While the city is buzzing over the hometown Bulldogs, the hometown Pacers provided a joyous diversion as they hosted the visiting Houston Rockets, who were fresh off an inspiring win over the Celtics. After some questions about the availability of Trevor Ariza and Kevin Martin, both guys took the floor, putting Indiana’s three game winning streak against the Rockets on the line.
The Rockets led through half of the first quarter, but huge plays by Mike Dunleavy (sic) helped push the Pacers to a lead they’d never relinquished. Duns had eight in the quarter on a pair of threes. I’ll double check my sources, but I think that’s accurate. The Rockets came into the second looking to build momentum, but Roy Hibbert finally looked back in pre-jaw form, notching the first eight points for the Pacers in the second quarter as he got help from A.J. Price to push the lead to double digits on a hat trick of three pointers. Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, and Duns pushed the lead to sixteen at the break.
After a three and a half minute drought in the third quarter, the Rockets managed to pull within 13, but a Roy Hibbert three point play and a Josh McRoberts three pointer pushed the lead to 17, leading to a frustrated Aaron Brooks technical, effectively burying the Rockets. Just because the Rockets were done didn’t mean the Pacers were, however, McBobs woke the sleepwalking crowd with back to back Josh McRoberts Dunk Camp samples, finishing with ten in the third quarter, as the Pacers reached the century mark after three.
In the fourth, well, it got a little more fun. There were four more dunks between Dukies McBobs and Dahntay Jones (who apparently doesn’t have a ticket to tomorrow night’s game, no one can help him out?), some more A.J. triples, as Solomon Jones put the team over the season high for points, Indiana finishing with 133 points on a triple play from A.J. to Josh to D.Jones slam.
More from the total team effort after you jump to Dunk Camp registration!
- Lots of notes, so we’ll begin with points in the paint production: 58 points. Plenty of offensive movement for the Pacers, there wasn’t anywhere on the floor that was cold for the team, shooting 57.6%, the team’s highest shooting output since a win against the Knicks in 2007.
- Love was spread around tonight. Of the nine man rotation that got time before Luther Head and Solo took the floor at the end, eight scored in double figures, six had over 15. Roy led the team with just 20 tonight. When everyone’s on, why not spread it around?
- Josh McRoberts had a career high 18 points tonight, also pulling down a team high 12 boards. He had a pair of triples, and about sixteen different dunks (wanna sign up?), and was asked after the game by Stacy if his dad had attended many games. Josh laughed. I assume since his father (likely) lives in Carmel, he’s made it to a few the past couple of years.
- Even in a game like this, the Pacers couldn’t prevent letting up Random Season High by Opposing Player, as rookie Jordan Hill put up a career high 15 points. Can’t win every battle, but at least Hill is seeing productive minutes to show what he can offer an NBA team.
- Who didn’t have a season high? Kevin Martin. The new Rockets acquisition, who had averaged 21.8 points, floated through the loss, scoring just three points on 1-5 shooting. His impact certainly wasn’t felt elsewhere, pulling down 2 boards and dishing out 3 assists.
- And of course, we can’t talk about a 30 point victory without mentioning something negative about Brandon Rush. Rush didn’t take his first field goal attempt until 7:43 in the third quarter, and surprise, surprise, that was the young man’s only shot. Offering two rebounds and two steals on a forgettable defensive effort, I think I’d rather have K-Mart’s no show.
- It should come as no surprise the three Dukies dominated the +/- stat for the Pacers. Ignoring Troy Murphy actually +23, because it doesn’t fit what I’m trying to sell, the only +20s were from McBobs, D.Jones, and Duns. If you don’t think they’re suffering a serious case of schoolprideitis, I might ask you look again.
- After a bit of lambasting on A.J. Price’s performance a few games back as "nothing we haven’t seen before, probably worse," the rook really showed his offensive value, drilling five three pointers to finish up with 17. He still only dished out a pair of assists, however, and was often the result of the moving ball, not the distributor. I hate to be needlessly hard on the guy after a great game, but I still don’t know how much we can really get out of him if he builds himself into a scoring PG vs. a passing PG.
- Getting all out team production was a real load off for Danny Granger, who finished with 18 quiet points on a rough and go 6-16 shooting. Shooting percentage aside, I’d certainly like to get to the point where Granger can only have to put up around 20 a night, instead of having to force 25-30 to keep the team in games. It would certainly allow him to open up more defensively and keep him better rested for the postseason (Hey, it can’t be that much longer…right? Right?!), and for games when we need him to take the reigns.
Pacers get back to work on Wednesday against the New York Knicks at home. I’d say expect a win, but it’s hard to know what to expect from the Knickerbockers on a nightly basis, so we’ll worry about that one when it comes. In the meantime, enjoy the win for what it is (as STLPacerFan summed it up quite poetically, "…pour a sip on the sidewalk for our lotto chances then drink the glass for tonight’s effort."), and get ready for tomorrow night’s NCAA Finals starring Indianapolis’s (and now the state’s) very own Butler Bulldogs!