Once again, an Indiana Pacers team short Paul George didn’t play to their margin of error, allowing the Phoenix Suns to run all over them. The Suns closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run that they used to lead through the second quarter. The Pacers finally took the lead in the third, but due to an inability to get stops, they could never push the lead beyond a single point.
Indiana struggled with rebounding in the second half as the Suns followed up seemingly every miss with a second chance bucket. To end the game, Phoenix had 30 second chance points on 18 offensive rebounds. Combined with 18 Pacers turnovers, Indiana simply made things too easy for Phoenix and didn’t have the firepower to overcome their porous defense as the Suns outscored Indiana 27-14 in the fourth.
The Pacers lost C.J. Miles to a knee injury in the first quarter and while Glenn Robinson III had a big third quarter as part of his nine point night, the lack of George and Miles took away any threat the Pacers had beyond the arc; as a team they shot just 1-7 from three point range, while Phoenix went 9-26.
The lack of three point shooting threats really hurt Indiana, especially in the third quarter. When they finally broke into the lead, there was no threat of them ever being able to do anything but split baskets with Phoenix, which ultimately made it impossible for the Pacers to find any breathing room once they did take the lead.
Roster wise, this was a concern entering the season. Indiana effectively has two three point shooters on the roster, and with both out, the Pacers made no effort to make it a part of the game. The seven three point attempts is the lowest in the league this season, and the first time this season a team has shot under 10 three pointers in a game.
The Pacers had a number of other problems that weren’t limited to three pointers, but with George’s ankle lingering and the severity of Miles’s knee unknown, even cleaning up the rebounding, cleaning up the defense, cleaning up the turnovers, the Pacers can still stand to falter due to lack of shooting threats.
As for the game, Indiana was led by Myles Turner with 22 on 9-13 shooting and Jeff Teague scored 21 on 6-10 shooting, but no one else on the Pacers broke double figures. Phoenix meanwhile had seven double figure scorers, five of those coming off the bench.
Nothing quite went Indiana’s way after they took the lead; Phoenix wanted it more and Indiana wasn’t equipped, nor did they play sound enough to prevent the Suns from running away with it in the second half. Things will get more difficult as the Pacers head to Oklahoma City to face Russell Westbrook and the Thunder as Indiana still searches for their first road win of the season.