Hurray! After years of hoping, Pacers fans have finally gotten what they’ve asked for. Head coach Jim O’Brien has been fired. Assistant coach Frank Vogel is expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season.
Perhaps the last game against Chicago was the last straw. After finally snapping a six-game losing streak against the lowly New Jersey Nets, the Pacers went into Chicago hoping to catch the Bulls by surprise. It was never going to be easy to get a win against the Bulls, but O’Brien made it almost impossible with his decisions. Josh McRoberts, who had 20 points and 8 rebounds, was the only guy keeping the Pacers in the game, and O’Brien inexplicably pulled him out with the game very much in reach and allowed the Bulls to run away with it (110-89).
Then, with the Pacers trying to make a final run, O’Brien gets called for a tech foul for chirping at the refs, even after the Pacers ended up with the ball. And then to cap off a disappointing game, O’Brien gets tossed for another tech with the game blown wide open.
And that really about sums up O’Brien’s performance as Pacers coach. A 121-169 record (0.417) over 3.5 years is simply not good enough, even with the lack of talent on this roster.
That said, O’Brien’s departure won’t instantly turn these Pacers around. If anything, they might struggle even more as they try and adapt to a new coach and a new system. But at least it gives fans some hope that things could be different.
It’s about time.