I expected the Indiana Pacers to win both games against the Washington Wizards, but it wasn’t to be. The team was horrible in the first one in Washington, where they lost 104-90 in an awful performance where no one could hit anything. Both Granger and Hibbert continued their struggles while Dunleavy led the way with 20 ponts.
The second game in Indiana was much better, with the Pacers winning 95-86 in a game they led by as much as 20. A much better adjustment this game. Granger took the ball to the hole on every opportunity and it led to 18 points on 8-12 shooting, despite him being saddled with fouls most of the night.
Darren Collison too was terrific tonight, being aggressive and finishing with 18 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Hibbert finally broke out of his slump, scoring 17 points and grabbing 8 rebounds on 6-13 shooting, but he did have 7 turnovers.
The big revelation tonight was rookie Paul George, who only played 2 minutes of garbage time in the first game, but tonight had a marvellous 13 points in 18 minutes, plus 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and one huge windmill dunk. With his length, athleticism and surprisingly good ball handling skills, I have no idea why he doesn’t play at least 15-20 minutes a night. It’s better than rolling the dice with James Posey shooting threes all day.
With the win, the Pacers improve to 14-17, which is where they will finish for 2010. Given the rough December schedule, I was hoping they would be 15-16, but they just couldn’t get that win in Washington.
I’ll do a post assessing how the Pacers have played thus far shortly.
There are some positives and negatives, but on the whole I think we can all agree that the Pacers are exceeding expectations thus far, though they’re not as good as we what we thought they were after victories over Miami and LA on the road.
More to come.