The Pacers returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday night for the first time after the All-Star break with a renewed focus. The team has just 30 games left in the season; 13 at home and 17 on the road before the NBA Playoffs begin.
Frank Vogel’s message to his squad was simple.
“Re-establish the focus we started our season with,” said Vogel. “We started off 9-0 and went 16-1, and that kind of sacrificing mentality and focusing in on the details, and being on a mission again.”
Most of the team was able to get away from basketball for a few days, but that was not the case for Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Vogel and his staff. The group spent the weekend in New Orleans for this season’s All-Star festivities and return with virtually no rest. However, George told us they’re ready for the second half of the season.
“Sunday night after the game was over, me and Roy’s main focus was, how can we get better and how can we come into the second half of the season playing at a high level,” said George. “At the end of the day, we got somewhere where we gonna get to. We got a long journey, but it starts one game at a time from here out.”
In other news, Andrew Bynum was out on the floor for his first practice Monday night. He told us he did everything, but live action. Coach Vogel still has no timetable for Bynum seeing game-time action; he said it depends on how he’s coming along. Bynum has been working with the training staff on strength and conditioning exercises and added he’s getting much more comfortable with his new team.
“It’s kind of easy to fit in, just show up, hard work, do your job,” said Bynum. “I’m just waiting for an opportunity to play.”