While Paul George continues to show he can be a consistent and reliable scorer this season, the Indian Pacers defense is doing most of the work for one of the hottest teams in the NBA, making the New York Knicks into their next victim to look miserable on offense.
There’s not too much “pretty” going on when it comes to the Pacers basketball. Not a very sophisticated offense, but it’s hard to argue with a team that’s now 22-14, winning 12 of their last 15 games after a rocky 10-11 start.
The Pacers held the Knicks to a season-low 76 points and 20% from beyond the arc, although not having to face Carmelo Anthony did help. The Pacers have had the best defensive efficiency in the league, helping their current nine-game win streak at home, allowing an average of only 90 points per 100 possessions. They’re also keeping teams at 29.2% from beyond the arc at home, the best perimeter defense in the NBA.
The Pacers are doing pretty bad themselves offensively. They shot 39.2% from the field, their sixth game of the season under 40% from the field. Their top scorer in the game, Paul George, who finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals, something that has happened only five more times in the last 15 years. David West, the only other player on the Pacers to take more than 10 field goal attempts, had a terrible 3-11 evening. They just made the Knicks shoot much much worse, finishing with 34.8% from the field and their lowest scoring output of the season.
He (George) is just blossoming in front of our eyes with special performance after special performance after special performance. He’s leading our defense, which is becoming a beast and our guys are embracing that identity.
This isn’t the prettiest way to win basketball games, but once the Pacers have gotten used to playing without Danny Granger, it’s been looking better and better, simply living off their incredible defense. They are second in the NBA when it comes to points allowed per game, keeping teams at 89.1 points per game. They are the best in the NBA when it comes to making teams shoot bad, keeping them at 41.2% from the field and 31.2% from three, both the best in the NBA.
The Pacers win with defense and rebounding. They’re leading the NBA with 46.3 rebounds per game, grabbing 52.4% of the possible rebounds up for grabs. They did allow the Knicks 19 offensive rebounds in this game, but they usually average of a 4.2 differential in their favor when it comes to rebounding and are among the top 5 teams in the NBA on the offensive glass.
The season is starting the shape up like the Pacers envisioned it going into it: Being the contender for the number two team in the East. With Miami not playing very well lately, including losing to the Pacers and scoring less than 80 points as well, maybe dreaming about finishing on top of the East isn’t such a far fetched idea, especially if they finally have Paul George going offensively, averaging 26.5 points and 11 rebounds in the last couple of wins.