The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

April 30, 2014

Lopresti: Pacers down to the last stand

This is what a last stand looks like.

David West sitting in an Indiana Pacers locker room, summing up the entire situation in five words.

“We’re fighting for our lives.”

George Hill hoping his stricken team can develop amnesia — “ Game 5? What Game 5?“ — and circle the wagons for Game 6.

“That’s the only game that matters. We can’t think about anything people are saying. We can’t think about the negative things. The only thing we can think about is how we can win Game 6.”

Frank Vogel sitting at a microphone, being badgered about possible lineup changes. C.J. Watson? Chris Copeland? Ian Mahinmi? “l’ll consider everything at this point,” Vogel said.

Think about where this has gone. The team that once started 46-13 and talked openly of a Miami Heat overthrow must now be saved by Chris Copeland and Ian Mahinmi?

They’re beleaguered, cornered, desperate, out of time, and a national mystery, coast to coast and across your television and radio dial. Reggie Miller said on a radio show he is shocked. Charles Barkley predicted on television they will be dismantled like a condemned building, barring an 11th-hour turnaround.

They’re being torched regularly by one Atlanta Hawk or another. One day, it’s Jeff Teague, another Paul Millsap. Monday, in a 107-97 loss, it was the second wave off the bench; Butler’s own Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott. They scored 37 points, or only five fewer than Paul George and David West.

Maybe if this series goes long enough, the Pacers will find a Hawks shooter they can guard.

The Indianapolis crowd could appreciate Mack, anyway, thinking back to the national championship night Butler could do nothing against Connecticut. Each time he buried a jumper, a fan behind press row bellowed out, “Where was that against UConn?”

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