I give the Indiana Pacers a ton of credit last night for pulling off that victory. There were good things and bad things to come out of last night. For every good thing, I’ll look at the bad end of it.
Without three starters, the Pacers built up a lead of almost 30 points. They looked to be in control most of the way. Guys were making those good passes to other guys. The defense was locked in as much as it could be. How about 17 points allowed, while the offense put up 32 points?
The Pacers almost let that one slip away as the Hawks used their bench to come back in the fourth quarter, and get as close as four points. Things looked very shaky there until Gerald Green hit what was probably an ill-advised three pointer to put the Pacers up seven points.
Gerald Green had 17 of his 19 points in the second half. He looks to be much more comfortable out there shooting the ball, and even distributing at times. I think his best way to play is getting to the basket, so guys have to find him right there. But if he can continue to shoot well, then that would be just as good.
Paul George had some horrible passes as that seems to be the weakest part of his game. One pass to D.J. Augustin went by him so badly that I don’t even know if anyone saw it coming. He has to make the better play, especially since he had some of those turnovers in the fourth quarter. I also didn’t like how he was so set on dribbling and scoring. I know last night, he was the main option on offense, but he could have looked for guys more often. Some of the time on offense, he would come down and dribble only to take a shot. Made me think of old Danny Granger. That’s the last thing George needs to be doing.
Roy Hibbert continues to show that he’s coming back around for the team. He scored 17 points and 13 rebounds. That’s about where he should be every night. If he can get 15 and 10, that’s good enough to help the Pacers. The shooting percentage is much better, and his defense has been solid all season.
Defensively as good as the Pacers were most of the game, that fourth quarter was bad. Giving up 31 points in the fourth to the Hawks who weren’t on pace for 90 points. Giving up those points to bench players is an even worse sign. Hopefully that defense gets right back to where it needs to be in the next few weeks as life gears up for the playoffs.
Good, Good Thing:
With the Pacers missing three starters, I didn’t have high hopes for the game. But D.J. Augustin stepped into the starting role for George Hill, and played well enough. Gerald Green looks to be improving FINALLY as he was in the starting line up for Lance Stephenson. Tyler Hansbrough has really done a good job filling in for David West. Let’s not go to the whole Hansbrough should start over West idea. But if Hansbrough could get some more playing time, maybe he becomes more productive. That would be something the coaching staff has to look into. But for these guys to come together, and build up the lead like they did, that’s an encouraging sign. Then to make some plays at the end to keep the lead is a good sign. The team is up in the Eastern Conference by a half game over the Knicks for second place. They have a good lead over the Bulls for the division as now the magic number is seven. Encouraging effort from a team that I wasn’t sure what to expect.