Game On: Pacers @ Hornets

Published: December 22, 2012

Last time these two teams met, the Hornets suffered a heartbreaking loss in overtime, as Paul George sank nine 3’s to lead Indiana to a 115-107 victory. The Hornets were on a four game losing streak at the time and seemed to have the game in hand with about four minutes left in the 4th, but George got crazy hot and Aminu decided that he didn’t want to cover him for whatever reason, so the losing streak was pushed to five that night. Now the Hornets come into this game hoping to snap a 10-game losing streak. If they are going to do that, they are going to have to win these small games within the game.

Keys to Victory

1. Mid-Range Jump Shooting

When you look at the advanced numbers for the Indiana Pacers defense, it is astounding how efficient they are in certain areas. They are #1 in the NBA in covering the roll man on the P&R, #1 in covering spot-up shooters, and #1 in transition defense. Their entire defense is predicated on giving up the mid-range jump shot and living (or dying) with the results. They don’t go for steals and they keep the pace down so that it becomes a half-court game. On the pick and roll, they usually go under or hedge soft, leaving the mid-range shot for the ball handler. Basically, they invite you to beat them with the least efficient shot in the game.

2. Keep Them Off the Glass

Indiana has just had a miserable year offensively. They rank 27th in FG%, 23rd in both FT% and 3-pt%, and are 26th in turnover percentage. The one thing they can do, however, is crash the boards- ranking 6th in the league in offensive rebounds with over 12 per game. Even with a poor eFG% of .466, twelve extra possessions equates to ten points. With a defense as good as theirs, they don’t have to be fantastic offensively, they just have to finish the game with more shots than you do, and this is how they do just that.

3. Get Roy Hibbert in Foul Trouble

Hibbert is prone to picking up cheap fouls and when he does, the Indiana Pacers are a completely different team. He is still one of the best post defenders in the league and his length is a big reason why the roll man hasn’t been effective against Indiana this season. Opponents shoot 36% in the post against Hibbert, but over 46% against all other defenders and the offense is also far more efficient with Hibbert on than off, as the Pacers average 104.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court and 96.9 when he is off. Putting Roy Hibbert on the bench rather than facing him on the floor will drastically increase the Hornets chances to win this one and break a brutal 10-game losing streak.

 Pre-Game Updates:

– Dell said Anthony Davis has grown a half an inch since he was drafted. Also said that his growth plates indicate he could grow more. A good chance he could grow to be a true 7-footer. He will be our future center, no question about it.

– Dell also did a masterful job of sidestepping one of our questions. We inquired about why he bought out Carroll as opposed to holding onto him and using his expiring contract in a trade. His answer? “Carroll was a good fit for our team, and then we came to a mutual decision on the buyout.” Um, okay.

– Dell also said that Eric Gordon has been cleared for full contact but he still didn’t know the exact date of his return.


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