It was a rough week for the Indiana Pacers to say the least. The Pacers came into the week with four games on the slate and a shaky 2-1 record against lottery teams. We hoped to see them pick up their offensive game in the second week but to no avail as their scoring woes persisted.
Indiana went 1-3 this week, losing two games to perennial playoff teams and splitting a pair of games against two of last year’s bottom feeders. The week opened up with a Monday night game against the San Antonio Spurs in which they never really showed up. There’s never any shame in losing to the Spurs. San Antonio has been the most consistently great team this millennium and they show no signs of slowing up this year. Even with that being the case, there’s never a good excuse for losing by 22 points. Tuesday they took to the court to face the Hawks of Atlanta and really stepped up their game through three quarters, leading by 12 points going into the final period. The Pacers would then proceed to hand the game to Atlanta in the fourth by managing to muster all of nine points and giving up an 18-0 scoring run. This was followed up by a two point loss at the hands of against the Minnesota Timberwolves who were without their marquee players, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Indiana fought hard but couldn’t keep the Wolves off of the charity stripe and allowed them to shoot 50% from the field. Indiana was able to stop their three game skid against the winless Washington Wizards who were also without their star John Wall. This game was much closer than it should have been, but a win is a win and the Pacers will take them any way that they can get them at this juncture.
Indiana is ranked 6th in the Association in scoring defense but 27th in points scored per game. Team captain and leading scorer Danny Granger underwent knee surgery on Tuesday. He is expected to miss about three months, setting his anticipated return date for early February. With Granger out it takes a player from bench to fill that starting spot, thinning out the bench. Indiana’s bench was outscored by points 49 in their three losses, which all came on the road. We’re getting a look at the big game potential George Hill has, but that was negated by big man Roy Hibbert averaging a measly 7 points in the week’s four games. With or without Granger, the Pacers are going to need Hibbert to get out of his slump if they want to be competitive, and judging by his tweet he’s well aware of this. Fortunately the season is still quite young and the cream of the crop appears to be thin in the Eastern Conference. This gives Vogel and the Pacers time to find the formula for success, knock off the rust, get back in shape, or whatever else you want to call it as we head into the third week of the season. Indiana has another 4 games on the schedule this week against Toronto, at Milwaukee, Dallas, and at New York. Let’s see if they can start to turn things around.