The Indiana Pacers came to town to visit the LA Clippers and are off to an NBA best 16-1 after defeating the Clippers 105-100 in a hard fought battle at the Staples Center on December 1st. Paul George and David West led the way scoring 27 and 24 respectively but Coach Frank Vogel credits his team’s defense for the victory. With Matt Barnes out (eye surgery) and JJ Reddick now out 6-8 weeks after fracturing his hand vs. Sacramento the other night, LA was short-handed.
They got off to a slow start and tried to play catch-up the whole night but Indiana held on for the victory. Roy Hibbert is a huge influence defensively and rebounding that holds the defense together. The whole team is on the same page and their confidence is at an all time high even after the tough game 7 loss to Miami last year. They are out for revenge and have the mindset to have the best record to gain home court advantage and take out the Heat this year.
The Clippers had a chance near the end but couldn’t make the big shots and Indiana was hungrier getting more loose balls and rebounds down the stretch. Chris Paul was back after missing the last game with a hamstring pull and had a decent game scoring 17 points and handing out 10 assists. LA got some good production from their bench including Jamal Crawford scoring 20 points along with Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock having very good games. All Star Blake Griffin was outplayed by West and finished with 16 points and 12 boards while DeAndre Jordan had some highlight reel dunks to finish with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Back to the Pacers who believe in their defense so much that Coach Vogel calls them the best defense in the league and they proved so down the stretch. They also did Not foul Jordon as most teams do after they are out of fouls to make him shoot free throws. That is how confident they are. The additions of Luis Scola, CJ Watson, Ian Mahinmi and first round pick Soloman Hill make their bench stronger than last year. The forgotten man is ex-all star and USA Olympian Danny Granger who missed last season with an injury. He has a less serious injury this year but if he can show any of his past form when he returns, they will be even deeper and more dangerous with his outside shooting and scoring ability. The Pacers starting five may be the best in the NBA with George already a star, West, Hibbert, George Hill and Lance Stephenson sharing the backcourt duties.