Minnesota, Toronto, and New York. They need to go at least 2-1 for that stretch to keep the season afloat, because after that they play New York again, Boston, Chicago, then Memphis. If the losses keep piling up it will look brutal by the time March is over!
So come on Pacers! Channel your inner Charlie Sheen! Be 'bi-winning' -- win here (at home) and win there (on the road)!!