May 26, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel reacts with Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) for a call against the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome Back the Mid-March Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are done. After last night’s embarrassing performance in Miami, it’s painfully clear that the Pacers are ready for a vacation. This team spent the entire season making noise about having home court advantage and beating the Heat in May. By game two, they had lost it and in game four failed to show up for the game. Last night, the Pacers reverted back to a team fans became very frustrated with through February, March and April. A team that finished the regular season 19-21 and had forgotten the basics of basketball. Roy Hibbert was invisible once again, something that hasn’t happened since game one of the Washington series. The Heat played small all night, with Chris Andersen out of the game, and Hibbert was never able to make an impact. He also only took four shots, which tells you that the Pacers never got him the ball in a position to score. Early in the game, David West was the only player who was out on the court trying to come away with the win. West finished with a double-double and even tried to get his teammates involved, but to no avail. In the offseason, Paul George needs to work on his passing. Five turnovers last night and all of them seemed to be off lazy passes. He’s had far too many turnovers off telegraphed or just lazy passes this postseason and the Pacers won’t win another game unless he plays with more of an edge. The Pacers could have taken control in this game as they headed to the break on a 5-0 run, but decided to come out of the halftime break flat. Look no further than George’s soft pass that was picked off and started 7-0 Heat run, effectively ending the game. Many are blasting coach Frank Vogel for not making adjustments, but he can’t be held responsible for the horrid effort by his starting five. Vogel has made his fair share of mistakes over the past few months, but he isn’t on the court trying to his jumpers. The one move Vogel should have made, that he didn’t, was shifting West over to Chris Bosh who finally showed up for the series. Hibbert isn’t effective guarding a stretch big, but West is and by not making the change it allowed Bosh to pick the Pacers apart en route to 25 points. Lance Stephenson needs to start backing up his mouth. He called out LeBron James and then proceeded to take himself out of the game in the first half with foul trouble. He finished with just nine points and generally looked disinterested in the game. Somehow, Stephenson keeps falling for Dwyane Wade‘s pump fakes which at this point in his career is Wade’s favorite move. While I don’t like complaining about officiating, it is getting very annoying. The Pacers did themselves no favors on the court last night and really didn’t deserve calls, but 34-17 free throw attempt advantage for the Heat is ridiculous. The game didn’t seem poorly officiated, just randomly officiated. There was zero consistency in the calls made last night. Wade gets mildly bumped and its a foul. C.J. Watson is mugged and nearly pushed out of bounds by two players and its a no-call. This is the playoffs and touch fouls shouldn’t be called. I don’t think there is a conspiracy in the NBA with regards to officiating. What the NBA needs to do is make the officiating better. Pay the officials more and have them train in the offseason. Get a better rating system for the officials as well and make it clear to them that the game is about the players and not the guys with the whistles. The Pacers have to win this next game at home. Losing the series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse would be embarrassing, but there is no way this team will win three straight against the Heat. I’m about ready for this season to be over. They’ve taken fans on a roller coaster ride this season and, quite frankly, are no longer fun to watch.

Tags: David West Frank Vogel Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson Paul George Roy Hibbert

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