Indiana Pacers (29-7) 93
Washington Wizards (16-18) 66That was the night I wanted to see the Indiana Pacers put together. We’ll ignore the fact that free throw shooting was horrendous on both sides, but for the Indiana Pacers, they couldn’t get much better in that second half as they only allowed the Wizards to score 29 points. That was the way this team was playing early on, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
These dominant performances are what get the Pacers noticed more and more. Putting up 28 points in a fourth quarter help that along as well. It’s just great to be recognized as a dominant team, and the Pacers want to embrace that.
Individually, I give credit to David West for his performance last night. He was carrying the team in that third quarter on his way to 20 points. You won’t always get that much from West as he’s really deferred to Paul George. George didn’t have it going last night, so West had to step it up. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more performances like this for West, so George himself can get back into the groove.
How about the play of C.J. Watson as well? He gets his own 16 points, and shows what a quality back up guy he’s become. He’s solid in his play, and he brings an energy at times when the Pacers can use it. Those are the qualities you want in the second unit or better yet, fifth, sixth, and seventh starters. That might be the best way to explain how this Pacers team feels about their second string guys. They are players that could end up as starters in some places.
The Pacers also got some help from the Brooklyn Nets as they beat the Miami Heat last night. The Pacers now own the lead of the Eastern Conference by 2.5 games. It’s not much breathing room, but it could be enough to last throughout the season as long as the Pacers keep up their pace. No change in the division lead as it sits at 12 games even with the Chicago Bulls having won four straight games. That seems to be the right room for the Pacers as well.
Just keep stringing together games like last night and the Pacers will be right back into that discussion of what an elite team looks like, if they haven’t disappeared from yet.