Truth be told, the Indiana Pacers do not boast the most eye-opening offense in the NBA.
Under head coach Frank Vogel, the identity behind Indiana has been defense. That has been their rock and what the players have relied on to win ballgames. This season has been more of the same for the Pacers as they lead the league in team defense.
Roy Hibbert has established himself as a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Paul George has, on numerous occasions, received rave compliments from his coaches, teammates and media on his perimeter defense.
Indiana went more than two weeks to start the season without scoring 100 points on offense. That totaled nine games, but it was the defense that helped them win all nine of those contests.
In the month of December, however, Indiana saw their defensive prowess disappear during a Western Conference trip and tough games against some Eastern foes, including two battles with Miami. What has been keeping them on track through a tough month of basketball has been offensive execution.
Let’s take a look at the offensive numbers for Indiana, specifically in their last three games – all wins.
In those three games, the Indiana Pacers have averaged 107.7 points per game. In the process, they have held opponents to 82 points a game, an average margin of victory of 25.7 PPG. Indiana has shot 49.4% from the field in the last three, including 41.9% from beyond the three-point arc.
The Pacers have attempted 63 free throws (21 per game), making 49 of those (78%). They have also assisted on 83 of their field goals, an average of 27.6 assists over three blowout wins against the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
George has continued his contributions on the offensive side of the ball, averaging nearly 25 PPG after struggling during three games in the middle of the month. Albeit he has gotten help from his teammates. Lance Stephenson has had scoring outputs of 16, 12 and 26. He posted his third triple-double of the season Sunday against Boston.
Maybe of greatest importance has been the bench. The second unit has averaged 33.6 points since Friday, eclipsing 40 points in two of the last three games. Primary contributors have been Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and now Danny Granger. This could be a very strong bench come springtime.
No question early offensive success could go a long way for a team built on defense. A strong team on both sides of the ball may prove to be lethal down the stretch. Indiana will look to gain momentum on its recent offensive burst.