Do you suppose all the Indiana Pacers want for Christmas is perfect health?
Considering how many injuries they have had to overcome this NBA season, head coach Frank Vogel would undoubtedly settle for just good health. Last season, 17 players on the roster missed a combined 69 games. This season, the Pacers surpassed that number in 14 games. It’s at 104 missed games and counting.
If making a Christmas wish list for the blue and gold, it would probably start with a speedy recovery for two-time All-Star Paul George, whose daily routine consists of rehabilitating two broken bones in his lower right leg as opposed to swishing jump shots at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
What else might be on that list? Let’s keep it simple. More baskets. The Pacers (10-19) have had trouble scoring without George. So we’re talking a higher shooting percentage, especially from 3-point range.
Santa Claus can throw in solid defense, especially against opposing point guards, who always seem to give the Pacers trouble, as well as relentless rebounding (especially from center Roy Hibbert).
Oh, and if possible, make Larry Bird happy by getting the team back in the playoffs. That’s been the modest goal from day one. That’s not asking too much, is it?
The Pacers were asked for their Christmas wishes after Tuesday night’s 96-84 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans. In the spirit of the season, here’s what forward David West, guard Rodney Stuckey, forward-center Shayne Whittington, Vogel (yeah, coach played along), forward-center Lavoy Allen (watch how he keeps a straight face when being funny) and guard-forward C.J. Miles had to say.
Merry Christmas, Pacers fans.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.