As expected, the Indiana Pacers broke their 6-game losing streak today agaisnt the lowly New Jersey Nets, who had been playing arguably better basketball than the Pacers as of late. However, the surprising thing was that the Pacers won in dramatic fashion, pounding the Nets 124-92 without both Tyler Hansbrough (pneumonia) and Brandon Rush (ankle).
A few interesting points in this one. First of all, Roy Hibbert finally played a decent game, putting up 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 25 minutes while shooting 7-12 from the field and 6-7 from the line. Hopefully this is a sign that Hibbert has finally turned the corner and will revert back to his earlier season form, or at least something a little closer.
Secondly, the Pacers kept the Nets to 92 points. Sure, the Nets aren’t the greatest scoring team in the NBA, with the game blown wide open in the second half, it’s good to see that the Pacers still played good defense for the rest of the game and kept an opponent to under 100 points.
Thirdly, Dunleavy was red hot, finishing with a game high 30 points and hitting 12-16 shots, including 6-7 from downtown. When Dunleavy is shooting like this, he is the most lethal weapon the team. No one expects this from him every night, but it’s up to him to find more consistency because when he’s off, he’s really off.
Fourthly, Paul George continued to play strongly, tabulating 15 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists on 6-7 shooting in 24 minutes. Please, JOB, play this guy as much as you can. Let him make some mistakes, but at least he’ll learn from them.
Ok — next game tomorrow against the Chicago Bulls, who have already beaten the Pacers a couple of times this season, both comfortably. Not expecting the Pacers to win, but with Noah still out and Rose battling two stomach ulcers, and the fact that the Bulls are also played a back-to-back game, the Pacers will at least have a chance.
If they can pull out of the victory then they’ll have a chance to go for their first 3-game winning streak against the Toronto Raptors, and after that, a potential 4-game streak as their next opponent is the Cleveland Cavaliers.