The Indiana Pacers continued their season with a home matchup against the Orlando Magic. Coming into Monday’s game, the Pacers had won three of their last four. Paul George started off hot, scoring 19 in the first quarter and nine of the first 11 points of the game. Orlando was able to fight their way back into the game, tying the score at the end of the first quarter.
After two closely contested quarters, the Pacers used a quick hot streak and strong rebounding/defense to take the lead in the final quarter and never looked back. Indiana overcame an issue they have been struggling with all season and finally closed out a game. As mentioned here, the Pacers, until this week, were one of the worst second-half teams in the league. They had a second-half rating of -58.4. Indiana has cleaned up that mark a bit and they now have a second-half net rating of -13.2. While their second half efficiency is still below league average, it is so much better than a week ago. As the Pacers get more accustomed to each other and their new style, their turnover rate will drop while their field goal/assists rates should rise.
Monta Ellis continued his streak of awful play. There was an outlier game against the Cleveland Cavaliers where he scored 25, but last night, Ellis looked bad as usual. He shot 11 percent from the field, scored two points, and turned the ball over twice. He dished out four assists, but was largely ineffective. The Pacers signed Monta Ellis to a $44 million dollar contract in the offseason with the thought of him being their second scoring option and playing Robin to Paul George’s Batman. So far the results are less than stellar.
His stats this season :
PPG – 11.1, his lowest since his rookie season
APG – 4.8, second lowest in seven years
RPG – 3.4, right around his average
FGP- .353%, lowest EVER
That’s not worth 44 million.
The Pacers are winning collective wins, but they haven’t played very many good teams yet, and their one tough game was a loss to Cleveland. Indiana has been winning against lower-tier teams, but the upper echelon teams will continue to destroy the Pacers if Monta Ellis can’t get his game back on track. The supporting cast surrounding PG13 and Monta just isn’t good enough to allow much room for Ellis to struggle. The Pacers will need him as the season wears on; hopefully he can turn it around before it’s too late.
Myles Turner continued strong play to start the season, putting up ten points and four rebounds in just 19 minutes. Myles shot an efficient 4-6 from the field and looks to be commanding more minutes with his excellent play. His counterpart, Ian Mahinmi has been solid, but Turner appears to be the better of two moving forward. Myles, already a fan favorite, is earning more playing time and that should only benefit the Pacers in the long run. Yes, they said they wanted to ease him into the league, but he seems to be adjusting quite well and it may be time to take the training wheels off.
A key aspect of the win for Indiana was defense. The Magic shot 39 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep. Indiana’s defense was a big part of this forcing the Magic into tough shots. While underrated, the defense of the Pacers has been a very good this year, ranking sixth in opponent scoring per game. Another big stat for them is their defensive rating, which is sitting even at 100.0. While their current mark most likely isn’t sustainable, Indiana still has a chance to be the best defensive team in the league.
The Pacers look on to Boston tomorrow night for the second game against the Celtics this season. Indiana got a close win the first time, hopefully they will build on their success lately and continue their hot streak. Tip-off is at 7:30.
7:00 PM ET, November 9, 2015
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Orl: E. Fournier 21 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl
Ind: G. Hill 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk