John Schumann: Pacers Continue to Win Ugly
As the TNT audience witnessed on Thursday night, Pacers basketball ain’t pretty. Sure,
Carmelo Anthony was out for the Knicks, but an 81-76 result isn’t exactly atypical for a
Pacers game, no matter who’s on the floor.
The victory, which brought the surging Pacers within a game and a half of the Knicks
for second place in the Eastern Conference, was the ninth game the Pacers have won in
which they scored less than 90 points. No other team in the league has more than three
such victories this season.
Through Thursday, the Pacers rank No. 1 in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing
just 95.4 points per 100 possessions. And they rank 29th in offensive efficiency, scoring
just 97.8. To make things even uglier, they’ve played at the third slowest pace in the
league, just 92.4 possessions per 48 minutes.
Put that all together and you’ve got just 180.0 total points in your average Pacers game.
That’s the lowest total PPG average of any team since significant rules changes were
made after the ugly 2003-04 season. Yes, even lower than any team had in last year’s
Though the games may be painful to watch, the above list isn’t necessarily bad company
to be in. Assuming both the Pacers and Grizzlies make the postseason, seven of the 10
teams above are playoff teams, and two made the conference finals. No. 14 on this list
is the 2004-05 Spurs, who beat the above-listed Pistons in The Finals.
After a slow start, the Pacers are now proving that they’re a top-four team in the East.
In just the last 11 days, they’ve knocked off the Grizzlies, Bucks, Heat and Knicks. With
some help from a home-heavy schedule, they’re 12-3 since Dec. 12, having allowed a
paltry 92.2 points per 100 possessions over the 15 games.
They’re essentially out-Thibodeau-ing the Bulls, who they lead by a game and a half in
the Central Division. The two...CONTINUE READING AT HANGTIME