There’s a post up recapping the first half of the season, but let’s look at some of the best things that have happened in this 2012-2013. There’s been some good wins, performances, quarters, and such that this Pacers team really looks ready to contend in the Eastern Conference.
The team will say this was just another regular season game, but with the way they played this game, you had that feeling it was something more. This is the Miami Heat team that won last year and knocked the Pacers out in a dog fight in that second round. The Pacers felt like they could have taken out the Heat last season, but couldn’t land that knockout punch. The Heat are favored to repeat this season, so it was big to get in this regular season meeting. It was a great defensive effort as the Pacers put the clamps on the Heat, and only allowed 77 points. The Heat average 102 points, so you can see the disparity there. Also, Paul George played tough defense on Lebron James, who got his points, but took 20 shots to get to his 22 points. George also scores a team high 29 points and grabs 11 rebounds to lead the way in this great win for the Pacers.
Best Player Performance: Paul George’s 37 points (9 three pointers) and
Roy Hibbert’s triple double (10 points, 11 rebounds, 11 blocks)
Luckily both these performances happened in the same game against the New Orleans Hornets back in November. I have to give both George and Hibbert their dues for their performances. Paul George ends up with the franchise record of 9 three pointers. Roy Hibbert, a defensive stalwart all season, has a block party of 11. He’s been such a force on the defensive end and is the leader on that end of the floor. But it was Paul George who got the glory for his offensive performance as he explodes for 33 of his 37 points in the second half and overtime. The Pacers end up putting away the Hornets in that extra session thanks to an 18-10 scoring advantage. Great performances from two great Pacer players.
Best Offensive Quarter: 28 Points in the third quarter against Dallas Mavericks
The Pacers might have scored more points in a quarter, but I’m looking at this game as the one where the offense finally got rolling. This game is where Frank Vogel let the chain loose on the offense. Guys were moving around much better, and they were looking for each other with better passes. This quarter helped open up the lead for the Pacers on their way to 103 points for the win. It was one of the more dominating wins this season for the Pacers and one of the few times they’ve cracked over 100 points.
Best Defensive Quarter: Holding the Toronto Raptors to 5 points in the fourth quarter
I’m talking all the best things about the Pacers, and this falls into best worst thing. You look at this fun fact, and see the Pacers held the Raptors to 5 points in the fourth quarter, surely they won the game? Well, the Pacers didn’t hit a shot with less than four minutes left in that quarter, and go down to the Raptors in November. This was right in that tough start to the season, where the Pacers were 3-6 and not looking like the team we had expected to see.
This could go into best win as well, but I wanted to give the Heat win it’s due credit. So why not create another category like best win, and I can get the Bulls win it’s due credit? This game came after a tough game for Paul George, when he scored the goose egg. It was important to see how he would bounce back. Bounce back he did, when he ends up with 34 points, hitting all kinds of shots to help carry the Pacers to the victory.
Best Stretch of Games: Saturday January 5th- Saturday January 12th
This was a four game winning streak that is recent, but could be an important stretch for the team when you look at who they beat. It started with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks had already beat the Pacers twice already and did it in more dominating fashion than expected. The Pacers only losses in the division are to the Bucks. So it was important to pick up a win against them and get some division momentum going. The Pacers picked up a double figures win against the Bucks, who end up firing their head coach the next day. Then we get the Pacers Heat game, which I just mentioned is the best win, so no more details are needed on that. Next up was a nationally televised game on TNT against the New York Knicks. Anyone who is a fan of the Pacers in the 90′s knows what the Knicks and Pacers mean. This felt like that type of playoff game. The Knicks had handled the Pacers as well, and this was a good chance to get some revenge. Paul George once again leads the way in all areas and puts the Pacers on his back to a win. Finally, you finish up the week with a win against Charlotte. Four straight home wins that is part of the current 11 game home win streak. 16-3 at home for the Pacers, which is one of the top home records. This was a great week for the team, and really helped get them some national attention as they beat the Heat and Knicks in consecutive games.