With the Indiana Pacers running on fumes at exactly the wrong time of the year, Coach Frank Vogel is going with a rather unorthodox lineup tonight in Milwaukee.
He intends to sit all five starters.
“The starters are not going to play tonight, all five of them,” Vogel said (via Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star). “We’re going to rest them and try to heal up some various bumps and bruises involved with all five guys. We’re not playing well as a basketball team right now, our starters aren’t playing well, our bench is not playing well. We want to try to get the starters on track by getting their legs back under them and getting them healed up. We want to get the bench back on track by giving them extended minutes in tonight’s game.
“That’s the plan.”
So that’ll be Donald Sloan, Evan Turner, Rasual Butler, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi, according to Buckner, with C. J. Watson is back but playing limited minutes.
Vogel subbed all of his starters in the first quarter of the 107-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. The Pacers’ starting lineup has been on the court together for 1,431 minutes, far and away the most in the NBA. Consequently, George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert will take it easy.
The Pacers are a half-game behind the Miami Heat in the fight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the starters will all play against the Heat on Friday.
“We still have our sights on the No. 1 seed,” Vogel said, “but the most important thing for our team is fixing our team.”
Hibbert and West have looked tired and George’s effectiveness has decreased. Since March 1, Since March 1, the Pacers are 9-12 and are averaging 89.9 points a game, down 10 points a game, and the defense is allowing an average of 95 points a game.