Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Pacers offensive struggles return on the road as the Sixers take advantage with a big fourth quarter.
The Pacers spent the first three quarters appearing to suffer from a bad-loss hangover after dumping a game home to the Lakers on Friday. The body language oozed frustration, yet through the first half, David West appeared to be the only player actually willing to do anything about that salty frame of mind.
Unfortunately, West was saddled with foul trouble, so he scored nine first-half points in less than seven minutes of time on the court. The Sixers spent the first three quarters as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. With the amount of losing they've been doing of late, it seemed like Philly was just waiting for the Pacers to kick it into gear and take over the game.
But aside from West and Roy Hibbert finding some success around the rim, the Pacers remained out of sync as Paul George, Lance Stephenson and George Hill really struggled to fuel the Pacers attack. The Pacers took a one point lead to the fourth quarter, but then the Sixers realized the Pacers were indeed vulnerable and started knocking down shots as part of a 17-4 run to open the fourth.
The Pacers would never fully recover, save for a desperate run late in the game to keep the final score within single digits. And just like that, the Pacers are dealing with some adversity after losing three of their last four games. Instead of putting a strangle hold on second place in the East, the Pacers have allowed themselves to remain among the pack battling for playoff position.
A few other thoughts:
- David West finished the game with 18 points and Roy Hibbert added 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Pacers found some success when they could get the ball in the paint. On the other end, Philly center Spencer Hawes countered with a huge game, flirting with a quadruple double (I know) by logging 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 blocked shots.
- Jrue Holiday made the Sixers go early by scoring 20 points in the first half. The Sixers point guard let his teammates take over in the second half as he dished out 12 assists. But when it was closing time and the Pacers tried to show some life, Holiday scored four of his 27 points to put away the Pacers.
- Paul George had a nice stat line but his offensive game remains discombobulated of late. PG is the target of too much dribbling and additional defensive attention which has taken him out of his comfort zone. When desperate times kicked in late in the game PG quit thinking and just started launching, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the final five minutes of the game which looks nice next to his 14 rebounds and 8 assists.
- Lance Stephenson, also appears to be falling victim to his earlier success as his offensive game is lacking the confidence and attack mode he showed just two weeks ago. Stephenson's only points came on a fourth quarter layup in transition.
The Pacers remain on the road for their next game when they play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
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