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|Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2016 07:11 pm||
|It's just seven games into the NBA season, but there's trouble brewing in the Hoosier State.
After surrendering 122 points in a blowout road loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night, the Indiana Pacers were left staring in the mirror, and their star player didn't much like what he saw.
"We're just not tied together," Paul George told reporters after the game, according to Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. "We're allowing the home teams to have the advantage of being home."
The Pacers got behind early and never made any kind of serious push. They took their last lead 90 seconds into the game. They allowed Charlotte to score 43 points in the first quarter, as many as any team has scored in any quarter so far this season. They couldn't keep the Hornets off the line, or out of the paint. They couldn't stop turning the ball over. They got their tails beat in almost every conceivable way.
"We're all out of whack," George said. "There's no trust, there's no chemistry, there's no belief. We're kind of just lifeless right now."
The Pacers have been one of the league's most confounding, Jekyll-and-Hyde outfits early this season. Their drubbing at the hands of the Hornets came on the heels of an impressive 17-point win over the Chicago Bulls, which itself followed an 18-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. They came into Monday's game ranked 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, after finishing third last season.
George may have a point about "allowing the home teams to have the advantage of being home," truism be damned. On home soil this season, the Pacers are 3-0, outscoring opponents by an average of 11 points per game. On the road they're now 0-4, with an average margin of defeat of 16.5.
Veteran forward Thaddeus Young knows his team needs to figure things out before the schedule gets even tougher on them.
"We obviously know we're better at home, but on the road we have to get some of these games," Young said. "The crazy thing is we haven't really played the toughest teams. When those teams come around, they're not going to play around with us."
Fortunately for the Pacers, nine of their next 11 games will be played in Indiana. But at some point, they'll need to find a cure for their homesickness.