And by rare, I don't mean they simply outscored the Sixers to post only their 21st win of the season. It was the way the Pacers outscored the Sixers that was rare.
Roy Hibbert set the tone early working out of the post, but not with his array of hook shots. Instead he took advantage of some early touches in the post to find his teammates for open shots they were able to cash in.
With Danny Granger suspended for the night, the Pacers had to make up for the missing 23 points and they did so in stunning fashion by simply moving the basketball, cutting to the hoop and not settling for perimeter jumpers unless they were good, open looks. I know, such simplicity shouldn't be stunning, but it was. In fact, midway through the second quarter, the Pacers had only taken four three-point shots, making two.
The player and ball movement churned throughout the game which was certainly a rare sight to see. The Pacers average 20 assists and 15 turnovers per game, but tonight they dished out 32 assists while only giving the ball up 10 times. Earl Watson and T.J. Ford combined for 17 assists and only 3 turnovers. Talk about rare.
As for Granger's missing points, Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jonespicked up the slack. Normally Granger, Rush and Jones average a combined 43 points. Against the Sixers, Rush and Dahntay put up 49.
Dahntay shook off a DNP-CD in Phoenix to come off the bench and tie his season high with 25 points on only 15 FGAs. Rush eclipsed his season high with 24 points along with 9 rebounds. Rush also put up a season high 20 shot attempts, flashing a rare aggressive streak at the offensive end. His big night could've been monstrous without a few of his typical misses around the rim, but it was nice to see Rush assertive and stroking it well on the perimeter.
After the jump, more thoughts on the win.
- Roy Hibbert played a solid all-around game, making positive things happen while he was on the floor. Hibbert finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists including 6 offensive rebounds, although he only played 24 minutes. No, he wasn't in foul trouble, it was just his trouble handling the Sixers on the pick and roll. Personally I would've like to see him get some more reps in that area where he struggles defensively, but the end result was still a solid game for Hibbert.
- This is a game that set up perfectly for the Pacers to win even without Granger. The team is relatively healthy and rested, plus the short-term boost of not having Granger brought out a great effort from several players willing to take advantage of the opportunity.
- Young player development took a backseat tonight. While Josh McRoberts was the first player off the bench, played less than five minutes. The Sixers made a little run after McRoberts replaced Hibbert in the first quarter and that was all the time he saw. As for A.J. Price, he DNP-CD''d once again as Watson and Ford both played around 39 minutes.
- Rookie Jrue Holiday looked the part of a first round draft pick for the Sixers scoring 21 points on 15 shots. Seemed real comfortable on the court with the ball in his hands.
- Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand couldn't get anything going all night. Brand only played 20 minutes and Iggy was only able to put up 5 points.
- Samuel Dalembertreturned to the starting lineup for the Sixers and was able to match Hibbert's effort pretty well. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks in only 22 minutes.