The Indiana Pacers' bench continues to give life in close games

The Pacers have the highest scoring bench in the NBA and it has helped them in close and decisive games.

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Even though the Pacers fell short against the Lakers 150-145, their bench play was one of the bright spots and has been throughout the whole season. It all starts with the energy of T.J. McConnell, and the hard work of players like Bennedict Mathurin (out for the season), Obi Toppin, Jalen Smith, Ben Sheppard, and Doug McDermott. You could see that in the win against the Clippers.

In 73 games the Pacers have scored 3,397 points off the bench which is 245 points more than the second-place Jazz. They currently are averaging almost 47 points from their bench, 17 rebounds which is good for fourth, and 11 assists which is also fourth. The most impressive stat off the bench is the fact that they shoot 51% from the field which makes them the only team that shoots over 50%.

Toppin started out the year starting alongside Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, Mathurin, and Bruce Brown, and after 28 games would move into a bench role where he has been thriving. He is normally one of the first off of the bench to replace Pascal Siakam and is an alley-oop and catch-and-shoot threat at all times. A 10 points-per-game scorer, he shoots 56 % from the field and 40% from three. He has been a stud on the court paired with either Haliburton or McConnell on any given night.

McConnell as always brings a spark off of the bench that makes each player better. An almost 10-points per-game scorer, he can take over the game at any time, especially in the paint and close to the basket. He is always a 15-point threat and can get you eight to 10 assists in a game if given the chance. He is second in assists with 5.4 but only plays around 18 minutes a game. He started the season completely out of the rotation before showing that he deserves to be one of the first off the bench.

Before his injury, Mathurin was having a great second season and really transitioned nicely from starter to sixth man. A 14.5 points-per-game scorer, he would have nights where he would be the best player on the court, but would also have some inefficient nights. As a second-year player, he was in the running for sixth man of the year before his season-ending shoulder injury. The injury was a huge blow to the Pacers, but it led Ben Sheppard to become a household name in Indy.

A defensive beast as a rookie, Sheppard has really solidified himself as a three-and-D player. The 26th pick in the 2023 Draft out of Belmont, has been averaging 4 points per game, but that is not where his focus is. On defense, Sheppard loves to match up against either of the two best players on the court for the other team and has helped the Pacers maintain some good defensive matchups over the last few games.

Next. Next story. Adding Pascal Siakam has proved to be incredible for the Pacers. dark

As the Pacers sit in sixth in the East at 41-32, they still have a long way to go in these final 10 games. Fighting with teams like the Magic, Knicks, 76ers, and Heat for the final three playoff spots to avoid the play-in it will be important for the Pacers to take some victories to finish the road trip.