The Indiana Pacers started off April with a much needed win. They looked sharp against an admittedly awful Detroit Pistons team, but progress is progress. The Pacers came away with the 101-94 victory, breaking 100 points for the first time since March 15th when the beat the Pistons on the road in overtime.
This was the best the offense has looked since February. They shot 49-percent from the field and had 24 assists on 39 baskets. The Pacers pushed the tempo and it worked for them.
Detroit managed to keep the game close by hitting a few more three pointers and some incredibly tough jumpers. The Pistons were still held to 36-percent shooting and had 17 offensive rebounds.
All four starters scored in the double digits and generally looked to enjoy playing with each other once again. There were still some miscues and a few too many isolation plays, but overall the team was in a much better rhythm.
Paul George led all scorers with 27 points off 9-for-19 shooting. He also had 13 rebounds, seven assists, and a pair of steals. George even hit a 40-foot three pointer when the shot clock wasn’t reset quickly enough.
George did an excellent job giving up the ball when he was double-teamed and rarely forced his shot.
David West returned from his slumping shooting to hit 70-percent of his shots en route to 15 points. West also had eight rebounds and two blocks.
Lance Stephenson gave the Pacers some much needed energy in the second quarter and jolted the bench into playing effectively. Stephenson’s stat line didn’t jump off the page but he finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
When Stephenson is looking to get his teammates involved and find his own shot by slashing to the basket, he is incredibly dangerous and always gives the Pacers an edge.
There was a scary moment early in the game when Roy Hibbert was pulled to the deck and tagged his head against the hardwood. He left for the majority of the first half but was able to start the third quarter and finish out the game after passing the concussion protocol.
It could have been his second concussion in a week after the hard elbow he took from LeBron James last week against the Miami Heat.
The bench managed to be effective this evening as well. All in all, the reserves scored 25 points and hauled in 17 rebounds. Luis Scola had nine points and seven rebounds.
Ian Mahinmi was particularly effective in extended minutes with 10 points off 4-for-5 shooting. He also had five rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Pacers desperately needed a win tonight. After a 8-10 March, the Pacers will need to fight that much harder to gain something resembling momentum heading into the playoffs.
Up next the Pacers head to Toronto to face the Raptors Friday night. The Raptors are third in the East right now and the Pacers lost their last trip abroad.