The Balance to be part of the new YAHOO SPORTS INDIANA

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The Balance is so excited to be a part of the new YAHOO SPORTS

We will debut Saturday May 2nd 2015 1-3 p.m.

Yahoo Sports Indiana will run an encore show of our LIVE show that airs every Saturday 9-11 A.M

Check them out at http://www.indianasportsradio.com/

Spurs End Pacers Streak

ROY

The Pacers just fell short of spoiling Indiana native Greg Popovich of his 1,000th NBA win. The game was close most of the way through, then in the third, the Pacers went for a 34 point quarter and held a significant lead till later in the 4th. Even though the Pacers played very well, they were missing something. It was their superstar, Paul George.

Down the stretch the Pacers had a difficult time scoring in crunch time, and standing up defensively to San Antonio. In the end Kawhi Leonard made a game winning play, driving right past David West, dishing it to sharpshooter Bellinelli. Who stepped past a quick to challenge Rodney Stuckey, then drilled the jumper to give them the lead.

George Hill (the Pacers recent savior) got the last shot, and just missed on an open three.

The Pacers had a nice little 3 game streak and showed that they can compete still, with the help of hometown hero George Hill. But with the absence of Paul George, they really wont be able to keep consistent and reach for a decent playoff seed.

I see the Pacers making a run at the playoffs, with the possibility of reaching the 8th seed. But is it best for them? No.

Sure they’ve shown a spark we haven’t seen since the win over Miami on the road many weeks ago, but the problem is consistent play and health. The Pacers haven’t gone a game without someone being sidelined with injury. Right now its Pacers center Ian Mahinmi. Who has been dearly missed off the bench and it shows. For instance tonight Shayne Whittington had trouble guarding Boris Diaw and Aaron Baynes, who Ian easily could’ve handled tonight.

As a fan of course I want the Pacers to win; but the Pacers also need to think about the future, and surrounding Paul George with better players. This would entail aquiring a better draft pick, and considering the Pacers don’t exactly posses a lot of high value assets to trade; they need to lose.

As much as Larry Bird wants the Pacers to win, he also wants first round draft picks. He understands and knows they need to get younger, and he will do exactly that in these coming weeks.

The Pacers will be facing off against the New Orleans Pelicans this Wednesday at the Smoothie King Center. Its always nice to see how the Hibbert Vs. Davis block party pans out. Should be a solid game, from two teams in similar situations.

George Hill the Key for Pacers

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Last night the Pacers pulled off a very impressive win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although it was a fantastic team effort on both ends, George Hill was the reason they won. Late in the game with the Pacers down 92-94, Hill came off a Hibbert screen, was held by Kyrie Irving on one hand, the other he threw up a wild 3 to give Indiana the lead. Later on he had a steal in crunch time and made 2 free throws to ice the game.

Hill finished with 20 points and 7 assists. Some help the Pacers could use every night. Hill brings something the other Pacers point guards just don’t have; defense and length. Even though he’s not technically a true point guard and isn’t a traditional assist-man; he still moves the ball enough to keep the offense flowing and 3’s going.

Larry Bird has the expectations that this team will make the playoffs. Even though the Pacers sit at 19-32, with players returning from injury and the team jelling together; a possible run makes sense. If the Pacers don’t make the playoffs, they’ll get a solid lottery pick, which would be more ideal; but nonetheless Kevin Pritchard and Larry Bird want to win.

Although something tells me the Pacers will need some more help if they really want to make a push. They’ll need some sort of trade or a possible late return of Paul George to push them through to the other side.

Tonight the Pacers will face off against a Charlotte team that has finally hit its stride after a rough start. They’ll yet again need another strong game from George Hill to start a streak. This will be a true test on the road, to gauge if this Pacers team really has what it takes to make a playoff run.

Larry Bird Wants Pacers to Win Now

LARRY

Larry Bird spoke to the media recently, answering any questions pertaining to the Indiana Pacer. The 3 biggest questions being the state of Paul George and his recovery, the Pacers struggles sitting at 17-32 and of course the upcoming trade deadline.

Its been discussed that Paul George’s recovery has been far quicker than expected and if cleared Larry Bird stated “We wont hold him back”. So a Paul George return this season is very possible, and could happen. Yet I think it is best to wait it out till next season to make sure he’s 100%, its likely Paul will return considering his competitive spirit.

The Pacers this season have been easily the most banged up team in basketball, and it shows in the record. They have performed a little under par than expected but the record isn’t surprising. When Solomon Hill and Donald Sloan are caring a team each game, naturally this is expected. Larry Bird thinks they can turn it around, and wants to win now. This wont happen, but for the better. With a practically empty roster next season, Paul George returning, and a first round draft pick; its better the Pacers lose. Bird of course is quite possibly one of the most competitive human beings in history, so yeah its not surprising.

When asked about the trade deadline and any looming deals Larry responded “We’re always looking to improve the team, there’s a lot of improvements that needs to be done”. He is absolutely correct. Indiana has struggled to score the ball, more than most in the league and are shooting the ball at an alarmingly low rate (43%). My expectation would be to trade veterans to contenders for draft picks, but Bird might have other things in mind; with the ‘win now’ attitude. The Pacers pose intriguing veterans for teams in need of bench players like David West, Luis Scola, and possibly Roy Hibbert who is a somewhat coveted rim protector. So Bird will look to shake things up, but always thinking of the teams best interest.

The Pacers front office of Larry Bird, Kevin Pritchard, and Donnie Nelson could go two directions; focus on winning today, or tomorrow. The Pacers are in a surprisingly good situation. Yes they are the 6th worst team in basketball right now, but they’ve got a returning superstar, a lot of cap room next season, and could have a shot at a better first round pick. If they decide to lose this year, they’re in better shape next season to shape a younger roster with a higher first round pick. If they decide to try and win this season, they risk getting out of the draft lottery, yet could make Indy a more intriguing market for offseason free agents, and also would be open to a bigger trade.

Either way the front office will make a decision that is absolutely best for the Indiana Pacers, and will surround Paul George with talent for years to come.

Time for Pacers to Prepare for 2016

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The Indiana Pacers have been in struggles all season long, in terms of injuries, chemistry, and rotations. They just don’t seem to catch fire for long. They’ve got an old team, full of veterans and a few young players here and there. Without Paul George you can see a large void that no one could possible come close to filling.

What happens is the Pacers will play very well in a game. They’ll have a solid lead, but cant seem to carry it into the 4th quarter. The gap here is star power, with no Paul George they don’t have a go-to-guy who will plunge the dagger in the other teams heart. They don’t have a guy who will go off and change the game from an individual standpoint, and it shows.

The recent games agaisnt the Lakers and Warriors; both Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry had great games against them, and in both games they had solid 10 point leads until about the 4th quarter. With no go-to-guy the Pacers are a mess, on offense and defense. They’ve got no one to slow down the star players and they cant find a rythmn on offense because no one will step up and be ‘the guy’ on the 4th. Without Paul George the Pacers cant keep a consistent winning record, they might go .500, but they will not rise far above.

In light of all the recent trades, and blockbuster deals, Larry Bird should and probably is looking for a way to trade veterans like David West and Luis Scola to teams who need veteran bench players. The Cavs would be a candidate, and possibly the Suns; who are playing well but just need extra boosts off the bench.

What Indianapolis really needs to do, is build a team for next season. Trade the veterans, so that the teams record falls, and then find a guy in the draft who can go with Paul George. The Pacers need a lottery pick this year. Paul George needs his wingman, he needs his Scottie Pippen (not that he’s MJ, but you get my point).

The Pacers should look a lot different next season. They’ll have a lot of money to spend and will likely add some new young players to the roster. 2015 has been an ugly nightmare from which the Pacers fans cant wake up from. Its time to move on, 2016 is bright.

George Hill Will be Answer for Pacers

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The Pacers have been easily, the most injured team in the NBA this season. Amoung all those injuries was George Hill. He was injured during the pre-season with a quad strain, which turned out to be a tear. Now he has returned, and been a huge help the Pacers ailing, and lethargic offense.

In his return he has averaged 14.2 points, and 4.0 rebounds per game. Now those aren’t all-star numbers, but the are serviceable for a slow offensive team like the Pacers.

Many do not realize, Hill actually played shooting guard in college, when he attended IUPUI. When he arrived in the NBA he was moved to point guard by Gregg Popovich, due to his size and ball handling skills. Since then he has been criticized, by many Indy fans for his lack of the ability to distribute the basketball (assist).

You must realize George Hill was brought in for scoring purposes, and to stretch the floor with his shooting. He has done exactly that, and has often times, been the true home town hero scoring the ball.

Hill has and will give the Pacers a big boost on offense. Which is exactly what they needed. Recently he had his best game of the season scoring 20 against Miami at home on New Years eve. He also has provided a couple much needed highlight dunks to add into this seasons highlight reel.

George Hill miss tonight’s game at Milwaukee, due to soreness in his left groin. He should return soon, and is listed as day-to-day.

New Year, New Pacers

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On New Years Eve, the Indiana Pacers pulled off a very impressive win against a recently healthy Miami Heat. The game seemed to start slow for the Pacers on offense, as usual; but defense was a different story.

The Pacers have developed a great work ethic and hard-as-nails mindset on defense. Going after every loos ball, stepping in every passing lane and played tenacious defense regardless of the opponent. The past 2 games the Pacers have played so well, against the Bulls and the Heat.

They both had different outcomes, however the Pacers showed the same enthusiasm. Sadly, that does not win you NBA games. First you’ve got to work hard, then you’ve got to execute, and finally it comes down to talent. Without Paul George, the Pacers are short a superstar, leaving them to fall short to their opponents.

The Pacers are really playing a lot better than expected with George. With a not a lot of young talent, and a quite a few older veterans. Why is that? Frank Vogel, and defense. Vogel seems to love these situations, where he is challenged to change and conform to the players he has an adjust. Which is a sign of a great coach. Although the Pacers sit at 12-21, most of those losses came late in the 4th quarter.

The difference between a great Pacers team and a somewhat average team, is Paul George; and until they get him back their isn’t a whole lot they can do. But they can do this; play with nothing to lose. If they play no pressure, they play insipred, they play tougher, and they play harder.

This fresh 2015, the Pacers will find a new jell, they’ll find a different rhythm. One that can make then successful without Paul George.

They have what it takes to become a playoff team, now not a contender or even a top 5 seed’; but if they can stay healthy and find a groove. This team will have a different year, and put a very poor 2014 behind them.

Still for the Pacers?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers

9-19. The worst start the Pacers have had in a long while. A barrage of injures, trade rumors, and inconsistent lineups. The 2014 season has not been one of beauty. But there is still hope in Indianapolis.

The Pacers roster, when you look at it; looks like a playoff squad. Now without Paul George, that’s a big hit. For Pacers fans, its been a very odd season. They’ve had many ups ad downs; and after starting 7-10 with wins against Dallas, Miami and Chicago; things were looking up. What happened?

When the other half of the roster returned from injuries. It became a bit of a struggle for Frank Vogel. Who should keep there minutes? Where do the new guys fit in? Who needs reduced time? Many questions were raises, and you couldn’t help but think trouble was stirring.

The Pacers haven’t found that rhythm or lineup that fits, but they are looking. Interestingly enough, almost every Pacers has played somewhat consistently, besides rookie Shayne Whittington. Although that has become an issue, not everyone can play. Frank has got to make some decisions on rotations and starting lineups.

My Opinion on Rotation:

PG: Watson SG: CJ Miles SF: Solomon Hill PF: David West C: Roy Hibbert

PG: Donald Sloan SG: Rodney Stuckey SF: Chris Copeland PF: Dam0 Rudez C: Lavoy Allen

Injuries: George Hill (day to day) Ian Mahinmi (6-8 weeks)

If the Pacers can find a lineup and rythm, by the all star break. Theyve got a shot at the playoffs. If not, Larry Bird needs to make some decisions on the future of this teams; and maybe consider some trades, and make some moves for 2016.

Stephenson Back to Indiana?

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Practically all week long, you’ve heard numerous rumors from an plethora of sources that the struggling Lance Stephenson, could possibly return to home in a trade.

Although this is mostly talk, and the 2 teams haven’t been in serious talks. It could still  be possible. Lance has struggled dearly all season, averaging 10.3 points per game, and shooting an atrocious 7-27 from 3.  The Hornets naturally want to quickly dispose of their at first, exciting offseason acquisition.

Well you might ask; would it be the right thing for the Pacers? To be honest, no. Lance caused to many chemistry issues, and was ultimately more of a problem than an asset. Of course he put up great numbers, but that can be deceiving.

He is seen as a solid passer, and averaged nearly 5 assist a season ago; but those assists lie. They deceive, letting you think he isn’t selfish, and helps the team. The only circumstance Lance would pass is, a sure fire score (more assists for him).

With Lance gone, the void has been filled  by Rodney Stucket and C.J. Miles who have been doing a fine job. And when George Hill was asked about the possibility of Stephenson’s he stated, “We have a lot of guys filling the void…so i think it would be unfair to them”.

Now of course the NBA isn’t about fairness, but feel free to read between the lines on the quote. George Hill, most likely thinks they’re better off without him.

Frank Vogel had a similar thought when questioned “I dont have any comments on that… I love the togetherness we’re building”. Its almost blatantly obvious that Vogel, thinks that the team has built a better chemistry without him around. So the likeliness of this trade, slips a little, yet still doesn’t make it impossible.

On paper this would make sense. Say trading David West and Rodney Stuckey for Lance and maybe a younger power forward such as Cody Zeller or Noah Vonleh; that makes sense for the future. But Larry Bird seems very imminent on getting a first round pick in the deal, and wont likely wont even discus a trade unless one is included.

Everyone in this organization believes in the current roster, and it coaching staff. Despite the 8-17 record. So don’t expect a Lance trade, unless a first round pick is involved.

May I remind you that Lance left Indiana, and Larry Bird; the man who groomed him, for a smaller contract and a worse team. Maybe he needs to pay the price.

 

C.J. Miles Finding Rhythm

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Offseason acquisition C.J. Miles has struggled early in the years for the Pacers, and has been sidelined with too many injures to name. But recently he’s lead the Pacers, when we needed it most.

In the past 5 games, C.J. has caught fire. In December hes averaging 14 points, and shooting 44% from the field. Now that may not seem like great numbers, but compared to the struggles he had early on, this is a huge improvement.

Miles was signed by Bird this past year, to bring a bigger and more consistent burst to the bench, and hes done exactly that. Stretching the floor for West and Hibbert, and providig a go to guy off the bench.

Last Night in a rout against the Lakers, he scored 20 points off the bench and shot 50% from the field. If he keeps this consistency and number sup, he likely deserves to be in the starting lineup. Which seems like a no brainer with the way the starters have been playing recently.

Indiana just came off an 8 game losing streak, and finally found rhythm last night, destroying the struggling Lakers, 110-91. If they want to dig themselves out of this 8-17 hole, Miles is the key.

C.J. should likely start at small forward in the coming weeks, and with the struggles of bigs West and Hibbert; he needs to be the x-factor and the scoring leader.

The Pacers will face the Los Angeles Clippers this Wednesday, who Miles dropped 30 points on last week. They’ll need that kind of boost from him this coming week, as they go on a tough West Coast Road trip. Starting in LA and ending in Minnesota.