Indiana Pacers (1-0) 90 Toronto Raptors (o-1) 88
What a way to start the season with a George Hill last second shot to steal a win. That’s what it felt like because the way the Indiana Pacers played up in Toronto last, they stole a victory from the Toronto Raptors. This is probably how the first few weeks will go as the Pacers work their way through playing without Danny Granger. But if they keep picking up wins, then life will be good.
The Indiana Pacers pride themselves on the team game, and last night’s win can start to hammer home that point as they got contributions from all kinds of guys. You can start with David West, who put that team on his back in the fourth quarter. Starting off quietly, but finishing with 14 points in the fourth quarter on his way to 25 points. If he doesn’t have that monster final quarter, are the Pacers actually talking about a win now?
You can talk about George Hill, who gets the final shot to win the game for the Pacers. He’s nursing a hip pointer injury that might be causing more problems than being led on. But he was out there playing as hard as he could, even getting beat by his man on the defensive end. He’s a floor general on the offense end, and he made sure to take charge with that final shot to get the win for the Pacers.
You can talk about Paul George, who everyone feels has that ability to step into Danny Granger’s place and become a scorer. He showed off some of that by going for 10 points in the first quarter. He finishes up with 14 points, but more importantly grabs a career high 15 rebounds. Not known as a rebounder I think this is very significant as he showed off that he can do whatever he can to help this Pacers team.
More contributions came from Roy Hibbert, who notched a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Also getting five blocks in the process, which is something I love seeing as I know he can be a defensive force with his size and length. Guys won’t want to come down that lane if Hibbert is getting his hand on their shots.
Gerald Green stepped into the starting role in place of Granger and performed admirably. It’s going to take some time to get used to that lineup and things seemed shaky, but hopefully with some more games, everyone catches on to their roles. That’s what it will take to make it through these first weeks of the season. Finding ways to win a game might be the motto of the team. But with a team effort like last night, the Pacers should be able to pick up some wins, especially against inferior competition. Toronto brought their best effort last night, and the Pacers somehow withstood it, that’s saying a lot about the heart of the Pacers. It’s what keeps them in the games at all times, and it is what can lead to great things this season.