Clippers vs. Pacers

Chris Paul scores 17 points and delivers 15 dimes, DeAndre Jordan grabs a season-high 19 rebounds, helping the Clippers hold off the Pacers 103-96.

Postgame 141210

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Clippers vs. Pacers

Chris Paul scores 17 points and delivers 15 dimes, DeAndre Jordan grabs a season-high 19 rebounds, helping the Clippers hold off the Pacers 103-96.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

Postgame Exchange: Clippers Hold Off Pacers

December 10, 2014 - Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss and Greg Rappaport break down the Pacers' 103-96 loss to the Clippers with insight from the locker room.
Dec 10, 2014  |  01:42

Postgame: Pacers-Clippers Wrap Up 141210

Pacers.com's Larra Overton wraps up the Pacers 103-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 10, 2014  |  02:08

Postgame: Frank Vogel 141210

December 10, 2014 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel talks to media after Indiana's 103-96 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night.
Dec 10, 2014  |  04:30

Postgame: Clippers Locker Room 141210

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and Chris Paul all talk about their victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 10, 2014  |  01:17

Miles Drops 30

C.J. Miles scores 30 points, including seven triples in the Pacers loss to the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

Pacers on the Break

On the fast break C.J. Miles finds Lavoy Allen for the easy two.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

Watson's Fancy Find

C.J. Watson passes behind his back to C.J. Miles who drills the trey.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

C.J. to the Cup

Luis Scola forces the turnover and C.J. Miles takes it straight to the cup for the deuce.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

Miles from Deep

C.J. Watson finds C.J. Miles who drains the 3-pointer.
Dec 10, 2014  |  00:00

Colts' Robert Mathis at Pacers-Clippers Game

Indianapolis Colts' Robert Mathis sits court-side at Wednesday night's Indiana Pacers game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dec 10, 2014  |  01:16

Colts' Pat McAfee at Pacers-Clippers Game

Indianapolis Colts' Pat McAfee sits court-side at Wednesday night's Indiana Pacers game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dec 10, 2014  |  02:13

Vogel Ready to Make Changes

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Frank Vogel has a reputation for being stubborn. Or, put another way, for maintaining faith in struggling players.    

The time has come, it appears, to let go of a losing hand. The Pacers' 103-96 loss to the Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday continued the theme that has prevailed throughout their six-game losing streak. The starters dug a hole, then the reserves tried valiantly to climb out of it, but fell short.

Vogel had said following Monday's loss to Atlanta that he probably wouldn't alter his starting lineup, and didn't. But he's clearly open to making alterations now.

“It either has to change or we have to use it differently to make it succeed,” he said. “Something's got to change to get off to better starts.”

The Pacers ranked 28th in the NBA in first-quarter scoring entering Wednesday's game, while a group often dominated by reserves ranked second in fourth-quarter scoring. Nothing changed against Los Angeles, which won its ninth consecutive game. It opened a 15-point lead 8 1/2 minutes into the game, but a Pacers lineup that included four bench players got it down to eight by the end of the period.

A reserve-laden lineup outscored the Clippers in the second quarter to get the Pacers within five at halftime, but the starters were dominated again to start the second half. The deficit grew to 20 late in the third period and was 17 entering the fourth.

Vogel went almost exclusively with his reserves in the fourth quarter. Roy Hibbert and David West didn't play at all. Solomon Hill played 52 seconds. Chris Copeland played 23 seconds. Rodney Stuckey got in for 4 minutes, 44 seconds. None of them scored. The backups, though, sliced and diced the lead down to two points with two minutes left, but Jamal Crawford hit a leaning-left jumper after running off a screen to make it a four-point game. C.J. Miles then missed a three-pointer, and the Pacers soon ran out of time.

Clearly, the starting lineup is out of sync. That's no small wonder given all the injury-induced changes this season, and the resulting lack of familiarity, but it goes beyond that. Plays sometimes aren't run correctly, and just finding a good shot can be an adventure. The defensive mindset that was the foundation of the success of the previous two seasons isn't there, either.

“Our chemistry is not very good with that group,” West said. “We have to work on it. Thank God for those second unit guys keeping these games close, because we haven't been able to start the games well. We get down and put the team in a bad way. And it's not just shot-making, it's everything. Defensively (we're) out of sync and ultimately that affects the offense – you almost have to make every shot.”

Which they don't do. The starters hit 11-of-38 shots Wednesday, the reserves 24-of-51.

Nobody is calling anyone out by name, but when one reporter suggested to West that perhaps three starters – Stuckey, Hill and Copeland – were playing out of position, he didn't argue.

“That's a good observation,” he said.

West, who missed 15 games to start the season with a sprained ankle, said he has no physical problems, but isn't “in a good rhythm.” It showed, as he hit just 1-of-7 shots and failed to get to the foul line. Hibbert, who wasn't available in the locker room afterward, played just 12 minutes because of early foul trouble and the reserves' superior play. He took just four field goal attempts, hit two of them – a nine-foot jump hook and a 19-foot jumper – and failed to get to the foul line.

“I've got to play better,” West said. “We've got to figure out ways to get Roy involved and use him around the basket. Figure a way to be more productive to start these games.”

Fortunately for the Pacers, C.J. Miles is around to remind everyone that struggling players can regain their form. After scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss to Atlanta, he scored 30 in this one – as many as the five starters combined. He hit 7-of-14 three-pointers, and while he forced a few, he at least shot with confidence and accuracy. He appears to be all the way back from early in the season, when migraines and other issues had him in a miserable shooting slump.

“The last couple of games I've been able to see some go in and you start to feel better and better and you start to see the game the right way,” he said. “You stop concentrating so hard, like, 'Man, I've got to figure it out,' when it's the same game I've been playing for 10 years now.”

The backup frontline players shined as well. Lavoy Allen scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Luis Scola had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Overall, the Pacers' bench outscored the Clippers' reserves, 66-30, further muddling the lineup options.

Vogel isn't giving up on anyone. He believes West and Hibbert are lacking synergy rather than energy, the result of being surrounded by three different starters than the past two seasons, and that the talent is adequate to win games. Still, he's not opposed to making changes. Yes, he's stuck with players in the past, but not when the losses are piling up.

“Maybe I get criticism for being stubborn with the rotations, but the rotations I was being stubborn with were working at a very high level,” he said. “We were the best team in the East all year last year. When you're 7-15 you have to be more flexible. If we find something that works, we'll stick with that.

“When we find something that works.”


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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