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Nate Bjorkgren on Pacers’ coach-player blowup: ‘Competitive juices are flowing and things like that will happen’

As if the Pacers didn’t have enough problems already... Pacers assistant coach Greg Foster lashed out at defiant Pacers player Goga Bitadze during Indiana’s loss to the Kings last night.

Foster appeared to call out Bitadze for a blown defensive assignment. Bitadze then hit a 3-pointer and appeared to tell Foster, “Sit the f*** down.” Foster became so heated, he was restrained from going after the player.

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren’s strategy? Downplay the incident.

Bjorkgren, via Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star:

“We’re in a frustrating stretch here,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said, who took more than 30 minutes to appear at the postgame video conference. “A lot going on with the challenges of navigating through a season. The competitive juices are flowing and things like that will happen.”

Bjorkgren is right: Sometimes, tempers flare in competitive situations.

But these moments look bad. Everyone knows they look bad.

So, the aggrieved people usually wait to unleash their anger until in private.

That Foster and Bitadze didn’t was telling about just how upset they were. Especially Foster knew he was in an arena with cameras all around – and still kept going after Bitadze.

J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star:

Fairly or not, given that he was already on the hot seat, it looks like Bjorkgren has lost the team.

It didn’t help that Indiana got routed by lowly Sacramento, which had neither De’Aaron Fox nor Tyrese Haliburton.