The Indiana Pacers finished the preseason with a strong effort in Dallas, running past the Mavericks for a 114-91 win. Jim O'Brien played the game at full throttle with his starters playing big minutes, especially in the second half. Oh, and they played well.
The team was without Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Foster, so Marquis Daniels started in Dun's place. Wow! Quisy and T.J. Ford were a lethal combination. They combined to seize the game in the second half and set the pace for the P's to fly up and down the court as the team hoisted 101 FGAs.
I was able to watch most of the game but really wish this one would've been televised locally in Indy. This performance would've sold a few tickets because the Pacers showed just how well they are capable of playing. Even the guys who struggled played well hustling on defense or hitting the boards.
Just look at the box. T.J. Ford ends with 19 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Quisy has 22 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and appeared to be wherever the ball was while he was on the court. Quisy heads into the regular season playing the best ball of his career. Time to do it for real now.
Danny Granger struggled from the floor again (5-16) but his assertive game sent him to the line 12 times where he was perfect. Granger finished with 24 points, 3 steals, 2 blocks and a +36. Whoa.
Off the bench the rookies struggled at times but had their moments. Brandon Rush only made 1 of 8 shots, but he was active while on the court; certainly didn't disappear. Rush added 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of steals. He had a great play in the first half on the offensive glass where he simply out-hustled a Dallas player to tip the ball and keep it alive. Maceo Baston grabbed it and put in an easy two. Great hustle play not recorded in the box.
Roy Hibbert seemed a little rushed early but played a nice rotation in the second half. Hibbert finished with 8 and 8 and ran the floor quite well. No lingering problems with the ankles.
Finally, I can't leave out Jarrett Jack. He had another solid outing off the bench including a nice stretch late in the first quarter. Jack finished with 12 points, 3 assists and only 1 turnover.
With seven minutes left in the game the Pacers were up 8 at 91-83. Ford, Granger and Quisy teamed up to close out the game from there leading the way to the final 25 point deficit. Beautiful.
This team is a far cry from the one that opened the preseason in the Pepsi Coliseum. Now that they've shown us the level of play they are capable of delivering, it's time to bring that game on a consistent basis. If they can do that, the challenging early schedule may produce a few surprise Ws.