The obvious problem with the Indiana Pacers this season has been injuries.
Head coach Frank Vogel has acknowledged from time to time that his team has had a smaller margin for error, especially against stronger NBA teams. That was to be expected with the Pacers missing two-time All-Star Paul George for the season and well as point guard George Hill for extended stretches.
But Vogel mentioned some glaring concerns after Tuesday’s 104-91 home loss to the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Raptors (30-15) received a boost from a bench that played with more energy than the Pacers (16-31). Toronto’s reserves had a 42-25 scoring edge.
The Pacers continually passed up open shots and made an extra, and usually unnecessary, pass when trying to get better looks at the basket. It didn’t matter that Vogel continually chided his players throughout the game to take advantage of their opportunities.
And Vogel referred to that “hesitancy” on offensive and defensive ends, particularly after the Raptors went on a 20-0 run in the second quarter.
While the coach has remained steadfast in the belief that his team can overcome its injuries — reserve C.J. Miles is the latest to miss multiple games — it’s disconcerting to say the least that the Pacers, at this juncture of the season, are being hesitant.
That’s how losing teams continue to fall to better teams. And the Pacers have lost their share of games lately to teams with losing records, too.
Here’s what Vogel had to say after Tuesday’s game.
The Pacers host the New York Knicks (9-37) Thursday night.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.