The Indiana Pacers are 34-9 due in large part to their league-leading defense which relies on superior length, a strong dose of athleticism and Roy Hibbert defending the rim.
It takes a concerted effort and patience to find consistent scoring opportunities against the Pacers, which usually includes a strong perimeter shooting night. In several of those 34 wins, we've seen teams cry unlce some time in the second half and simply lose their spirit.
When the Pacers keep the pace in the low 90's and forcing a half-court game, things really get tough for opponents. Prior to the road trip, the Los Angeles Clippers hoped to speed things up to minimize the physical advantage the Pacers have on defense. Coach Doc Rivers thought the challenge of beating the Pacers at their own game would say a lot about how good his team was, but he preferred trying to speed the Pacers up to play his game.
"They're just so big," Rivers said before playing the Pacers. "Why would you slow down and let them put their hands on you? You would like to force a pace, but you know they're not going to let you, that's why they're really good. If you're really good, though you can play at any pace and be good. That's what we want to find out."
On that night, Rivers found out his Clips weren't good enough as the Pacers rolled to a 106-92 win.
But then the Pacers hit the road where they ran into their fair share of defensive lapses, as the Suns, Kings, Nuggets and even the Lakers, found a way to push the pace to their advantage and also create other scoring opportunities. SB Nation's Mike Prada, dug into the tape to show just how the Pacers struggled to slow down their opponents on the road.
Nevertheless, this mission is not completely impossible. Indiana's defense was a little shaky on its most recent West Coast trip, particularly in last Wednesday's blowout loss in Phoenix. Almost every other team in the league will take "a little shaky" by Pacers standards, but for elite teams that have to face Indiana in the playoffs -- I'm looking at you, Miami -- this week could be instructive. Here are a few things that have worked for the Suns, Kings, Nuggets and the few other teams that have found some success against the Pacers.
Check out the whole piece as Prada offers up six options with pictures and video to show what worked against the Pacers.
With the Suns in town on Thursday night, this is a fantastic way to note what the Pacers will need to focus on stopping in the rematch.
- Pacers Links: Pacers return home on a winning note
- Pacers final score: Pacers get back to basics in 104-92 win over Lakers
- Pacers vs. Lakers: Game coverage
- Pacers Links: Pacers prep for Lakers, Paul George talks dunks and more with Jimmy Kimmel
- Paul George appearing on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' so he can meet Guillermo