Considering how the Pacers have been playing up until this point, I must say that this past week was a success for the team. Indiana had a three game slate between Monday, November 19 and Sunday, November 25, in which they came away with two wins and one loss. On top of the Ws the Pacers were able to finally find their offensive game in all three contests. Their defense let up slightly but the overall pace was picked up (avoiding the corny Pacers/pace zinger) so there was increased scoring on both ends.
Pacers 96 – Wizards 89
The Pacers got the week started off in the nation’s capital against the Washington Wizards on Monday. Indy came out of the gate hot and established a 15 point lead after just one 12 minute period of play. They were able to milk that lead through the final buzzer, shooting 49% for the night and withstanding all of the Wizards runs. This victory was certainly nothing for the Pacers to brag about. The Wizards came into the game as the only team in the NBA with a zero in the win column with all eight of their previous games ending in defeat. The struggling Roy Hibbert showed up with a season high 20 points on only 10 shots. David West was the story of the night though. The veteran power forward dropped 30 on the Wizards, accounting for 10 of the Pacers’ 25 free throws.
Pacers 115 – Hornets 107 (OT)
Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets Paul George finally showed the Indy fans what all the hype has been about. Paul George put up 37 big points for the home team. But we’ve all seen high scoring outputs, but the most impressive part of his 37 was that he hit a Pacers’ record nine 3-pointers. This broke Reggie Miller’s record of eight trey balls in single game. The Hornets were without their number one draft pick rookie Anthony Davis who sat out with an ankle injury. The Hornets may not have been winless like the futile Wizards but we would certainly expect the Pacers to beat a team with only three wins. The Hornets pushed Indy to the limit though, playing an awesome back and forth fourth quarter and forcing overtime. Hibbert didn’t have a big scoring night but compiled 11 blocked shots (another Pacers’ franchise record) on his way to his first triple-double. The Pacers have played plenty of exciting close games already this year, but this may have been the best one yet.
Spurs 104- Pacers 97
The last time that the Pacers met up with the San Antonio Spurs it was blow out, favoring the team from Texas. This time out it was a different story, but same end result. The Pacers can certainly hang their hats on the fact that they were competitive for the full 48 against one of the best teams in league. It was the usual suspect that came through for the Spurs on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker scored 22 and 33 points, respectively. Duncan also pulled down 17 boards but the Pacers won the battle of the boards 49-37, which allowed them to stay keep up with the Spurs while being outshot.
Putting all of this together gives us a pretty good feeling about the direction things may be heading. In the last edition of “Weekly Recap” we said we’d be looking for a consistent high scorer for the Pacers. The most impressive individual performance was Paul George’s 37 but David West was the most consistent performer. West averaged nearly 23 per game and shot over 58% from the field. With Granger out and Hibbert struggling from the field it looks like West and Paul George are going to bear the load. The bench has been up and down for the team. The substitutes played poorly against the Wizards, giving up portions of the lead, but played really well against the Spurs. It’s hard to tell what to expect from them, so this coming week we’re going to take a good look at the bench and see what we find. The Pacers start a road trip this week as they head out west to face the Lakers (7-7), Kings (4-9), and Warriors (8-6).