Here we see the Pacers’ backup rim protector covering quite a bit of ground as he rotates back in transition defense to destroy all hopes Dante Cunningham had of making a bucket. As much as Ian Mahinimi’s mobility is impressive here — and the block itself is of course tremendous — the most encouraging part may be the way he directs the transition defense. Before he retreats to challenge the layup, you can see Mahinmi pointing out where the threat is coming from.
The Pacers are for sure one of the most cohesive defensive units in the NBA and this just lends further evidence as to why. While many teams — even good teams — struggle to get back and defend the break, the Pacers even have bench players that are both capable and proactive about ensuring they don’t get out-run for easy buckets.
It’s great to see guys like Roy Hibbert protect the goal and Paul George individually contain high-level scorers. But the little stuff like this is also critical to building the best defense in the NBA.
Also, please, somebody, check on Quinn Buckner. I think he may have passed out after this.