Frank Vogel to rest key Pacers

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Indiana Pacers haven't conceded the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed to the Miami Heat, but playing better basketball is the team's biggest priority right now, coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday.

Since beating Miami on March 26 to take a three-game lead in the chase for the East's top seed, the Pacers have lost four of five to fall one game (two in the loss column) behind the Heat.

"We're two games back [in the loss column] right now," Vogel said, according to The Indianapolis Star. "Obviously it was a goal, it is a goal of ours, but at this point, playing well is our top priority. Part of that is being fresh going into the playoffs.

"We feel good if we have the No. 2 seed, and we still feel we can attain the goals we have."

Vogel gave all five Pacers starters the day off Tuesday and said he would pick his spots over the final four games to rest his key players for the playoffs.

"I think rest and healing up is part of the solution," Vogel said, according to the newspaper. "It's not the whole solution, but it's part of it."

The Star reported that both Paul George and David West came to the coach in recent days to request rest before the postseason.

Vogel also said he has talked to center Roy Hibbert since his benching for the final 30 minutes of Sunday's 107-88 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks.

"I told him I thought the media overreacted to his body language," Vogel said, according to the newspaper. "He was told he was done for the night. Our whole team was getting their tails kicked, and I don't think anybody had good body language."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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