How cool is that? You guys do us proud.
ORLANDO, Fla. – I had an excellent back-and-forth conversation going on with fans on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. I think most of the fans were from over at PacersDigest.com (a little plug for you guys).
The hot topic was the Pacers’ second unit.
George Hill. Tyler Hansbrough. Lance Stephenson. Lou Amundson.
Those were the players most talked about.
Hill and Hansbrough for their shooting problems.
Stephenson and his continued maturation on the court.
Amundson? I don’t remember because I don’t think anybody had anything positive to say about Lou.
But after Sunday’s play against Orlando, the bench deserves credit. Actually they deserve a lot of credit because they were the unit that broke the game open in the second quarter.
They were on the court when the Pacers led by as many as 15 points. It was the starters who played a significant part in why Orlando closed the first half on 22-4 run.
The Pacers’ bench outscored Orlando’s bench 42-16. Indy is now 10-1 when its bench outscores the opposition’s second unit.
“We rely heavily on our bench,” said Pacers forward Danny Granger, who scored a team-high 24 points. “When you have guys that come in and produce, it makes it easy on the starters. George Hill had a good night. Tyler Hansbrough (seven points and five rebounds) had some big buckets. Those guys definitely helped us.”
Hill needed a breakout game because his shot had vanished in the three games (3-of-17) prior to Sunday.
Hansbrough had a solid seven points and five rebounds. Amundson had his best game as a Pacer, getting eights points (4-of-4), five rebounds and two steals.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel is giving Stephenson a few minutes in the first half of every game. Stephenson’s been getting fewer and fewer minutes in the first half, the time when bench struggled prior to Sunday, of games lately.
The argument about Stephenson playing over A.J. Price is a regular topic of conversation. Talent wise? That’s a no brainer, Stephenson is clearly the winner.
True point guard skills? That’s a no brainer, too, Price is clearly the winner in that department.
That’s why I said last week that Price should get some minutes with the second unit.
Price pushes the ball, he makes sure the ball is moving and he knows where his teammates like the ball on the court. That had been an area of concern with the second unit.
I keep hearing from people that the Pacers should send Stephenson to the D-League so that he can play 30-plus minutes a game. The Pacers have never sent a player to the D-League and it’s not in their future plans. They want all their players to play in their system and be around the coaching staff all the time.
The Pacers will hopefully get an added boost on the bench soon because they hope to have Jeff Foster against New Jersey on Tuesday.
The bench has to produce for the Pacers.
Vogel can’t afford to have to play his starters heavy minutes on a nightly basis because they play too many games over a short period of time.
I enjoy the back-and-forth conversation with you guys on Twitter. There will be plenty of times where we agree to disagree on topics.
Just ask my man Michael Grady.