If tonight's Indiana Pacers rotation is what Frank Vogel has in mind for his team's success heading into the regular season, there's plenty of reason to be excited after the Pacers dispatched of the Hawks 107-89. Of course, it might be best if there wasn't a first quarter in some of these games, but despite a woeful start where the Pacers shot under 32%, scored just 15 points, and had nothing to hang their hat on besides a couple of three pointers, they flipped the script in a big way to take a second quarter lead and not look back.
The third and fourth quarters were run almost entirely by David West and Luis Scola, lighting up the scoreboard as the Pacers scored 61 second half points. West led all scorers with 24, going 9-16 from the floor with seven rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. Even in a game where Roy Hibbert and George Hill were largely nonexistent, there's no substitute for having a guy who carry the team for stretches to not only help along his team, but to actually extend the lead.
There's also no substitute for having a player capable of scoring 20 points off the bench, as was the case with Luis Scola, who had nearly all of his points in the second half, going 10-15 and doing his work in 18 minutes, offering no step off from West's offensive output. The Pacers got 20 points from a bench player just twice last season, making Scola's potential worth off the bench nearly immeasurable.
Paul George pitched in 17 points on a surprisingly efficient 5-10 shooting, since it didn't appear he had much of a shot going. He was a perfect 6-6 from the line on a night the Pacers were an excellent 19-22 from the charity stripe. Lance Stephenson had just six, but was a walking triple double threat again tonight, dishing eight assists and grabbing six boards. Equally as impressive were the turnover numbers from the two: George had just a single miscue while Stephenson had none.
Similar to the game against Cleveland, the Pacers began erratic with the ball, with seven first quarter turnovers, but finished up with 16, ultimately winning the turnover battle and winning the points off turnovers. As well, the Pacers won in other areas, including rebounds, not only on the defensive side, but the offensive glass as well, grabbing eight. The Pacers also won the bench battle, with not only Scola, but C.J. Watson reaching double figures, scoring an efficient 11.
The Pacers have one more shot to get into regular season mode as they travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks on Friday night, playing some solid 36-minute basketball. The next step before the season opener is to extend that quality play across 48 minutes.