The Indiana Pacers have been without their best player this season, David West, for five games now. Their most recent game against the Atlanta Hawks, the team was missing three starters due to minor injuries–West, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson.
The Pacers’ record in those five contests: 4-1, with the only loss coming by just three points to the Chicago Bulls.
In West’s absence, both Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph have filled in nicely. Hansbrough has played so well that some who follow the team believe he should start over West. While that notion is nothing short of crazy, there’s no denying Hansbrough’s recent play. In Hansbrough’s five starts this season, he’s averaging 16 points and 10.6 rebounds a night.
Pendergraph’s best game came in Monday night’s win over the Hawks, as he scored 14 points in 22 minutes off the bench. The Pacers also got 19 points from Gerald Green, who has been trying regain his form from last season, and 15 more from rookie guard Orlando Johnson.
Indiana’s recent string of bumps and bruises is bringing the best out of a reserve group that has been up and down all season long. A positive sign heading into the playoffs.
With eleven games left on the regular season schedule, you have to wonder if the Pacers will continue to give some of their top guys rest, injured or not. Indiana’s most used lineup–their five starters–has racked up the third-most minutes in the NBA this season, per NBA.com.
Some extra rest for players like West, Roy Hibbert, and Hill could go a long way a month from now.
Brandon Curry is an NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow Brandon on Twitter @ByBrandonCurry