It was the best of performances. It was the worst of performances.
In Tuesday night’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Indiana Pacers turned in their best statistical defensive performance of the season by holding the Lakers to 76.3o points per 100 possessions. That’s almost 30 points per hundred lower than the Lakers were averaging coming into the game and more than 32 points per 100 fewer than the Lakers had scored in their previous two games. It brought their year-to-date defensive efficiency to 95.9, which stands barely behind 2004’s 95.6 as the second best defensive rating in the team’s 37-season NBA history.
Regrettably, as impressive as the defensive numbers were, the offensive numbers were just as ugly. At just under 81 points per 100, it was Indy’s worst statistical offensive performances (LA’s second best statistical defensive performance) of what has been (to date) the worst statistical offensive season in the NBA history of the Indiana Pacers. The current offensive (in)efficiency rating of 95.0 eclipses the franchise’s NBA low of 96.7, set in the Pacers’ maiden voyage of 1976-77. That was in a league with no three-point shot.
This is pretty much the kind of year the Indiana Pacers are having. It seems to me that the Pacers’ season hinges on whether or not Vogel and his charges can figure out the offense before the defense collapes under the strain.