Roy Hibbert wasn't shy in his post game comments about he and the team's thoughts on the league's decision to re-schedule the Indiana Pacers a back-to-back-to-back with their game against Chicago, suggesting the league wanted to protect the Bulls from a four game in five night stretch in early March. It was clear this was on the minds of the Pacers the entire night against the Philadelphia 76ers, and despite tired legs and long jumpers, managed to key in defensively against Philadelphia to run away from them in the second half.
It wasn't pretty, or even passable basketball for much of the night, but it was nothing short of satisfying, knowing that no one would blame them for letting off the gas tonight. They mustered up 51 second half points, including 29 in the fourth quarter to bury a short-handed Philly team. While Philadelphia was without Thaddeus Young, also receiving news during the game that Jason Richardson would miss the rest of the season, very few bodies stepped up against the Pacers defense. Jrue Holiday had 17 to lead the way, but didn't get much help from his starting unit. A pair of nice efforts from Arnett Moultaire and Lavoy Allen with 12 off the bench was all the support Holiday would get.
For the Pacers, Roy Hibbert led the way with a 18 & 14 double double on a night the box score was non-existent in Philadelphia. Hibbert was a big part of Indiana's success on both ends of the floor tonight, limiting Allen to two points in the second half. Hibbert's game has slowly found its legs offensively, and his words after the game sent the message home that he was still working just as hard despite the struggles.
Paul George, David West, and George Hill each pitched in with 15, with George, Hill, and Lance Stephenson each dishing out five assists (six for George) according to the potentially misleading box score from SI.com. While guys weren't electrifying, they were there tonight when the team needed to maintain, regain, or extend their lead over the Sixers. The bench offered some nice minutes, Orlando Johnson hitting a pair of step back three pointers, Tyler Hansbrough working towards the line, and D.J. Augustin scoring six.
The Pacers made a lot of nice steps in tonight's win. The 69 is a season low in points allowed, a nice sign considering how the defense has slipped in PA with the Pacers offense waking up. Indiana finished their back-to-back-to-back at an impressive 3-0, winning their fifth straight overall, and getting a road win to improve their record to 11-16. Indiana sits at 31-19, and with a New York loss tonight, climb to within a game and a half of the 2nd seeded Knicks. Indiana will get a much earned day off before taking to the floor again on Friday to face the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The new look Raptors are 1-2 since acquiring Rudy Gay with losses to Miami and Boston.