The Indiana Pacers had another successful week as this team is still undefeated in the league. For the record, I was wrong about the week as I predicted the Pacers would go 2-2. I am happy to be wrong about that prediction as this team has shown what they are starting to become. The Pacers are a team that can fight through some offensive lulls, and finish strong in the second half. Paul George is starting a case for Most Valuable Player. Roy Hibbert is campaigning for Defensive Player of the Year. Lance Stephenson could make his own case for Most Improved Player.
Even with those individual goals, the Pacers are showing what a team can do when all the parts are working. I feel at the same time, this team hasn’t put together a full game, so we have to believe that they could improve in some case. There have been those small offensive lulls, where the team won’t be able to score. Correct that, and the offensive side of things will be fine.
Defensively, I love the way that every guy on this team defends. You could look at last night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, and see Luis Scola, a guy not known for defense, pick up a block in that fourth quarter. David West seems to always have his hands on the ball when it comes to defending. Paul George steps up and makes life hard for whoever he is guarding. George Hill and C.J. Watson made life tough for Deron Williams, someone who usually has the Pacers’ number. Finally, Roy Hibbert stands tall in the middle, making block after block after block. Even when he’s not making the block, his hands are straight up making the shots difficult for someone.
This defensive effort has made the Pacers that type of defense that you have to work for every basket. The Nets scored 91, which ties the season high in points against the Pacers. No team has broken that 100 point barrier, which is right where the Pacers need these games.
I thought each win this week for the Pacers was better than the previous win. Starting with the Detroit Pistons game, a game that I think meant more for the Pistons as they could see what kind of team they are. The Pacers went out and did their business. Paul George scored 31 points in the win. The Pacers as a team came out firing in that third quarter, and scored 36 points. That was enough to build up the lead for the final quarter, and they held on for the 8 point win.
Next up, the Chicago Bulls came to town. This was that game that fans had circled on their calendars. A game that saw two teams who should be right there fighting for the division. The Pacers really took this one home in front of the home crowd. A few seasons ago, you would have seen plenty of red shirts for the Bulls in that crowd, not tonight. This game was all about the Blue and Gold as the Pacers saved their best for last. The fourth quarter was strong as the team scored 34 points and won going away with the 17 point win.
Another home game this past Friday saw the Toronto Raptors come to town looking to stop this undefeated streak of the Indiana Pacers. This to me had those makings of a “trap game.” That type of game, where you expect a team to falter. The Pacers didn’t want that to happen, and do their usual work on the defensive end as they allowed 14 and 13 points in the second and third quarters, respectively. Roy Hibbert gets 20 points in the win. A good mark for him to achieve this early in the season. If the Pacers can get that type of production more often than not, watch out for that post area.
Finally, last night’s win was another one that I wasn’t too sure how the Pacers would come out of it. Would they have the defensive presence to slow down all those All Stars of the Brooklyn Nets? Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez is the starting five for the Nets. Just look at those names, and you see some players that have been strong for so many years. This one saw Roy Hibbert get the better of that matchup with Brook Lopez, where in years’ past, Lopez got the better end. Once again, the Pacers had to do work in that second half as they held on for the win. A third quarter of 28 points gave the team some breathing room even as the Nets made their comeback bid at the end of the game.
The Pacers are now 7-0 and look to keep this run going this week. Another tough week for the team as they’ll face the Memphis Grizzlies, a team built like the Pacers. If you like defense and low scores, watch this one. To finish up the week, the Milwaukee Bucks come to town as the Pacers look for another division win. Then the team heads up to Chicago for another game with the Bulls. That one should be the one to watch again as you better believe the Bulls are going to come out strong in it. Can the Pacers get to 10-0 with another 3 wins this week?