I am speechless. I am without speech.
I was out and about when I decided to check the score of the Indiana Pacers-Denver Nuggets game. When the score flash up, I decided I must have been dreaming. It was the end of the third quarter and the Pacers were up 113-76. I looked at the quarter stats and saw that the Pacers had just completed a 54 point quarter. I thought someone must have hacked into my computer and posted a fake game update! How can a team score 54 points in a quarter? And the Pacers of all teams?
Anyway, the Pacers remained relatively hot and finished the game 144-113. It was just an insane night of basketball, especially when you consider what happened in Miami with Paul Millsap going nuts all by himself.
As soon as I got the chance, I watched the entire game on NBA League Pass. All I can say is that it’s one of the most surreal Pacers games I’ve ever seen. The team played well in the first half to get a 10 point lead. The Nuggets were playing their fourth game in five nights, so they were understandably tired, but I expected them to come out strong in the third, which they kind of did.
But the Pacers just lost it. Granger was swishing jumpers (19 points). Hibbert was knocking down shots in the post (17 points). Collison, hot all night, got it going inside and out (season high 29). Rush, back from suspension, had a solid return game, hitting a few of his own (16 points). And of course, there was Mike Dunleavy doing his Reggie Miller impression. 24 points, including 5-5 from three-point range in the third quarter. He finished with 31 points.
Cra-zy. The most incredible stat of the night was that the Pacers hit their first 20 shots in a row in the third quarter. They only missed one field goal, the very last one, when Josh McRoberts took a three with the clock winding down.
This was a historic game I’m pretty sure we’ll never see again, and it is just ONE game, so let’s not get carried away — but there’s lots of great things to take away from it and build on. Collison was on fire, picking up the tempo and taking his shots when the opportunities presented themselves. Granger was learning to take better shots, as was Hibbert. McRoberts and Hansbrough were hustling and grabbing shots (and Hansrough is a much better offensive player than I had given him credit for). And Brandon Rush — if he can put in this type of effort (16 points) every night then the Pacers would have proven everyone wrong about giving him a contract extension.
There will be nights when the shots simply don’t fall, but on this night, everything did.
The Pacers next play the Rockets at home on Saturday.