Pacers Continue To Win Ugly

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — As the TNT audience witnessed on Thursday night, Pacers basketball ain’t pretty. Sure, Carmelo Anthony was out for the Knicks, but an 81-76 result isn’t exactly atypical for a Pacers game, no matter who’s on the floor.

The victory, which brought the surging Pacers within a game and a half of the Knicks for second place in the Eastern Conference, was the ninth game the Pacers have won in which they scored less than 90 points. No other team in the league has more than three such victories this season.

Through Thursday, the Pacers rank No. 1 in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing just 95.4 points per 100 possessions. And they rank 29th in offensive efficiency, scoring just 97.8. To make things even uglier, they’ve played at the third slowest pace in the league, just 92.4 possessions per 48 minutes.

Put that all together and you’ve got just 180.0 total points in your average Pacers game. That’s the lowest total PPG average of any team since significant rules changes were made after the ugly 2003-04 season. Yes, even lower than any team had in last year’s lockout-shortened season.

Fewest total points (scored + allowed) per game, last nine seasons

Season Team PTS OppPTS TotPTS Diff.
2012-13 Indiana 90.9 89.1 180.0 +1.9
2005-06 Memphis 92.2 88.5 180.6 +3.7
2011-12 Boston 91.8 89.3 181.2 +2.5
2005-06 Houston 90.1 91.7 181.8 -1.6
2004-05 Detroit 93.3 89.5 182.8 +3.9
2011-12 New Orleans 89.6 93.4 183.0 -3.8
2011-12 Philadelphia 93.6 89.4 183.0 +4.2
2012-13 Memphis 94.8 89.1 183.8 +5.7
2004-05 New Orleans 88.4 95.5 184.0 -7.1
2005-06 San Antonio 95.6 88.8 184.3 +6.8

Though the games may be painful to watch, the above list isn’t necessarily bad company to be in. Assuming both the Pacers and Grizzlies make the postseason, seven of the 10 teams above are playoff teams, and two made the conference finals. No. 14 on this list is the 2004-05 Spurs, who beat the above-listed Pistons in The Finals.

After a slow start, the Pacers are now proving that they’re a top-four team in the East. In just the last 11 days, they’ve knocked off the Grizzlies, Bucks, Heat and Knicks. With some help from a home-heavy schedule, they’re 12-3 since Dec. 12, having allowed a paltry 92.2 points per 100 possessions over the 15 games.

They’re essentially out-Thibodeau-ing the Bulls, who they lead by a game and a half in the Central Division. The two most efficient shots in the game are shots from the restricted area and corner 3-pointers. The Pacers are No. 1 in defending both.

Mike Wells, writing for USA Today, has the story from Indianapolis

If you didn’t believe in the Pacers before, it’s time to start believing now.

“I think our confidence is high and I think it’s been like that all year,” Pacers point guard George Hill said. “We let a lot of games slip and let some tough ones slip away, too. But we think we can compete with any team in the NBA and we have to carry ourselves that way and keep playing that way.”

The way the Pacers play isn’t always pretty. Their offense is still miles behind their defense, which is the best in the NBA. They put their workman boots on and compete every game.

The Pacers held the Knicks to 35% shooting. New York guard J.R. Smith came off the bench to lead all scorers with 25 points.

“They’re rising to the challenge,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Anybody that knows sports knows that a team that can be the best defensive team in the league, whatever sport it is, has a chance to go all the way. We’re keeping it on an even keel. We’re understanding what we’re doing defensively is special. If our offense ever starts catching up, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

Things may change when Danny Granger comes back from his left knee injury. But we’ve learned that timely and unimpaired returns from extended absences are no guarantee in this league.

Meanwhile, the Pacers have learned how to win (ugly) without their All-Star forward.


  1. Patty says:

    Pacers are going no where.

  2. Patty says:

    Pacers winning now but you can bet that want last.

  3. Sam says:

    The pacer are a force be reckoned with. They beat the heat and Knicks in the same week without there best offensive weapon Danny granger

  4. DD24 says:

    If the Celtics are so great on both ends of the floor, then why does Indiana have the better record despite missing their star player for the entire season thus far?

  5. John says:

    Pacers fans just relax for a while..maybe you forgot last play off your team was crying baby and trash talker hahaha 4-2 in heat nothing you can do about it lol

    • Sam says:

      Well to be honest budyy… That is not gonna happen this year…. N u wanna know y?? Cos this time the league is stricter about flops… Flops were the reason Heat got so many calls their way….. QueenJames is so fragile that he drops to the floor even if his defender just breathes hard…. Haha….

  6. Donyboy says:

    I’ve been Pacers fan since moving to this city and it’s been almost 20 years now. I’ve seen the Pacers through good and bad times, and I think that today’s Pacers team has the potential to become the Pacers team that went to East Conference Finals three times in a row, lead by Reggie Miller. That team didn’t rush, itspace was slower than most, but they were deadly because of the solid gameplan. This is why I am extremely pleased to see slower tempo. This drives most team crazy, and let it drive them crazy. True, we didn’t get a superstar in a trade or lured one in a free agency. Guess what – we are closing to raising one. It’s been done with Reggie. It is being done with Paul George. Danny’s injury made him evolve much quicker and he is no longer a boy. He is a man, and soon to be a real power. With Paul unleashing 30 points a game and taking on the best offensive player every night, with healthy Hill, Granger and Hibbert the Pacers will wear any opponent in 7 games. And Hibbert is not even a key part of it, getting Ian Mahinmi is a huge win – he is as solid as Roy, if not better offensively.

    Not being crazy with predicting NBA finals, but I think Pacers will march into Conference finals in the next three seasons. And then who knows.

    • dattebayo says:

      Wow, the Pacers will reach the Conference Finals within the next 3 seasons, way to go out on a limb there :O

      I think the Pacers have huge potential, but Hibbert is frustrating to watch on offense. He looked decent last year, but all he does now is miss layups, which is really a soft staple for a 7-2 guy. His defense is good overall, even though his pick and roll defense is bad, but he gets paid the most and is underachieving to say the least. If they end up playing a quality team with solid defense and offense, I see them really struggle unless they can outrebound the other team in every game and have Granger and George carry the team on offense. This year, I like the Bulls, Celtics and Heat over the Pacers, but who knows what happens next year.

  7. asdfg says:

    I remember i think last week the Celtics gave them a taste of their own medicine. Pacer’s are nowhere close to the defense of the Celtics.

    • asdfg says:

      Also the Pacer are Great Defensively but poor offensively while the celtics are great on both ends of the floor.

      • DD24 says:

        If the Celtics are so great on both ends of the floor, then why does Indiana have the better record despite missing their star player for the entire season thus far?

      • @DD24 says:

        Indiana has size with West and Hibbert, the Celtics have only Garnett and 2 undersized power forwards and one of those is a rookie. And all the Pacers have on the Celtics is three more wins. Had they lost 3 more games, they would have the same record as Boston.

        And sorry, but Danny Granger is not a star and neither is Hibbert. You better hope PG doesn’t get hurt, because the Pacers couldn’t fill that void.

  8. W/E says:

    Pacers have a weak roster.Dont expect anything in the playoffs really.

  9. James says:

    Lol nobody commenting knows anything about basketball just stop ommenting

  10. Boogie says:

    I love my Pacers, but they can’t handle the Spurs……Not yet anyways. Got a little ways to go to be better than the Spurs, Miami, OKC, and even tho I hate to say it…..the Knicks. And when Rose comes back, Chicago will be tough too. Hell Chicago is tough now. Danny’s offense and Hibbert finding his missing shot can only help. If there was any organization the P’s should model themselves after, it’d be the Spurs. Here’s hoping we can get to that level.

  11. Focus says:

    Dropping the HEAT! Playoffs are a totally different animal, while I respect the Pacers team, the issue is will they endure a 7 game series against any of the elite teams…

  12. spguide says:

    Pacers is far better team than the Spurs ,were you kidding ???

  13. inyoface says:

    i would put money on the pacers dropping the heat out of the finals this year

  14. chandelr says:

    prix….. i promise you spurs are better then the pacers

  15. bu says:

    Pacers have been overachieving in the last 3 years so have to hand it to the coaching staff & Bird. However, even with Granger back soon, & even if he’s 100%, Pacers’ offense will have regressed from last yr. Out-Thibodeau-ing is good unless they can contain potent offensive teams like Miami to 85 pts or less every game. Otherwise, they’ll not go far in playoffs.

    Always tough for small market teams to get a star player.

    • PacerNation#1 says:

      Sounds like a typical small market PACERS HATER kind of response to me. Call us ugly, call us over achieving, call it what ever you want, in the end you will have no other choice than to honor the Pacers new Title… CHAMPS! What other team has faced so much adversity this season that is WINNING games?…. ?…..? need some help? NONE! Proof is in the putting, and the putting is what the pacers are doing!

    • jw says:

      Pacers will make a very strong playoff run this year, given health. If Danny comes back 100%, and Roy can stay healthy, this team has all the pieces needed to make a title run. They may not have a superstar, but they play defensive, and they do have players that they go to down the stretch (Mainly David West). Not to mention a deep bench, size, youth.. shooters. Everything needed.

    • slider821 says:

      Are Granger and Hibbert not star enough for you? That offensive regression is because hibbert is playing like he’s overpaid. Can’t blame underperforming and Hibbert’s poor paint shooting on being a small market.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      I LOVE what the Pacers are doing. I really likis Pacers team. They are big, and athletic.

      Will their lack of offensive come to bite them though? That is a lingering question. I am not quite sure they could contend for a title yet, but they are pretty close to actually being a championship team…

  16. prix says:

    It doesnt matter…win is a win…and Pacers is far way more better team than Spurs, Lakers and Boston.

    • Logic says:

      lol the pacers have a long way to go until they achieve the level of the spurs. inconsistent *cough cough*

      • kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

        The pacers are winning because the play team defense and players are getting more minutes and taking full advantge of those minutes and players like stevenson and george have really made improvements in there game and the coach is getting the most out of his players, i like what there doing and hope they keep it up the good play, the playoffs are going to be a diffrent game but the pacers are improving they can give miami a run for there money and anyone else