The Pacers are currently mired in a four-game skid that's seen them lose their top spot in the standings and made them look ordinary as teams have taken no mercy in recent blowouts. Indiana has been in a free-fall of late after maintaining what was easily the league's best defense through the first 60 games of the season; but during the current skid, the they've been dumped by more than 15 points per game, and Larry Bird isn't thrilled.
Here's what the team's president had to say to Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star:
"A lot of times, we don't take the fight to them (the opponent),'' Bird said Tuesday, before the Pacers played the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "A lot of times we sit back and wait and see how it goes. And that was the case even when we were winning a lot of games early in the season. We've got to be mentally prepared to really go after the teams we're playing again. We can't have the mindset it's just another game; it's a very important game. All of them are.''
Bird went on to say that he's "not mad," but rather "disappointed" in what's transpired over the least month or so. Indiana hasn't just lost four straight, it's currently 13-10 over the last 23 games, and problems have arisen on both sides of the ball (They're averaging 17.5 assists and 16.5 turnovers per game during this losing streak). Bird also expressed concern that the team might be distracted by all the publicity it's received, but that that's just something to which these young players must get accustomed.
Still, through all of this, the Pacers remain tied with the Heat atop the conference, and there don't appear to be locker room issues to make things messy. There is time to right the ship, but there isn't much room for further error in the process if Indiana wants to secure the top seed in the East.