The Indiana Pacers rolled up the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half, closing the first two quarters on a 49-12 run that put them ahead 62-31. The first half play was impressive for a number of reasons, not the least of which to do with how the Pacers dug in defensively. After a quick start by the Bucks (rather, a quick start by Giannis Antetokounmpo), the Pacers held Milwaukee to just 29% shooting for the first half, forcing 11 turnovers along the way.
As the Pacers forced Milwaukee into empty possessions, they turned it into points on their end, outscoring Milwaukee 17-0 in fast break points in the first half. The Bucks brought life in the second half, but at least in a preseason setting, Indiana saw what they needed to see from their defense to look towards some long term confidence; especially as they were short Paul George for a second straight game.
The only real concern with the defense came early when the aforementioned Antetokounmpo took Monta Ellis to task. Antetokounmpo's length and size was a nightmare for Ellis, but the matchup didn't get much better when Indiana made switches. George can go a long way in helping minimize the damage a player like Antetokounmpo can dish out, but it only highlighted the dangers of a small Jeff Teague/Ellis backcourt.
The good news in solving that problem (aside from C.J. Miles and George being interchangeable in the 2/3 role) is the preseason emergence of Glenn Robinson III. Robinson has been one of the most pleasant surprises so far, scoring 11 points on 3-3 shooting from three point range.
Glenn Robinson III now III for III from III. #Pacers— Tom Lewis (@IndyCornrows) October 13, 2016
While he may be more suited as a small forward than shooting guard, if he can play himself up as a potential starter, it would give size to the backcourt, if nothing else than in a matchup role, though that would do little to solve the Ellis/Rodney Stuckey (and Aaron Brooks) dilemma.
Whatever dilemma would arise from an Ellis/Stuckey backcourt, there's none with Stuckey himself so far this preseason. Stuckey attributes his training camp success to finally being healthy and if he can play at a comparable level without having to deal with nagging injuries, it stands to be a huge boost for the Indiana second unit. Stuckey led all scorers with 21 points, but more impressively, was a perfect 4-4 from three point range.
Indiana's depth has been a nice positive early in the preseason, with Lavoy Allen stepping up tonight for a 12 point, 11 rebound double double. Allen secured seven offensive boards and was a perfect 4-4 from the line. He helped lift up a lackluster game from Al Jefferson, who had four points on 2-7 shooting, but did have 10 rebounds of his own, even coming up with a live ball steal in the first half.
Teague led the starters with 15 while both Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner scored nine points. The pair combined for three blocks, with Young's lone block being one of the few instances for tonight's Pacers that effectively dealt with Antetokounmpo's chaos. Turner on the other hand had four fouls, and with some defensive concerns in the backcourt, it will be a stat to keep an eye on for the second year center.
All in all, the Pacers showed a lot of good things as the regular season sits just two weeks away. Friday night will be the 5th and penultimate preseason game as they travel to Florida to face Frank Vogel and the Orlando Magic.