Just because the Indiana Pacers are at the top of the Eastern Conference does not mean that team president is satisfied.
In taking a critical look at the Pacers, Bird told The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday that he sometimes sees a lack of aggressiveness from the players and coach Frank Vogel.
“A lot of times, we don’t take the fight to (the opponent),” Bird told The Star. “A lot of times, we sit back and wait and see how it goes. And that was the case even when we were winning a lot of games early in the season.
“We’ve got to be mentally prepared to really go after the teams we’re playing against. We can’t have the mindset it’s just another game; it’s a very important game. All of them are.”
Regarding Vogel, Bird said, “I’m sort of going to Frank’s side because he’s had so much success by staying positive. We do have to stay the course.
“But I also think he’s got to start going after guys when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. And stay on them, whether you’ve got to take them out of the game when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do or limit their minutes. I will say, he hasn’t done that enough.”
The Pacers (47-17) ended a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night with a 94-83 victory over the Boston Celtics. Center Andrew Bynum made his Indiana debut and contributed eight points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.
Bird is looking for more focus, particularly from the Pacers’ best players.
“I was around this in Boston all the time,” Bird told The Star. “I just laugh about it; it’s a new world for a lot of these kids. They’ve somehow got to block it out and stay focused. Sometimes, I think, they’re not 100 percent committed to their jobs.”
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