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Pistons hit the road and play at Indiana

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (22-34) at Indiana Pacers (33-21)
  • Date: February 22, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After thrashing the New York Knicks by 34 points on Wednesday night, the Indiana Pacers earned a little bit of national attention for their performance. It’s well deserved, but actually a bit late.

The Pacers have the third best record in the Eastern Conference and are breathing down the Knickerbockers’ neck for the second seed in the east despite Danny Granger’s absence from the lineup this season.

Frank Vogel’s unit has won six-of-eight games in the month of February, and their lone two defeats came in overtime against a surging Brooklyn Nets team that has now won four games in a row and a Toronto Raptors squad that has won six-of-nine contests since acquiring Rudy Gay.

Indiana’s recent stretch of good basketball coincides with an increase in offensive production that has them looking like somewhat of a juggernaut. In their eight games this month, they are scoring 108.7 points per 100 possessions — if we remove the blowout victory over the Knicks, they still produce 106.8 points per 100 possession — per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, which would be the third best mark in the Association.

It’s not a case of the Pacers defeating a bunch of matadors either. In this recent stretch, they’ve produced impressive showings against the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks; all of which are in the top 12 of defensive efficiency rankings this season.

Part of the reason Indy has thrived offensively as of late is due to Paul George’s emergence as a playmaker and David West’s willingness to capitalize off the newfound opportunities presented by his teammate.

The Pacers’ strength is their frontcourt and thus opponents and fans expect them to relentlessly pound the ball on the interior and force double teams and what have you.

Vogel does a good job of creating some misdirection plays where it looks as though the ball is supposed to go inside on the block, but in actuality he’s running a player off a screen on the weak side to catch and shoot or catch and drive.

In many instances, that player can be Paul George or George Hill, both of which are more than competent at attacking the paint off the dribble.

Make no mistake though, Indiana will do their damage on the interior.

On Jan. 30, the Pacers used Paul George on the interior to set some terrific screens for both David West and Roy Hibbert against the Detroit Pistons and it gave them fits.

Both of Indiana’s starting big men had opportunities to catch the ball on the move going to the basket, as a result of George’s screen setting, but Detroit players eventually got into trouble with their defensive assignments and double-teamed one player off the ball while the Pacers’ small forward broke free for an uncontested shot or dive to the basket.

It’s worth noting that Roy Hibbert and company own the best defense in the league. Believe it or not though, Greg Monroe shredded it the last time these two teams played.

Indeed, the Georgetown product was able to consistently get to his left hand against Hibbert to drive the ball to the hole, and he also victimized him on the low block with reverse pivots and pump fakes on his way to 18 points.

Indiana took control of the contest by simply ignoring weak side shooters and cutters to load up on the ball side. Vogel essentially came to the conclusion that the Pistons didn’t have the passers required to find the open players close to the basket on the weak side of the court and he was right. But that was before Jose Calderon joined the team.

In addition, Indy dared Detroit to beat them from deep by giving the Pistons players some open shots on the weak side of the floor, and Lawrence Frank’s group couldn’t make them pay as evidenced by their 3-for-18 shooting from 3-point range. Again, pre-Calderon.

Make no mistake though, the Pacers can be defeated.

Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum showed that Indiana has trouble containing penetration off the dribble from quick guards early in defensive possessions and that’s an area where Detroit will have to succeed to pull out this contest.

Also, sharing the basketball and cutting to the hoop will be important against a tough defense that will send Roy Hibbert no higher than the free throw line in pick-and-roll defense. If ball handlers can drive at the Pacers’ center and find cutters heading to the basket, it will give them an easy look at the rim with Hibbert out of the picture.

Read about the Pacers

8 points, 9 seconds.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

18 Comments

  • Feb 22, 20136:43 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Great pregame analysis

  • Feb 22, 20136:54 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I’m very worried for Singler tonight. He has to deal with Paul George and then when he goes out he has to deal with Danny Granger. I have a bad feeling we are going to get pumped by 30+ in this game.

  • Feb 22, 20138:07 pm
    by Blocks By Dre

    Reply

    There needs to be a mercy rule in the NBA for games like this

  • Feb 22, 20138:23 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Is it me or would you think we could use a shooting coach. I’m tired of the pump fakes some of these guys use. You’re not going to fake someone if he knows you can’t shoot it, so why pump fake. They clearly was not ready for the Pacers….. FRAAANNK!!!!!!!!!!

  • Feb 22, 20138:35 pm
    by Ozzie-Moto

    Reply

    Well at least there will be no allusions of pending grander from this game with the management thinking let just stand pat next year as we really a great team just not yet like a few prior years.  Even with Knight and Dru out we should be able to stay with in a dozen points.   Not sure what that Max BS from Frank is about if that’s the best starting forward you can put on the floor (JD / Frank) you need to find a new job 
     

  • Feb 22, 20138:35 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I will go out on a limb here and say we might lose by 50. The cherry is we have to play them again tomorrow at home…yay!

  • Feb 22, 20138:48 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    The bright spot is that we will see the young guys(Middleton and English) get some minutes. 
    They also are thin at the power forward position. There must be some big man in the D league we can throw a ten day contract towards and perhaps try to develop him. Get with it, Dumars! 

  • Feb 22, 20138:51 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I see Kravstov is doing his best Drummond impersonation from the free throw line 1-8…sheeeesh!

  • Feb 22, 20138:52 pm
    by FireFrank

    Reply

    Middleton and Slava looking like they can hang in the NBA. Slava might have a double double and I like the D by middleton

  • Feb 22, 20138:53 pm
    by George

    Reply

    JoeD must really think he can get some great vets for cheap this offseason because it is unbelievable that he didn’t even seem to attempt to makes offers at the deadline.  If I were Gores, seeing empty seats everywhere with the East pretty deep with top tier teams (Chi, Indy, Heat, Knicks, even Nets), you would think he would think we need a radical change at top.  JoeD needs to go.

  • Feb 22, 20138:58 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    This is an abomination. damn. 

  • Feb 22, 20139:06 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Really tired of seeing Greg Monroe come up soft again and again in these physical playoff-style games. If I’m the Pistons and trying to evaluate which players to keep that we can championships with, Id have serious doubts about Monroe playing a major role on a championship team. He just doesn’t seem fit for Eastern conference playoff basketball.

  • Feb 22, 20139:08 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I am embarrassed to be a Detroit Piston fan :-(

  • Feb 22, 20139:08 pm
    by FireFrank

    Reply

    Pacers website all about Reggie miller still? we need to change the name how bout bing Lanier Connection or jerry stackhouse30ppg or bison deles twin brother. Reggie miller retired 15 years ago and never made it to a championship

  • Feb 22, 20139:15 pm
    by Domnick

    Reply

    yikes…. wth…  40pointlead????

  • Feb 22, 20139:20 pm
    by HorsePower

    Reply

    Whats your excuse today Joe D for todays performance???

    Where was our highest paid player today Joe D, partying hard and spending your money.

  • Feb 22, 20139:25 pm
    by FireFrank

    Reply

    Who is the highest paid player this year cv or maggette?

  • Feb 22, 20139:33 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    Kravstov 14 & 10 in 21 minutes. 
    hmmm
     

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