If worried about how the Indiana Pacers would respond to a heartbreaker of a loss to the Spurs, the Pacers answered that question early (and often) against he New Orleans Pelicans. A close game out of the gate, Indiana opened things up with a 12-1 run to turn a 12-8 game into a 24-9 Pacers advantage. New Orleans would trim a point off the lead after the first quarter as the Pacers led 32-18.
New Orleans wouldn't climb any closer than 14, as eight quick points from Rodney Stuckey, including a pair of threes as Indiana expanded their lead to 23. The Pelicans shaved eight off of that lead with an 8-0 run, but a strong close to the half, including two of three George Hill threes in the quarter, put Indiana on a 10-2 run to close the half, leading 57-35. The Pacers made seven three pointers in the first half, shooting 53%.
In the third quarter, the Pacers didn't leave anything in the locker room, opening the game up to a 30-point advantage, shooting nearly 60% at the end of the third, where Indiana led 89-60, sending the Pacers into the All-Star Break with a win after a quarter of garbage time. The Pelicans were notably short Anthony Davis, but even that absence didn't explain how poorly New Orleans played.
The domination the Pacers put on display through the first three quarter was in rare form, as they held New Orleans to 38% shooting through the first three quarters and were on a roll on the offensive roll. By the time the fourth quarter started, Indiana was shooting 59.3%, 8-16 from three point range, outscoring New Orleans 18-8 in points off turnovers, and assisting on 24 of their 35 buckets through the third.
Indiana got their best play from their best players, which was important on a night where they had the two best players in the game. David West scored 11 points on 5-5 shooting in the first quarter, as part of a 17 points night where he was a dominating 8-9 from the floor. As well, George Hill was 6-11, going 4-5 from three point range as part of his own 17 point night.
More so than simply shooting the ball well, it was the ball movement from both West and Hill that really opened things up for Indiana. The Pacers had no shortage of dimes all night, and they were led by West and Hill, with seven and nine assists respectively. It set up the Pacers in great position to hit the looks they were given, including Solomon Hill, who had 12 points on 4-5 shooting with a pair of threes.
Rodney Stuckey also shot well, going 7-10 from the floor with a pair of threes himself, scoring 16 points on the night. If there was any downside to tonight's game, it was with Roy Hibbert stumbling through the game with foul trouble, unable to stay on the floor, but playing reasonably well when he was in the game, finishing with nine points, six rebounds, and two blocks.
What Hibbert's foul trouble did offer Indiana was the return of Ian Mahinmi, who had eight rebounds in his 19 minutes, grabbing three offensive boards on the night. Luis Scola had seven points and seven boards off the bench and C.J. Miles scored 12 on 4-11 shooting. Damjan Rudez also put in some work, scoring six points and C.J. Watson scored seven.
The Pacers enter a week off for the All-Star Break with a 21-33 record, having won four of their last five, and keeping them within two games of the seventh and eighth playoff spot. For the All-Star Weekend, the Pacers will be without representation, but will hopefully give them plenty of time to rest up and work out for the final stretch of the regular season, where Indiana starts on the road next Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers.