Whatever that start to the season was, the Pacers have shown that it was just that a start to the season. Thanks to a 10-5 December and so far 4-1 this month, the Pacers are sitting in first place in their division and just two games out of first in the Eastern Conference. Grabbing one of those top two seeds would be key to the team, so that they can make a real run to the Conference Finals. That’s where I thought they could get to, and now it’s almost feeling like that should be the expectation. This team is showing that it is in fact good enough to compete with the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The one loss this month must have been some wake up call as the Pacers have rattled off three straight wins. Those wins came against playoff caliber teams as well, something the Pacers weren’t showing in that rough start to the season. They were winning games by whatever means necessary, but they were losing unnecessary games. For example, losing to the Charlotte Bobcats in the their first game of the season. They got to face those same Bobcats twice coming up with a home and away series. I would say that the Pacers put away the Bobcats in both games.
They also lost that game to Toronto, where they allowed just 5 points to the Raptors in the fourth quarter, and still lost. But that’s just testament to how this team is winning games, the defense. That defense is something I take pride in for this team. The offense might be ugly at times, but this defense is killer.
Look at the fact that they are allowing 89 points game, which is first in scoring defense. The past two games against the Heat and the Knicks, both teams had season lows.
Roy Hibbert is an anchor in that middle and he’s right up there with leading the way with blocks. Guys, like Paul George, use their length to deflect passes and get some steals. They’re not a big turnover causing team, but they can disrupt shots, which is just as important.
How about this fun fact? Through the 36 games of the season, this defense has only allowed 100 points or more in 6 games. Two of those times it happened with the Spurs. The Thunder put together over 100 points, but that team is going to drop 100 on most anyone they play. I bet when the Pacers play the Thunder again, they don’t score 100 points. Who wants to take me up on that?
This defense will be the calling card for the team, and I like it that way. I love a team to go out and defend hard. I feel like playing defense is so much tougher than going out to score a basket. You have to be on your toes, and not let your guy score. Who wouldn’t love to watch that more? The Pacers can be beast on defense, which can lead to them becoming Beast in the East.