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Pacers 117, Thunder 99: Pacers Start Strong, Win Big

With thunder rumbling back home in Indy, the Indiana Pacers heard little noise from the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Sunday night while cruising to a 117-99 win.

The Pacers starters were on point all night and pushed the Pacers to an early lead and then put the game out of reach in the third quarter with a spectacular shooting performance and a "good enough" defensive effort.

When discussing the "starters" tonight, I include T.J. Ford in the discussion because, while he comes off the bench, Ford and Roy Hibbert essentially split time. So throwing in Ford's numbers, the starters shot 54.7% (40-73) for the game.

At the other end, the OKC starters shot 32% (17-53). Kevin Durant had 19 first-half points but couldn't get it going in the second half and the Thunder faded away without Durant's offense.

The good news is that the Pacers went on the road, with little to play for but pride and they puffed out their chests and put in a strong effort. I'm more interested in observing individual play at this point, but the team still has to give a great effort to make any analysis of individual play worthwhile. Fortunately with this team, the effort is rarely an issue.

A few more thoughts:

  • Danny Granger began the game on fire, hitting his first six shots and finished with 24 points. It was a rare night when Granger didn't have the 3-ball stroke going at all as he missed all five of his attempts.
  • Troy Muphy did have the 3-ball going, though. Murph knocked down all six of his long-ball attempts to finish with 22 points and 9 rebounds. One measly carom away from another double-double. Both Murphy and Granger were sloppy with the ball coughing up four turnovers each.
  • Roy Hibbert had a nice night, really pulling his weight in the third quarter when the Pacers pulled away. Hibbert played 23 minutes and finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds and didn't foul out. The big rook has done a good job of battling through a tough stretch of games where he didn't play well. This game should give him a boost for the remainder of the season.
  • Speaking of rooks, Brandon Rush had his eighth straight game in double figures finishing with 13 points.
  • For Oklahoma City, former IU forward D.J. White made his NBA debut in fine fashion finishing with 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting. White made his first appearance in the first half and immediately logged a couple of buckets. After the injuries and all of the junk he went through at IU, it was great to see a strong debut from White tonight. Hopefully he'll get more minutes during the remaining game for the Thunder. I know I'll be checking the OKC boxes closer than usual.