Dec 8, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) reacts to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers Close Out Road Trip

Dec 8, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Well that’s all she wrote for the five game road trip.  Going 3-2 is right where I predicted the Pacers would be. I was hoping that they would put up a stronger game in tonight’s loss against Oklahoma City.  That was downright ugly at times.  Oklahoma City shot 61% and scored 118 points.

You give up that high of a shooting percentage, you’re lucky to even be in the game. The Pacers defense has been so good this season that they must have left it in San Antonio on the trip to Oklahoma City.  Kevin Durant outplays Paul George, who did have a strong second half. But still not enough to get the Pacers over that hump.

A bright spot beyond Paul George’s 32 points was the free throw shooting where the Pacers only missed 2 shots.  Roy Hibbert had a good evening as well with his 12 points on 6-12 shooting. He’s really had a good start to the season beyond the defensive stats.  He’s been strong around the basket at times and had some good scoring nights.

This game got away from the Pacers right away as the Thunder just took it to them. It’s a bit concerning that two of the losses have come in this fashion.  The Chicago Bulls built up a lead of 30some in an earlier game.  This one, the Thunder had control of beyond a tie early on.  I really thought last night’s effort would carry over to tonight’s game. But I think last night’s effort could have set up the way this game unfolded. The Pacers just couldn’t get going even with some small runs here there.  That defense has to be much stronger against two of the top players in the league in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Neither was stopped tonight, and that’s really what you can say about this game.  Now it’s time to shift focus on to the next tough task of the Miami Heat.  The Pacers are still two games up on the Heat for first in the Conference, so a win Tuesday night would be beneficial in that area.

Division wise, the Pacers didn’t lose any ground as there’s an 8 game lead there.  Hopefully this loss doesn’t hurt the mental side of the Pacers.  They’ll have to just get right back to that focus they’ve had for most of the way this season and set their sights on Beating the Heat.

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