It’s the middle of the week, and the Indiana Pacers won’t play till Friday, which is a good thing for the team, so that they can get some practice time and work out kinks that might be popping up. One area of the team that I have been most impressed with is the defense. Individual stats are fun, but to me, this Pacers team is all about that defense, which might not make the highlights, but has been part of the winning ways recently.
The big stat to look at is the points allowed, and the Pacers are first in only allowing 84 points a game. The Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons hit for 91 points, but other than that, the games have been under 90 points. You have to wonder what team will even crack 95 points against this strong defense.
I do believe that beyond the usual players in Paul George and Roy Hibbert, every guy is doing their part on the defensive end. David West has been quite strong in that area, which is something that people don’t talk about when talking up West’s game. He’s a guy that will get his hands on the other player, and poke the ball away for a steal. He got three steals in the Chicago Bulls game, but has also got the ball out there for other guys to make the steal. He’s a player that will do whatever he can to make his own difference.
Luis Scola, an offensive player not known for defense, ends up with a great block in a game that showed me he’s even buying into the idea of defense. He might not be the Great Wall of Hibbert, who we have seen just take a liking to the block game. Hibbert is averaging only 4.4 blocks per game. He’s already got 7 blocks in 2 games and 5 blocks in 3 other games. I won’t be surprised at all if we end up seeing Hibbert with a triple double in blocks, rebounds, and points one of these games. He’s a guy that when not blocking the shot, he’s got his hands ready to defend the player coming down the lane.
Finally, you can look at Paul George that goes out and plays as well on the defensive end as anyone. He’s a guy that it’s hard to track what he does, but you know when he’s out there guarding the best player on the other team, he’s going to be at his best. With his length, guys have to alter their shots, even if George can’t do that himself.
Each time the Pacers step out there, you know if they’re on their toes in this defensive scheme, they should be in every game when the offense staggers. If both areas are on, just watch out for what the game will be like. I’ve said before that as the Pacers are 8-0, we haven’t seen that perfect game yet from the team. Just think if they’re hitting their shots at a high clip and defending as strong as they have, there’s going to be one ugly loss for a team. That’s the moment I am waiting for. Right now, I enjoy watching this team play defense, and hopefully you can see what a difference that will make.