Darren Collison committed a turnover on Indiana's first possession, and it seemed as if that was the last mistake the Pacers made all night, as they out-executed the good play of the Philadelphia 76ers to win, 111-94, at home in Indiana Wednesday night.
The Pacers placed five players in double figures in scoring, including George Hill (17 points) and Tyler Hansbrough (14 points) off the bench. The balanced scoring was part of a 57 percent shooting night for Indiana, aided by few turnovers (seven) and excellent three-point (41 percent) and free throw (82 percent) shooting.
Indiana even refrained from fouling, committing only eight fouls for the game versus the Sixers' 21 in that category. To cap off the perfection, the Pacers allowed only five offensive rebounds to Philadelphia, who didn't play all that badly themselves.
The Sixers shot 53 percent, including 46 percent from three-point range, and committed only nine turnovers themselves. Because of the Pacers' lack of fouling, their free throws were limited to an 8-for-10 outing as compared to the 18-for-22 by Indiana. The Sixers also matched their hosts with five scorers in double digits, but it was never enough to pull even or pass the Pacers after Indiana had grabbed the lead for good before halftime.
The long, tall froncourt of the Pacers was too much for the Sixers to defend, as the Indiana starting triumvirate of Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger and David West combined for 52 points on 19-for-31 shooting (61 percent). Granger led the way for the Pacers with 20 points, and was a perfect six for six shooting in the second and third quarters.
It was Hill, however, who knocked the Sixers out in the second half, scoring 13 points in the game's last 16 or so minutes, including five rebounds and three assists in that closing stretch as well. His two three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter fueled a 12-0 run that put the game out of Philly's reach.
Nathan S. at Indy Cornrows makes it plain: Best offensive output of the season, but also identifies the key point(s) of the game:
In many ways, this was Indiana's best showcase of the season, an offensive exhibition that is unlike anything the Pacers have had to date, scoring a season high 111 points on the league's best team in FG% and points allowed. Indiana shot 56% from the field, closed quarters with authority on both ends, and got production from everyone who stepped on the floor.
Over at Liberty Ballers, they weren't wondering what hit them, but did point the finger at their own top-flight defense:
It was that last play of the quarter that beautifully illustrated the Sixers defensive effort for the game. Hill brought the ball across half-court and Dre picked him up. Tyler Hansbrough came over and set a screen on Dre's right. Hill used the screen, Dre didn't get around while Thaddeus Young (who probably had his worst defensive game of the season), who was guarding Hans-Bo at the time, didn't hedge out on the shooter giving Hill as clean a look as he couldn't ever want. Not closing out on shooters was a big theme for the Sixers team tonight. Seeing as they're third in the league in opponents three-point percentage, I'm chalking tonight up as an anomaly; a poor effort that I don't expect to surface frequently the rest of the season.