Tim Donahue: Pacers Dominate Jazz in Best Performance of the Season
The Pacers are just 14-12. They aren’t where you want them to be. They aren’t where
they want to be. An impressive – and much-needed – 104-84 blowout of the Jazz was a
lot of fun, but not necessarily definitional.
But watching this team over the last few games, you could begin to see “the plan” again.
Early in the season, it was David West dragging the team away from the cliff. It was
George Hill making just enough clutch plays to avoid disaster. And it was Paul George,
Roy Hibbert, and the bench – as a whole and individually – just not getting the job done.
The defense was always there, but the offense was nowhere to be found. And you had to
wonder if how long the defense would be able to withstand the pressure put on it by the
“It takes you a step back,” Paul George said. “You’re playing such great defense, like
against Toronto, then you’re not knocking shots down…you tense up a little bit.”
The Pacers have won four of their last five games, and that’s great from a team
perspective. But on some occasions, team improvement starts with individual success.
In this case, Paul George’s recent emergence as the third “Pacer worth taking seriously”
is beginning to drive the team’s improvement.
I asked Coach Vogel if Paul’s recent success is helping to make everyone more
comfortable. “We knew when we learned that Danny was going to be out, there was
going to be an adjustment period,“ Vogel said. “It’s definitely starting to come.”
In the locker room after the game, Gerald Green – he of the 21 points and ri-damn-
diculous And-1 dunk – spoke about the whether or not he thought the stabilization of
the starting unit was beginning to help the bench.
“I think so,” he nodded. “I think time is really helping us as well. Just every day,
constantly, us playing with each other, we’re starting to know each other’s tendencies.
The first five, ten games of the season, we were still trying to get a feel for each other.
Now, we’re starting to know what we like to do. I think that’s making it a lot easier for
This team still misses Danny Granger – at least from a sheer talent perspective. If they
want to do any damage against good teams in the playoffs, I believe they will need
Granger to return and be solidly productive. But, this team is also starting to evolve into
an above average basketball team without him.
And the impetus of this...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s