Danny Granger scored 22 points as the Indiana Pacers cruised to a 99-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers opened up the season nicely at home in Conseco Fieldhouse, already 1-0 at home. So far, I think they’ll do a lot better on the road, after only winning nine games last season in away games.
But today was home, and it was a special night for Pacers fans. This was a good win at home, now let’s see if Indiana can get 40 more of them at home! Darren Collison proved himself last night and showed that he is the future of the Indiana Pacers. The new off-season addition added 15 points, four assists, and four steals as Indiana improves to 2-1. Along with that, Collison had a sweet play in the game, dunking right on Louis Williams.
Another big highlight was by Josh McRoberts, which you can see here. With Collison’s quickness, he was to unstoppable for the 76ers. The Pacers defense was very solid, having tons of blocks and steals, along with holding the team’s highest scorer to only 18 points, which was Williams. With Collison’s dunk, the Pacers looked like this game was there’s now, leading 68-56 after the big play by the small, speedy point guard.
“I just tried to make a play,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going in at first. It was the right play at the right time and, you know, we’re trying to make statements out here.”
Collison made a huge one there. With one minute left in the game, T.J. Ford was dribbling out the clock. The packed crowd in the Fieldhouse did something they haven’t done in a few years: give a loud, big, and huge standing ovation. The Pacers never really received a ton of this like they did tonight since the 2005-06 season. It showed a real nice sign to me, and bunch of other fans, that this is going to be a good season!
Today’s game showed that if the Pacers keep playing like this, maybe Jim O’Brien and Larry Bird could keep their jobs respectively if they lead Indy to strong success. Mike Dunleavy had 16 points. He struggled early but started clicking a bit. Roy Hibbert helped out as well, adding 14 points and 13 rebounds, with nine points in the first half. The Pacers sit at 2-1 after first week now. Currently, it shows as of today that the Pacers are on top of the Central Division! Take a look:
“I think this is good for a team this young to be sitting 2-1 after the first week,” Collison said. “We just need to continue to work.”
The 76ers were mostly led by Elton Brand, who had twelve points and ten rebounds for the Sixers. With Philly down to 0-3, Doug Collins may show a sign of frustration as he is the one to rebuild the team like he did to his past ones. Collins hopes he can change the culture of the team, but he pointed out it will take time.
“We have to break a lot of losing habits,” Collins said. “I told the guys after the game that there is not one guy in this room who has a winning record in the NBA as a pro. Are we going to change? That’s my job, to get it done.”
The Pacers were first up, 21-15. However, things changed quickly as the 76ers built up towards a 36-23 lead. However, the Pacers came back and went on a huge run, later tying up the game at 51 after halftime. The Pacers then started the third quarter with a 13-2 run and had a 64-53 lead. Then later in the game, T.J. Ford found Josh McRoberts open for a dunk, as he slammed it on Evan Turner. Remember, you can see that play on the link above. That dunk brought the Pacers lead up to 76-64.
“We had so much adrenaline going through us,” Granger said. “When you get that type of momentum, for the team that’s on the road, it’s really hard to overcome that. Most importantly, the thing was, we backed those up with defensive plays. It wasn’t just on the offensive end.”
“It’s like the same old movie,” Collins said of blowing the 13-point lead. “We had a 13-point lead, and we had a horrible stretch. It’s not our defense, it’s our offense. We try to do too much on our own. Turn the ball over. Bad shots. They run out and score.”
The Pacers played solid defense throughout the whole game, holding the Sixers to only 35 points in the second half. They also held the team’s top scorer, Andre Iguodala, to only twelve points.
“There was a lull, and we reminded the guys that we’re at our best when we pressure the basketball, and then we’re running and putting pressure on them by pushing the tempo,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “It was a discussion every timeout tonight. I think it’s a key to our season.”
Josh McRoberts had nine points and nine rebounds, T.J. Ford had six points and four assists, Tyler Hasnbrough had nine points and seven rebounds, and Paul George had eight points and four assists.
The Pacers will face the Sixers again in Philadelphia on Wednesday.\
Topics: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Conseco Fieldhouse, Danny Granger, Darren Collison, Detroit Pistons, Doug Collins, Indiana Pacers, Jim O'Brien, Josh McRoberts, Larry Bird, Louis Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, Paul George, Philadelphia 76ers, Roy Hibbert, T.J. Ford, Tyler Hansbrough