Pacers Rounding Into Form as Regular Season Draws Close

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

With Danny Granger returning to the fold tonight, the Pacers were nearly at full strength and began to really show it in the penultimate preseason game.

Danny Granger's return helps the Indiana Pacers in a lot of ways, not only giving the Pacers another scoring threat, but their longest tenured leader. While Granger's slow starts have been common, he was spot on tonight, with a 4-7 effort to total 9 points in his limited 12-minute run. Granger returning seemed to help Paul George as well, who didn't have to force shots at the rate he had been in the preseason, putting up his best shooting performance, a productive 4-8 for 14 points.

Lance Stephenson put forth his best effort in the preseason, really attacking the basket and creating opportunities for his teammates. He finished the night with 10 points, but with 6 assists and just one turnover, he gave those fans hoping to see growth from Lance a lot to cheer about tonight. Of course, the next step for Lance isn't a quality effort like this; he's shown them, it's moving forward with them in a more consistent manner.

Likewise, D.J. Augustin had been struggling a bit in the preseason, but in a night where the Pacers assisted on 26 of their 38 field goals, Augustin lead the way for the Pacers with 11 of those assists, falling one point shy of a double double on the night. He did struggle a bit more with ball control, committing four turnovers, but the Pacers as a team did a solid job cleaning up their turnovers in the second half, having just six giveaways after a first half where they allowed the Cavaliers to remain the game with 9 turnovers.

Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi continued their impressive preseason run with a pair of double figure scoring efforts. While Green struggled shooting at just 5-15, he did find consistent play from the three point range, going 3-7. Mahinmi not only continued to play at a surprising level as part of a 10 and 6 night of his own, but more importantly, he really helped to cover up Roy Hibbert's off night, preventing a detrimental falloff at the center position. If Mahinmi can not only play well, but play well on nights Hibbert doesn't (and vice versa), the Pacers will be fortunate to have plenty of versatility on the interior.

David West led all Pacers with 15 points and 8 rebounds, Sam Young added in 6, Tyler Hansbrough grabbed six rebounds despite his foul troubles on the night, and Orlando Johnson hit a jumper. It was a great team effort from a team that wants to win on team efforts. The Pacers will finish up their preseason run on Friday when they play the Chicago Bulls, which will air on Fox Sports Indiana.

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