Time to Trip some Pacers

Published: December 28, 2008

Matchup: Hornets(17-9) @ Pacers(10-19)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 105.6(9th), Pacers 102.5(20th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 102.1(12th), Pacers 104.8(18th)

There is a lot said about the Pacers and their coaches desire to let fly from deep, but the reality is they don’t actually do it that often.  They are the third fastest team in the league, averaging 98 posessions per game, but only let fly the 10th most often, which means the number of threes they fire per posession is actually a little below average.  In reality, the Pacers are average to a little below average at everything they do. Their shooting numbers, efficiencies, rebound rates, turnovers, assists, they all hover between 12th and 22nd in the league.

They’ve lost a couple games recently, but there is one primary reason to not take this team lightly:  They only have ten wins, but those wins include Boston, Atlanta, Houston, and the Lakers.  Most of those big wins were only by one or two points, or won in overtime, so the lesson to be learned is that if you let Indiana hang around, they can bury you.

Transition defense is a must against the Pacers.  The boys better be ready to run.


Hornets: Peja and Hilton are questionable.  Daniels is probable.
Pacers: TJ Ford has been Day-to-Day but did not play Friday.  Granger is also hurt, but playing through it.

Positional Analysis

PG: Chris Paul v Jarrett Jack
Advantage: Hornets
Every time the Hornets played the Blazers the past couple years in the Rose Garden, the announcers brought up the fact that Jarrett Jack had never lost to Chris Paul when he was defending his home court.  Not in the NBA, not in the NCAA.  If the Pacer’s announcers bring that up, we’ll know it’s Jack crowing about it, and we can all get extra satisfaction when Paul kills the streak.

SG: Pheonix Butler v Marquis Daniels
Advantage: Even
Some would look at Marquis’s scoring numbers and assume this is would go all in the Pacers favor, but it’s not.  Marquis has finally returned to the form he showed in Dallas after two horrible injury-plagued years, and his slashing attack is in full effect.  However, Butler’s defense is excellent, and he’s good at keeping his mark away from the basket and forcing deep shots – and Marquis is shooting 19% from three this year and rarely gets to the line.  It’ll be a good battle.

SF: Devin Brown v Danny Granger
Advantage: Pacers
Granger is the Pacer’s star, scoring 24 points a game.  He’s got a variety of weapons, and is able to drive, hit deep shots, and get to the line, resulting in a solid 1.3 points per shot.  Devin Brown doesn’t have a chance.  James Posey does, though.

PF: Fluffy v Troy Murphy
Advantage: Hornets
Troy Murphy is slow as hell, but he’s strong, can rebound well, and can knock down any jumpshot from the foul line to the three point line at a pretty good clip.  West will hesitate closing on him, and that’ll cost us some points, but Murphy doesn’t have a shot in hell in containing West.

C: Roy Hibbert v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
Hibbert is a recent insertion into the starting line up for the Pacers.  The 7’2″ rookie doesnt play very many minutes, but he’s showed that his ability to score in the post in college does translate to the NBA.  Once he gets his fouls under control, he’ll be pretty solid.  For now, however, Tyson is going to eat him alive.

Advantage: Even
The Pacers have two solid backup big men off the bench, Jeff Foster and Rasho Nesterovic.  Neither will be confused for stars, but both can generate some points and, especially in Foster’s case, rebound the ball.  Brandon Rush provides a decent shooter off the bench, but after that, they are pretty thin with TJ Ford injured and Jack in the starting line up.  The Hornets will probably roll out a second unit that stars Posey, Peterson and Daniels, which is a decent trio if it could be backed up with a big man.  Hey Indiana, want to trade Rasho or Jeff for someone?

Enjoy the game, Mikey’s got the recap tonight, so enjoy that too!

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