Paul George’s shot continues to not find the bottom of the net; he finished the night 4 of 17 from the field. George Hill lacked the aggressiveness that can make the Pacers offense difficult to defend. And David West had a ho-hum eight points on 4 of 9 shooting. After the game, the Pacers attributed some of the struggles to the Knicks switching screens, which can eliminate openings to the basket.
But one guy did have it going, Roy Hibbert. He finished with 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting. He scored 14 points in the third quarter, and had eight straight Pacer points in 1:41.
"I felt that we were lacking and the way we were playing wasn't working in terms of outside shots. So I decided to take it upon myself," Hibbert said, according to the Indy Star.
Hibbert was running the floor, getting in position and either overpowering or navigating his way around Cole Aldrich.
But once Aldrich checked out, and Tyson Chandler was back on Hibbert, the Pacers stopped going to him. He got just two shot attempts in the fourth quarter.
Now, Chandler is a superior defender to Aldrich, which would account for Hibbert’s dominance ending once the Knicks made the switch. But on two of his only touches in the first half, Hibbert’s hook shot was just as effective against Chandler.
Hibbert only shot twice in the first half, both hook shots over Chandler. Hibbert wasn’t exactly pleased with the offense before his third-quarter spree.
Again from the Indy Star: "We've fallen in love with the jump shot for a while," Hibbert said. "People feel like they have it going and they want to do it themselves sometimes. That's just how it works. I feel like two guys that I have 100 percent trust in doing that is Paul and David. I feel like they should have carte blanche on whatever they want to do in terms of attacking the paint and (put) the ball's in their hands because they've earned my respect."
"They're able to do it at a high level, even if they start off a little slow but I know they're going to bring it. Those guys have the green light whenever they have it, but other than that I think we should move the ball and get people involved."
But neither George nor West should be playing hero ball. No Pacer should be doing it by themself. George has shown the potential to be a superstar, but during his recent slump, he shouldn’t be given free reign on offense. West is dynamite from 15 feet, and when he has a mismatch in the post because an opponent went small. But when defenses take those strengths away, West shouldn’t be forcing shots up either – which he didn’t do against the Knicks.
The point is the Pacers don’t have an offensive superstar. So no one should be forcing shots. The Pacers have to use their flex screens, post ups, flare screens for threes and everything else they run to get open looks. The Pacers have to ride the hot hand, regardless of who it is. And against New York the Pacers ignored Hibbert.
Sure Hibbert has struggled offensively. He’s never shot above 50 percent, and is at 46.6 percent this year. But he had his hook shot rolling against New York, and Tyson Chandler’s presence shouldn’t have deterred the Pacers from finding him.
Assuming Hibbert kept on rolling, the Knicks would have sent double teams at him, which could have opened up threes for the guards or 15 footers for West.
Essentially, Indiana needs to ride the hot hand on offense, regardless of who it is.