The Indiana Pacers struggled to put away the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night. Despite leading from start to finish, the Pacers couldn’t deliver the killing stroke until the final minutes of play.
The Pacers were able to extend the late lead from the free throw line, leading to a 101-94 win.
Indiana’s offense was frustrating all night long as the Pacers proceeded to turn the ball over 22 times. That nearly tied a season high. That’s 22 turnovers against the second worst team in the NBA that had lost 18 games in a row.
Most of the turnovers are silly and easy to prevent. When this team is careful with the ball, the Pacers are incredibly dangerous at both ends of the court. Team President Larry Bird stated early in the year that turnovers would be the death of this squad. It stands to reason that you should listen to the Legend and work to cut down the TOs.
When the Pacers were able to get a shot off, it went in most of the time. Indiana shot 58-percent over the evening.
Paul George led the team with an efficient 25 points and five turnovers. George shot the ball especially well from the three point line, cashing in on four of his seven attempts. He also hauled in four rebounds, dished out six assists, and had two steals.
Roy Hibbert and David West hosted their own block party, record five and four blocks respectively. Former Sixer Lavoy Allen, playing his first significant minutes, was invited to the party and sent two shots the other way.
West finished the night with 18 points off 8-for-13 shooting and recorded seven rebounds. Allen had shot a perfect game for 13 points and pulled in four rebounds.
George Hill had to play extended minutes as CJ Watson had to leave the game early with a strained hamstring and Donald Sloan was dealing with a personal issue. Hill struggled shooting the ball, but finished with 14 points. He also had nine assists, six rebounds, and a pair of steals.
Hill also did a solid job defensively on rookie phenom Michael Carter-Williams, who was just 5-for-16 from the field.
The reserves looked pretty good when Watson was leading the group. The bench recorded 27 points and were able to push the Pacers lead in the second quarter.
Lance Stephenson posted another double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Stephenson had just four assists, largely due to his lousy passing tonight as he turned the ball over four times.
While Stephenson has been fantastic this season, can someone explain how a 6-5 guard is virtually tied in rebounding with a 7-2 center? For those keeping track, Hibbert had just three rebounds tonight.
The Pacers face a dreaded road back-to-back with a trip to Detroit tomorrow night. The Pistons have given the Pacers fits in both meetings, and delivered Indiana its first home loss of the season. The Pacers won by eight early in the season at Auburn Hills.