Indiana Pacers Fading Fast: News and Notes From This Weekend's Games

No NameAnalyst IJanuary 9, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 11:  Jamal Crawford #25 of the Atlanta Hawks against Danny Granger #33 and Brandon Rush #25 of the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena on December 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two more games, two more losses for the Indiana Pacers.

The San Antonio Spurs came to town Friday night on a two-game losing streak. The Pacers had them on the ropes in the second half. They held an 11-point lead at one point during the fourth quarter, only to lose the game.

Indiana went 1-of-16 from the field in the fourth quarter. Let me say that again. They only made one shot in the entire quarter.

Tyler Hansbrough got the start on Friday night at PF and didn't disappoint. He finished the game with 23 points and 12 rebounds in the home loss. His play from that game earned him another start the following night against the Atlanta Hawks.

Unfortunately for Tyler, and the rest of the Pacers, they weren't prepared for Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, and got lit up in yet another loss. Nothing really stood out looking at the box score, but just by watching the game for a few minutes without looking at the score, you knew who was controlling the game.

The loss dropped the Pacers to 14-20, and was their sixth loss in the last seven games. The lone win came at home against the Washington Wizards.

The rotation has seen quite a makeover in the last week or so. Many fans thought that coach Jim O'Brien was going to start using a smaller lineup, moving Danny Granger to the PF spot.

This was supposed to help with the offense by giving it more scorers on the floor. The depth the Pacers have with wing players is much greater than what they have with their big men.

O'Brien ultimately decided not to go with the smaller lineup, giving Hansbrough a couple of starts, and a few other guys some minutes. Whether this was just because of matchups or strategy, we will find out in the coming days.

In their 34 games so far this season, the Pacers have scored over 100 points in just eight of them.

The team seems to be reverting back to the Pacer teams of the past few years. The players on the floor are mostly new, and/or better, yet they continue to struggle. After getting off to a nice start earlier in the season, they have hit the bottom.

Indiana will head to Philadelphia to take on an improved 76ers team on Tuesday night. After that, things could get very ugly for this team. They have two home games this week, against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

After that, they will have a rough west coast trip where they will face the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets. Then they get to come home, to face the red-hot Orlando Magic.

Things are going to get tough, and with the trade deadline coming up next month, the Pacers will most likely be in some discussions with all of their expiring contracts and young players. has already reported that the team is willing to listen to offers for Granger. The Pacers have not listened to any offers for Granger since they drafted him, but many are starting to realize that he is not the franchise player for this team.

Some people might be surprised, but center Roy Hibbert is the real face of this franchise moving forward.

Indiana is going to try to move guys like T.J. Ford, Mike Dunleavy and James Posey. If it can have its pick, it would love to find itself a quality PF somewhere. If it is unable to make a move, it might just play the season out and see what it can do in free agency at season's end.

The Pacers are looking like the same old team more and more with each loss, and something is going to need to change soon. Whether they do something before the trade deadline, or revamp things after the season by saying goodbye to O'Brien, fans will welcome the new change.