Frank Vogel insists he’s more of a realist than an optimist.
The coach still sees potential in his Indiana Pacers despite a six-game losing streak and reiterated after Wednesday’s 103-96 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, “I have confidence that we can turn this thing around.”
The Pacers fell to 7-15, including 4-7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where last season’s Eastern Conference finalist was 35-6 at home.
“We’ve got to just keep grinding, keep evaluating, keep adjusting,” Vogel said.
Aside from adjusting to continual injuries, the Pacers have been unable to put together any consistency of late against some of the NBA’s better teams.
Vogel’s bench is playing at a significantly higher level than the starters, the reserves had a 66-30 edge against the Clippers, prompting him to consider yet another switch in who opens games.
“We have what it takes to turn it around,” he said. “We’re showing that with what the bench can do. We know what the starters can do. We’ve got to do it all at once.”
Center Roy Hibbert has averaged just 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the past four games after scoring just four points and grabbing three rebounds against the Clippers.
Forward David West missed 6-of-7 shots in a 2-point night. He had just eight points and four rebounds in Monday’s home loss to Atlanta.
“It’s not fun losing,” West said. “It’s not something that we’ve done over the last few years here. We’ve sort of been out ahead. We’re going to keep preparing, keep coming out and trying to figure out ways to win just one basketball game and get back on the winning side.”
Vogel could move guard-forward C.J. Miles back into the starting lineup, where he started the season but struggled to find his shot. A streak shooter, Miles has been hot lately. He scored a game-high 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-14 on 3-pointers, against the Clippers.
On Monday night, Miles heated up late with 15 fourth-quarter points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.
Forward Chris Copeland, who sometimes plays shooting guard, is also a streak shooter but he rarely hits half as many as he misses. He's made 8-of-29 shots (27.6 percent), including 5-of-18 3-pointers (27.7 percent) in the last four games.
The Pacers are at Toronto (16-6) Friday and return home to host Portland (17-5) Saturday.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.