The Pacers will hit the road on Tuesday afternoon for their next two games at Charlotte on Wednesday and then at Houston on Friday.
After a 3-1 homestand against quality teams, the Pacers leveled their record at 6-6 and as one of the league leaders in pace, show no signs of slowing down. The team has surprised many around the league, currently ranking second in the league in pace, a couple of ticks slower than Golden State while also ranking near the top of the league with the Warriors and Celtics in both 3-point makes AND takes. Just as everyone suspected from a young Rick Carlisle team...right?
While the offense has carried the Pacers, while also making them immensely fun to watch, the defense remains a work in progress, but the work is also noticeable. In fact, the latest team power rankings at NBA.com, have the Pacers bouncing up from the mid-20’s to No. 13 this week. The great John Schuhmann explains in part:
The Pacers have seen the league’s second biggest jump in 3-point rate, taking 45.0% (fourth highest rate) of their shots from beyond the arc, up from 39.5% (15th) last season. And they topped 50% in wins over New Orleans and Toronto last week, outscoring the Pelicans and Raptors by 60 points (123-63) from 3-point range. Five different Pacers made at least five 3s over the two wins, and that doesn’t include Bennedict Mathurin, who’s one of nine players who’ve shot 45% or better on at least 50 3-point attempts for the season. The starting frontline – Jalen Smith and Myles Turner – combined to go 12-for-24 from deep against the Pels and Raps.
While the sample size remains small, the Pacers are among a few teams (Jazz, OKC) outperforming several assumed playoff teams. Still, as fun as the games have been, the margin of error remains slim between wining and losing for the Pacers. But every time this team puts itself in position to win late, it is a win for the future development of the many young players taking on major roles in the rotation.
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