2. Team-wide shooting woes
It’s pretty hard to win a basketball game when basically every player on your team has gone ice-cold for apparently no reason.
After two fantastic games to start the season in which eight and six players scored in double figures, respectively, Indiana had a massive cooldown game against Chicago where the opposite seemingly occurred.
Instead of the players being red hot, nobody could hit a shot. While Tyrese Haliburton’s 19 points on 6/16 shooting don’t seem overtly terrible at first, his shooting 1/8 from behind the line does.
Bennedict Mathurin did a great job getting to the line, shooting six free throws and making all of them, but he was not effecting anywhere besides that, as his 15 points came on 4/11 from the field and 1/4 from beyond the arc. Buddy Hield hit three three-pointers, but he only shot 4/12 from the field, and Andrew Nembhard went 0/4 from beyond the arc, shooting 3/7 overall.
In fact, even Indiana’s leading scorer, Myles Turner, struggled from the field, shooting 6/14. However, he was actually one of the more efficient players on the floor tonight, as while the Bulls had seven players shoot 50% or higher, the Pacers only had two players do such a thing, with Bruce Brown shooting 6/12 and 3/6 from three, and the ever-reliable Jalen Smith putting up eight points on 4/7 shooting, despite going 0/2 from behind the line.
The issue here wasn’t even that Chicago was playing fantastic defense, as their defense was usually heavy on the ball and in the passing lanes, leading to steals and turnovers for Indiana.
The Indiana Pacers got a lot of great looks from three and just missed them, throwing up quite a few airballs in the process. In fact, Indiana got plenty of wide-open looks right at the rim and even missed those point-blank opportunities, including Jalen Smith missing an alley-oop on a fast break with nobody around him.
All in all, Indiana shot 41% from the field compared to Chicago’s 46% and shot a putrid 26% from three on 12/46 shooting compared to Chicago’s 35%. Efficiency like this does not help win basketball games if one person is shooting like this.
When the whole team is struggling from the field, there is a serious issue, and any idea of a team win should be thrown out the window until the players can actually make their shots, especially when the defense isn’t hampering them too much.