So, another game and another win for the Pacers, as they defeated Toronto 90-85 Wednesday night. And along with that came another glimpse at what the Pacers are trying to do offensively.
As I mentioned in the pre-game spiders, Indiana is aggressively looking for their big players in the post and in the PnR. To show how closely the game plan matched the season opener against Detroit, I mapped the play distribution for each game on the same spiderweb.
The yellow from the Toronto game overlaying the blue from the Detroit game is pretty consistent, only showing some small migration from offensive rebounding (which is really the offensive equivalent of disaster recovery) and towards PnR action.
So, the offense remains committed to the Post, and this is where it is coming from:
Roy Hibbert has been the primary beneficiary of this new strategy, but it’s being spread around pretty well, though with very limited success beyond the bigs. In 11 post plays for Danny Granger and Paul George, the Pacers have only scored four points on 1-for-7 shooting, with two turnovers.
The other area where the Pacers are trying to engage Hibbert, David West, and Tyler Hansbrough has been through PnR action. Just under 10% of their plays have come through this action, and where it comes from is the Pacer version of the triangle offense.
Hibbert has been the most successful, but that was built in game one. West scored 5 points on 6 plays Wednesday night, including the game clinching bucket with 0:09 left.
So, the Pacers are trying to become a post up team, but they’re not there, yet. Indiana has only scored on about 38% of their post ups while committing seven turnovers. As noted above, a lot of that can be attributed to the struggles Granger and George have had, but it does show it’s a work in progress.
The Screener side of the PnR action shows a lot of promise, and should get even better as David West rounds into shape. The Ballhandler side is pretty disappointing at the moment, but there’s hope that as Darren Collison and George Hill get more comfortable, the Pacers will become much more effective on both sides of the PnR.
Defensively, the Pacers remain strong. In fact, they’re current second in the league in defensive efficiency – allowing only 91.9 points per 100 possessions. Toronto’s offensive attack was more coherent than Detroit’s, but not all that much more effective.
Because they’ve played two different opponents, and because neither the Raptors nor the Pistons are offensive juggernauts, it’s hard to draw any deep conclusions about where the Pacers’ strengths and weaknesses are. Other than the occasional dribble penetration leakage from the perimeter defense, no glaring flaws have appeared.
We’ll continue to watch this develop, but the defense seems pretty sound at the moment.