NBA: Pacers Risk Breakup of Team With Playoff Elimination

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In Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks on April 28, things got very ugly for the Indiana Pacers on their home court. The Pacers were mercilessly booed by the home crowd as they went down 3-2 with the first-round playoff series headed back to Atlanta. Aside from the humiliation of their giant collapse, the Pacers are playing to save the team in the coming days. Coach Frank Vogel and Lance Stephenson are among the key Pacer parts that could disappear should Indiana exit early from the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Win or go home, indeed.

Pacers unable to respond

During Game 5 of the Easter Conference quarterfinals between the Pacers and Hawks, several curious moments stand out. In the Pacers’ building, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack — not exactly a Who’s Who of the 2014 NBA — led a thrashing of Indiana while star Paul George was heckled by Bankers Life Fieldhouse fans. Both events were unthinkable just a few months ago, but the Pacers’ inability to respond to the Hawks’ advances has put them in a tough position. The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, once considered a strong championship contender, ┬áis about to lose to a team with a losing record that barely got the eighth seed.

Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and the rest of the TNT NBA team weighed in on the Pacers’ epic collapse. Before Barkley predicted the Pacers would be broken up if they are eliminated by Atlanta, Smith noted how many problems Indiana Coach Frank Vogel faced. For one, starting center Roy Hibbert appears incapable of playing (0 points, 0 rebounds in Game 5.) For another, the big-man strategy was being obliterated by Atlanta’s three-point shooting.

Though Smith faulted the strategy, he reprised the old line that goes, “You can’t coach effort.”

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