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Players Believe They'll Respond To Adversity

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

March 7, 2011

Facing their first major adversity since the coaching change, Pacers players said they cleared the air Monday and are ready to respond heading into a vital matchup with Philadelphia Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

"I think we're OK," said Danny Granger. "You've got to expect sometimes you're going to have disagreements, people are going to argue. You've just got to control it and move on.

"Arguing doesn't necessarily mean you don't have leadership on a team. It means you have a difference of opinion. You play a long basketball season you're going to have differences of opinion. It's a matter of everybody getting on the same page and coming together to get wins.

" … It probably happens in every locker room at some point, you have players-only meetings to get things resolved. You don't want to overreact but we do have to get back on track."

After the Pacers were routed 112-95 in Houston on Saturday night, reporters in the hallway outside the locker room could hear voices being raised behind closed doors. After a day off at home on Sunday, the players met Monday morning.

"It's always a good thing to have conversations amongst each other," said Darren Collison. "Sometimes you need to clear the air and let each other know what their responsibilities are. It's nothing negative, it's positive and it's going to help us get better.

"We always have the right attitude. This team has done a good job with chemistry this year. We've just had a little slump and we have to look at some of the things we did wrong individually, we've got to look ourselves in the mirror and get back to work."

The Pacers started out 7-1 after interim coach Frank Vogel replaced Jim O'Brien on Jan. 30 but have dropped seven of 10 since. They're one game ahead of Charlotte in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East but trail seventh-place Philadelphia (32-30) by five games.

"One thing you can say about our guys is they do not like losing," said Vogel. "They are very much focused on making the playoffs and they're not satisfied losing three in a row. Guys are mad at how they played, mad at themselves. The chemistry is still very strong, they're just not happy we did not win at least one of those three games."

Even with their recent slump, the Pacers have maintained their playoff position. The challenge now is to strengthen it in the 20 games that remain in the regular season.

"We're a playoff team but we had a little bump in the road," said Roy Hibbert. "Every team goes through it and we're just going to have to deal with adversity."