The feeling of victory for the Indiana Pacers was short lived.
Heading into the all-star break, Nate Bjorkgren’s team is now 16-19 and have dropped six of their last eight contests.
Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was no exception. Indiana ran into familiar problems early on; Inconsistency in their energy. They fell 113-103.
Denver started the game on a 13-2 run and Bjorkgren was forced to take an early timeout to settle things down. The Pacers fired back to keep it close heading into halftime, but the Nuggets continued to bring it all night.
“Our problem the last few games is we’re playing hard in stretches but we need to put together the right amount of stops for a complete game,” Myles Turner said. “There are some games we’d like to have back. That happens every season, but especially here in the first half.”
The biggest disappointment in what Myles said is that the potential of this team has not been met. Sure, trading Victor Oladipo has something to do with them taking a step back. Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren still aren’t available.
But at some point you need to look in the mirror and say we can’t be falling back on getting players back from IR right?
The guys you have right now are the guys you have. And there won’t be time for anymore growing pains when the second half gets started. A road back-to-back in LA facing the Lakers and then at Phoenix awaits them on March 12th and 13th. Then another matchup with the Nuggets in Colorado on the 15th.
There indeed may be some good news on the horizon though.
But back to tonight.
The Nuggets shot 42 percent from three-point land and Nikola Jokic continued to do Nikola Jokic things. The MVP candidate dropped his fifth straight double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. He missed a triple-double by just two assists.
Both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner finished with double-doubles as well. But the Pacers could not prevail. The heroics of T. J. McConnell from Wednesday night in Cleveland also would have been pretty tough to repeat.
First half is done though. No time to look back; And if you do, the NBA really catches up to you.
“With how things are going the break is good,” Bjorkgren said in his postgame presser. “It’s time to get mentally and physically refreshed. But at the same time the guys need to keep their bodies right because we’re back at it in a week or so. The guys will be ready.”
LeVert would add so much to a struggling Pacers offense. Again, when you take out Oladipo, that’s a major hole to fill.
Bjorkgren is right as well that getting mentally refreshed may be just as important as physically at this point. It’s been a long half.
Time to rest up and bounce back.