The Pacers don’t care, and now, they’re done.

When they write the obituary on the 2015-2016 Indiana Pacers’ season (soon), it’ll read like an annual employee review under the “Employee Strengths” section where it says “shows up to work in uniform on time.”

That’s about all the Pacers have going for them after a Game 3 evisceration by the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, 101-85.

The Pacers are done — cooked, broiled, and picked clean — which is a shocking development after they looked so sharp in their Game 1 upset. Why has it happened? Simple.


The prevailing theory by this idiot was that the Raptors turned the effort button up a notch when they realized they got clipped in Game 1 and needed to respond with their backs against the wall. The Pacers were supposed to respond in kind after having the series evened.

But early on, the story of these Indiana Pacers manifested itself once again, one of talent but spotty effort. A shot in the waning moments of the fourth down 13 said it all, and neither team had to hoist a ball to view it: The camera panned to the Pacers’ bench, where multiple players were smiling and laughing.

Toronto had 26 more shot attempts than the Pacers, which is what happens when you get 15 offensive rebounds. Which are mostly about effort.

Early in the game, a loose ball caromed off the rim for the Raptors and three Pacers had a shot at it. Then, out of nowhere, a diving DeMar DeRozan laid out and tipped the ball to a teammate. At that point, it was probably over. The Pacers weren’t engaged, just as they haven’t been so often all season. It’s a wonder they even made the playoffs.

Piss-poor effort is an epidemic with the Pacers, and it starts from the top down. Frank Vogel hasn’t changed in his time with the franchise, continuing to be rigid with lineups. Ian Mahinmi could barely walk and certainly couldn’t play, but there was Vogel, keeping him in the game rather than giving a few minutes to Jordan Hill, a once free-agent coup.

Paul George has reverted to bad Paul George, the one content to argue with referees rather than get back on defense. There are too many turnovers. Zero boxing out. And have we mentioned pathetic effort?

Media folks love them some Vogel, but continually, this team seems to be assaulted by a lack of effort, a lack of caring, and a lack of even the mere acknowledgment of what players’ jobs should be. Some of it falls on Vogel, too… or should, eventually.

The bottom line on this team is that it comes out flat too often (the third straight game falling behind Toronto early); it doesn’t try very hard at anything; and players are mostly content with it.

“We need to see where our hearts are,” said Solomon Hill after the game. Assuming some of the guys on the team can find them.

George Hill was honest after the game and probably said it best in three little words:

“We weren’t there.”

That’s the story of this franchise all season, one that needs to be rewritten before tip-off next autumn, from the top on down. Luckily for the planners in the organization, they’ll have a shot to get started soon.