Game #18 Preview: Closing Out a West Coast Road Trip in the Desert

Indiana Pacers @ Phoenix Suns
Friday, December 3, 2010
9:00 pm EST
US Airways Center
Phoenix, Arizona

The blueprint for beating the Suns is the same as it ever was  — but perhaps even more pronounced. Keep them from shooting well and you will probably win. They have the league’s second best offense, but it’s not like the get to the line a ton or kill you on the offensive boards. They, with the help of future Canadian prime minister Steve Nash, just create really good shots. And then they make them.

Overall, they shoot 47.8%, good for third best in the NBA. Adjusted to account for three-pointers being worth three points, that number is 53.1% (also third best).

Still, opponents should not fear the Suns — not this incarnation of them anyway. Why? Well, completely counteracting how good they play on the offensive end are their defensive woes. Basically, they defend so poorly that they allow every team they face to become as potent on offense as … wait for it … the Phoenix Suns.

Yup. They create 112.5 points per 100 possession. But their opponents so far this year have created 114.6, giving the Suns the worst defense in the Association. Sure, they post the aforementioned third-best eFG% in the league at 53.1% — but they allow their opponents to post a eFG% of 53.6%. Again, that’s the worst rate allowed by any team.

All this creates a fantastic little science experiment for Pacers fans.

See, the Pacers are supposed to be a good team now. Everyone is saying so. And looking at things broadly, the main reason they have theoretically become a good team is that they now play high-level defense.

So … Will this high-level defense be able to contain even an attack as lethal as Phoenix’s?

Tune in at 9:00 EST.

Pacers vs Suns By the Numbers

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