Woof. That’s the only word I could utter after Indiana’s stink up of a game against Dallas on Sunday, an away game they lost 105-94. Having gone 7-7 in their last 14, the Pacers are struggling in multiple areas.
Let’s look at a few.
100.5 Points per Game
That number is roughly the amount of points Indiana has been giving up since the All-Star break — scary considering they were holding opponents to right around 90 ppg before the break. The Pacers are also allowing opponents to shoot over 42% from the 3-point line, a 10% increase since the break. And in the four loss span, the Pacers are letting opponents shoot over 50% beyond the arc. If Indiana wants to stop the bleeding, defense is a good place to start.
21st in the League
That is where the current Indiana offense is sitting in points per possession, a drop of over 6 spots since the break. The offense was never elite, but it appears that it’s been weakening even furhter. The addition of Evan Turner has provided more points per game statistically than Granger on an individual basis, but the Indiana offense is being outscored by nearly 7 points with Turner on the floor.
Turner hasn’t been poor offensively, but his turnovers and defensive awareness (which was highlighted highlighted in this breakdown) have been bogging the Pacers down. Turner’s presense has also been hurting the play of Paul George, causing a differential of -10.8, per 40 minutes, when Turner and George are on the floor at the same time, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The league’s rising superstar has slowed his climb to the top, averaging 22.5 ppg on 42.4% shooting since the All-Star break, but in the last four games (all losses), George has averaged just 17 ppg on 36.2% shooting, including a horrific 28.5% from the 3-point line. Worst of all was his 2-point outing against the Bobcats. George was once in the conversation for MVP, but those claims are quickly fading as George — and Indiana — continue to struggle.
The Indiana Pacers have clinched a playoff spot (the first team in the NBA to do so) and are looking to finish the season out strong, starting tonight against the Boston Celtics. Lance Stephenson has been a bright spot in the last few, and David West has been a strong contributor (other than his nightmare performance against Dallas). The impromptu meeting the Pacers held after the loss in Houston certainly turned heads, and with Andrew Bynum making his debut tonight things could get interesting in Indianapolis. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.