Not long ago, the Pacers could have been mounting a Coach of the Year campaign on behalf of Frank Vogel.
Instead, they didn’t sound entirely pleased with his performance. Pacers president Larry Bird, via Bob Kravitz of IndyStar:
“A lot of times, we don’t take the fight to them (the opponent),” Bird said Tuesday, before the Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Boston Celtics 94-83 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.”
And that was before the Pacers went through a 9-9 stretch (ongoing) marred by disarray.What does Bird think of Vogel now?
Bird, in an interview with Dave Furst of RTV6:
I back Frank 100 percent. There was some things early on this season, like I said, I went to him and told him that we needed to clean everything up.
Admittedly, I was intrigued by the idea of Bird replacing Vogel on the bench this late in the season. I didn’t necessarily think it would help – I believe Vogel is a good coach, and there would be an adjustment period for Bird – but it sure would have made for compelling theater.
Now, it’s too late for a change. The Pacers will almost certainly stick with Vogel, so what else is Bird supposed to say at this point?
Really, I’m interested to see whether he sticks with 100 percent if the Pacers don’t reach the NBA Finals.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.