That was just truly, madly, deeply horrible. Just a total no show, almost across the board, by everyone on the Pacers. They got murdered on the glass — often a telltale sign of lethargy — on the way to getting blown out by perhaps the worst offense in the NBA. And this was on a night when the Bobcats only made 1 three-pointer, so this wasn’t exactly the March Madness-like phenomenon of a team just getting hot and blowing the barn doors off. Still, they shot 50% from the field overall, which helps illustrate just how many open mid-range jumpers and easy looks in the paint that the Pacers gave up.
Brandon Rush actually started off making a few shots, which was a nice change-of-pace for him — but soon reverted back to the Mayor of Brick City. Actually, that’s not even fair. I bet Cory Booker, the actual mayor of Newark, New Jersey, could shoot better than 26.2% from three-point range.
Granger was ok early but then he started settling for way too many threes. Including last night’s 2/7 showing from long-range, Danny is now up to 8.6 three-point attempts per game, easily leading the league. In fact, the only other guys who are even launching more than 7 threes per night are Kevin Martin (whose 7.6 attempts per game came is the small sample of only the 5 games before going down with a broken wrist), JR Smith (whose 7.2 attempts per came in the small sample of only the 6 games since he’s returned from suspension) and Trevor Ariza (who has played 14 games, but is stuggling mightily to figure out how to turn himself from role player to number-one option for a team that desperately needs him to score).
Last year, Danny shot threes at a high clip as well, obviously, but 6.7 per night and 8.6 per night is a huge difference. And with last night being yet another night were he was shooting them more like LeBron James and less like Peja Stojokovic, it makes his decision to stand 24-feet from the hoop shooting rather than getting into the paint even more indefensible. When you’re the only thing even close to an All-Star on your team, it’s on you to force the action and get to the hoop, not have 7 of your 14 shots be threes. Especially on a night where you’re shooting like Marquis Daniels.
Earl and TJ were both had moments of good play and moments of terrible decision-making, which appears to be a typical night at the office for both. Hibbert was ineffective and soft, having two dunks blocked and generally just getting his butt-kicked on both ends by the 32-year-old Nazr Mohammend, who scored 18 points in 18 minutes on just 10 shots. The 6’8″ Boris Diaw further exposed the lack of interior defense by Roy, Troy and the rest of the bigs by scoring his 17 points on 8/13 shooting and finding the time to grab 7 boards. Tyler brought a lift when he came into the game to raucous applause from his North Carolina faithful, but he didn’t exactly produce a ton, in part because he remains on a minute restriction. Still, even without major production, it was a productive outing for the rookie nonetheless with 8 points and 6 boards in 20 mintutes. His pick-setting ability is also improving by the game. Latsly, it was also good to see Foster out there, even in limited minutes when he didn’t do much.
Tough to find any more silver linings than that though.
Sure, it’s early, but, yeah, I’m getting sick of saying that and December is right around the corner. Last night, the offense was again a giant problem. And the 41.0% shooting from the floor we saw last night is actually buoyed quite heavily by several buckets in garbage time. They were down around the 36% mark towards the end of the 3rd quarter, at which point the game was already most certainly over.
Ultimately, they just have no one who can score. And no one who can be relied on to score, more fairly. I love Dahntay Jones’ aggressiveness, but he should not be someone we have to look to to carry the offense for quarters at a time. Just not gonna cut it.
I mean, Troy better get back to his 45% from three shooting from last year — and fast — if this team wants to even keep treading water until Dunleavy gets back. Hurry up, dude. Hurry up.
Doubt Brandon makes the cover this week.