Game On: Pacers @ Pelicans

Published: January 8, 2016

The Pacers are one of those teams that don’t get any respect.  If you look at their line-up, only Paul George strikes you as an above average player.  (and yes, he’s really good)  Even George has his warts, as he’s not a natural offensive force – due to his middle of the road ball-handling.  There isn’t another guy on the team even averaging 14 ppg, no one gets 5 assists or more, and only two others grab better than 5 rebounds a game – and those guys are at 7.    Their primary point guard averages 3 assists.  3 assists!

And they are still a good team, sporting the 3rd best defense and the 14th best offense in the league.  Their offense really is a middle of the pack sort of thing.  They have an eFG% in the middle of the pack, a turnover rate in the middle of the pack, an offensive rebound rate in the middle of the pack, and a free throw rate in the middle of the pack.  They shoot an almost exactly average number of three pointers.

So how does this flawed Pelicans team win?

Keys to the Game

  • Protect the ball.  No disinterested hand offs.  No telegraphed entry passes.  Don’t forget Paul George has arms longer than most men are tall.  The Pacers feast on turnovers and generate most of their easy points that way.  Limit it.
  • Hit the glass.  The Pacers get a decent number of offensive rebounds, but they aren’t elite.  They are poor on the defensive glass.  Asik has been more of a presence, and AD is doing his thing.  Turn that into an advantage.
  • Remember Anthony Davis is on the floor.  The Pacers have good defensive guards on the perimeter.  Their interior defenders aren’t as good.  Get the ball inside – but not on straight post-ups, because that enables the Pacers to use their speed to double and recover, run people off lines and generate turnovers from bad ball handlers.  Run plays to get the ball to AD on the move at the elbow or crossing the paint and he’ll be able to score a lot.

Enjoy the game!

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