The Indiana Pacers have now shown that they can be one of the top teams in the league and beat the top teams in the league. The record may not be all that fancy, holding on to an 8-7 mark, but it’s good enough for Indy. And two big wins have happened, as the Pacers knocked off the two most-hyped teams entering the season: The Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. Indy knocked off the hype.
The offensive production may not be amazing, as the leading scorer, Danny Granger, is providing 21.7 points per game. But hey, that’s All-Star worthy. But the big reason Indy has been knocking off the top teams in the league is because of defense. Entering the season, many expected a 34-48 record for Indy at best. Well know, it is the other way around. ESPN’s John Hollinger see’s a 48-34 record for Indiana!
Indy looks to improve to 2-0 now on this four-game road-trip against the toughest teams in the league. They knocked off the Lakers, 95-92, in a tough battle at Staples Center. Now they look to knock off another California-based team in the Sacramento Kings. Last time Indy faced Sactown was at Conseco Fieldhouse, where Indy rolled…easily. The Kings haven’t showed a lot of great things this season, as they are now at a 4-11 record, including 2-7 at home. Indy is so far 4-2 in away games and they plan to play strong like they did against L.A.
“This is a big win for us to come into L.A. and beat the world champions on their home court,” said forward Danny Granger, who scored 18 points. “It gives us a lot of motivation and confidence on this West Coast road trip.”
Indy limited the Lakers to a season-low of 38.6-percent shooting. Indy is in the top three on limiting teams in their field-goal percentage, at 42.3-percent overall. This also includes a 39.3-percent in their last six games.
“The main thing about our basketball team is we’re one of the top defensive teams in the league right now,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “You’ve got to play top-five field goal defense in order to be able to win on the road, and we’ve been able to do that.”
Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 24 points, twelve rebounds, and six assists in that victory as he continues to make a case for himself as the Eastern Conference’s top centers while also leading the race for the Most Improved Player award. Hibbert has been averaging a career-high of 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game so far this year. Hibbert looks to take control over the Kings’ front-court.
Sacramento is coming off a 96-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The Kings struggled in the second-half of that game, being limited to only 28 points in that half. They also blew a 13-point lead at halftime. Also, rumors have been coming up that DeMarcus Cousins is becoming unhappy with the team.
“I thought that in the second half our defense was good enough for us to win the game, but our offense was something that was out of some horror book,” coach Paul Westphal said. “Two turnovers in the first half and 16 in the second half, it’s just unbelievable. Running the same plays, only not executing them.”
Tyreke Evans has been struggling. He is leading the team with 17.4 points per game, but was limited to 9.3 points per game in his previous few games. Both teams split the wins last season, each at home. Indy is so far 3-3 versus Western Conference teams this season, including 2-0 against California teams. They were 9-21 last year against the Western Conference.
Granger has played great against the Kings, averaging 33.7 points per game overall against them. He hopes to take control over Donte Green tonight.
Indy has a 60-percent chance of winning this game according to Accu Score while the Kings have a 40-percent.
I see a win for Indy as they improve to 9-7.