Very quietly, the Indiana Pacers (25-16) have turned Bankers Life Fieldhouse into a house of horrors for visiting teams.
The Houston Rockets (21-20) became the latest team to come to Indy and leave with a loss, falling to Indiana 105-95 Friday Night. The Pacers have won 11 straight games at the Fieldhouse and are 16-3 at home this season. The last time Indiana won this many consecutive games at home it finished with a league-best 61-21 record during the 2003-04 season.
Why are the Pacers so much better at home? It’s a pretty simple answer. They hit a couple more shots and stop other teams from hitting shots. Essentially, that’s the object of the game, ya know? Indiana scores 94.9 points at home, compared to 88.5 on the road. That six point difference is literally two shots made from beyond the arc. The Pacers average 7.8 of 19.8 (39.6%) on three-pointers at the Fieldhouse, but only 5.4 of 18.8 (on 28.7%) away from home.
Defensively, Indiana turns the screws on opposing offenses and forces them to play their preferred slower pace. The Pacers only allow an average of 87.2 points at home (2nd best in the league) and have the best home defensive efficiency rating (96.8 points per 100 possessions) in the league. They have the best road defense as well, but allow higher averages in points per game (91.1 points) and defensive efficiency rating (100.7 points per 100 possessions) than they do at home.
The biggest individual beneficiary of the home court has been Paul George. The emerging star averages 21.5 points in Indy, but only 13.9 points on the road. He shoots nearly 11% better from the field (48.1% home, 37.2% road) and over 23% better from three-point range (49.6% home, 26.2% road). He had another great game at home against the Rockets with 31 points on 11 of 19 from the field and 7 of 10 from beyond the arc, which further solidified his case to be included as an all-star reserve.
The Pacers hope to enjoy more home cooking in February when they host 10 of their 12 games. If Indiana can continue taking care of business at the Fieldhouse, they should challenge Miami and New York for the top two positions in the East.
(Stats from NBAstuffer.com and NBA.com were used in this report)
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