Indiana Pacers Dominate Detroit Pistons in Season Opener

The Indiana Pacers entered this shortened 2011-12 season expected to make noise in the Eastern Conference — very much unlike the Pacers teams of the last four years.

Apparently aware of such expectations, Indiana opened its slate with a bang.

The Pacers’ three top big men, center Roy Hibbert, forward Tyler Hansbrough and the newly signed forward David West, each recorded a double-double Monday in Indiana’s 91-79 dismantling of the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life (formerly Conseco) Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Pacers (1-0) led the entire game.

Granted, the Pistons (0-1) project as one of the NBA’s lesser teams this season, but it was a fine start for a Pacers squad that looks to build on last year’s breakthrough playoff appearance with an even higher standing in the East.

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Welcome Back, Indiana Pacers

Welcome back, NBA.

And welcome back, Indiana Pacers.

The early-morning agreement Nov. 26 between the league and the players’ union ensures the highest level of professional basketball will be played — albeit under a shortened schedule.

The great news for the Pacers — one of the NBA’s small-market franchises — is that this tentative collective bargaining agreement, which will give players roughly 51.2 percent of basketball-related revenue, will allow teams from any market to be competitive in free agency and, by extension, on the basketball court.

It’s been way too long, folks. Let’s get to examining what the Pacers can do before the condensed season commences and what kind of team they’ll be in 2011-12.

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Indiana Pacers Finally Hire Frank Vogel; Now What?

The Indiana Pacers finally made the long-expected hire of Frank Vogel as head coach official Wednesday.

Vogel and Pacers President Larry Bird addressed the media, each saying he felt good about the direction of the franchise going forward.

While I tend to agree — especially knowing that revered NBA assistant coach Brian Shaw will come aboard as Vogel’s associate head coach — I can’t help but question Bird’s motives in waiting this long, not to mention wonder what further complications the NBA lockout will beckon for this young Pacers team.

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Tyler Hansbrough Becoming Go-To Guy for Indiana Pacers?

Some guys really do play with chips on their shoulders.

That seems to be the case with Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough, who arguably has been the team’s most reliable player in terms of production during a recent 1-8 skid that left Indiana hanging on for dear life in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Hansbrough’s current season averages of 10.5 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game certainly aren’t indicative of how the former North Carolina standout has played recently. He recorded back-to-back career-high scoring nights in a home-and-home sweep of the New York Knicks, posting 29 points Sunday at Madison Square Garden and one-upping that tally with the first 30-point game of his pro career Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Surprised? Those who follow the Pacers regularly shouldn’t be.

By Drew Allen

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Are Indiana Pacers in Relapse?

Well, so much for the newfound optimism under Frank Vogel.

After starting 9-3 under the interim coach, the Indiana Pacers have lost seven of their last eight games, including five straight in which the team never realistically threatened for the win. Three of those defeats came by 17 or more points.

The most recent loss, a 101-75 thrashing Wednesday at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves (who at the time owned the worst record in the Western Conference), was arguably Indiana’s worst effort all season. Forward Danny Granger finished 2-of-19 with 10 points, and center Roy Hibbert didn’t score at all.

By Drew Allen

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What Failed O.J. Mayo Trade Means for Indiana Pacers

Who’s to blame?

Who is responsible for the no-go on a trade that would have sent Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Josh McRoberts and Indiana’s first-round pick?

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley blamed the Pacers, reportedly saying they took too much time trying to organize a concurrent deal that would have sent guard Brandon Rush to the New Orleans Hornets.

The Pacers argued that Memphis pulled out of the deal at the last minute.

Whoever is at fault, the deal didn’t get done.

By Drew Allen

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Indiana Pacers Fire Jim O’Brien; More Change on the Way?

The Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday midway through the fourth year of O’Brien’s contract and named assistant Frank Vogel interim coach for the rest of 2010-11.

O’Brien went 121-169 as Pacers coach and began this season 17-27 before being relieved of his duties.

The first thing to take away from Sunday’s news is that the Pacers are doing the right thing in parting ways with O’Brien. He wasn’t getting it done at a point in his contract when Indiana should be a solid playoff contender in a weak Eastern Conference. I’ll have more on that later, but O’Brien’s dismissal presents an opportunity for the Pacers to start fresh.

The question is, is it just the first one?

By Drew Allen

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Indiana Pacers Officially Name Frank Vogel Interim Coach


A few hours after the news broke about Head Coach Jim O’Brien’s firing, the Indiana Pacers organization called for a press conference with team president Larry Bird.

At this presser, the team announced that assistant coach Frank Vogel would be stepping in as the interim coach for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the news that we let Jimmy go today and we’re going to replace him with Frank Vogel. I want to thank Jimmy for his three-and-a-half years of service. He helped change the culture and he’s going to be missed. Hopefully we can move forward and win some ball games and get back in playoff contention,” said Bird.

By: Nick Grays

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Jim O’Brien Out As Indiana Pacers Coach


After three-plus seasons, the Indiana Pacers have decided to part ways with Jim O’Brien according to Pacers beat-writer and Indiana Star writer Mike Wells.

The Pacers have struggled to close games in the fourth quarter all season en route to a 17-27 record. O’Brien was a combined 121-169 in his tenure as Head Coach of the Pacers.

The decision comes after a 110-89 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night which marked the Pacers seventh loss in their last eight games.

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Blake Griffin Goes Off on the Pacers


A season-high, franchise-high, 2010-11 NBA league-high and just about any other high you want to mention is what Blake Griffin accomplished with his 47 points on Monday afternoon.

The so-called rookie (technically his second year because he didn’t play in 2009-10) also snatched 14 rebounds for his 27th consecutive double-double to rally his Los Angeles Clippers over the Indiana Pacers 114-107.

Griffin is just unstoppable with his all-around game consisting of dunks, hook-shots, jumpers and even three-pointers. I think it might be time to give him the nickname  “The  New Human Highlight Film.” Do you think Dominque Wilkens would mind?

By: Nick Grays

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Pacers Rookie Paul George Making Siginificant Contributions


For the third time in six games, Indiana Pacers rookie forward Paul George has reached double digit points.

Why is this important? Next to superstar Danny Granger’s 21 points per game, the Pacers (16-20) have struggled to score while averaging 96.9 points per game (22nd in the league). When the team does find production and eclipse the 100 point mark, they are 10-2.

George is by no means a scoring threat on this Pacers team, but he is an improving rookie who could emerge into one.  On Wednesday, George posted a career-high 16 points off the bench in a 102-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

By: Nick Grays

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Indiana Pacers, Right Behind the Bulls in the Central Division

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Yes, the standings are correct.

Despite a 97-95 loss Wednesday to the division rival Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, the Indiana Pacers find themselves in second place in the Central division with a 10-10 record just past the one-month mark of the 2010-11 NBA season.

Granted, the Pacers have been only slightly outside the neighborhood of a .500 team during coach Jim O’Brien’s tenure, but you get the feeling there’s something different about this squad.

By Drew Allen

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