It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Indiana Pacers‘ reserves this season. The group as a whole has clearly been the team’s weakness, especially considering how potent the Pacers’ starting five has been this season when on the floor together.
The same up-and-down play from the bench has carried over into these playoffs. It was this type of play that had the Pacers’ front office contemplating moves at the deadline to add to the group or even replace one of them via trade. Although no move was made, the Pacers can’t keep playing the “which reserve will contribute this game?” every time out.
In Game 1’s victory over the New York Knicks, D.J. Augustin was able to pitch in 16 points off the bench, knocking in four of his five three-point attempts. In Tuesday’s loss, the entire bench combined to score just 19 points, and a good chunk of that came in garbage time as the Knicks had cemented their win halfway through the fourth quarter.
Moving forward, will it be Augustin’s shooting to provide that spark? Or can Tyler Hansbrough use his physicality and aggressiveness to wreak havoc on the offensive glass? To do that, Hansbrough will have to prove to be useful on the other end as well, as he has struggled in limited minutes through the first two games.
Gerald Green, Indiana’s major free-agent acquisition from this past summer, has provided little all season long outside of random outbursts of outside shooting. However, those have been few and far between since the postseason has started.
Outside of those three players, the Pacers have little else to turn to. Sam Young has been partially used to defend Carmelo Anthony, but he’s limited offensively, to say the least. Jeff Pendergraph is another option over Hansbrough, but he was embarrassed by an Anthony dunk in his few minutes in Game 2 and wasn’t heard of again for the rest of the game.
Nevertheless, the Pacers need at least one of these players to provide something as a sixth man and give the five starters some help if they expect to advance past the Knicks.
Brandon Curry is an NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow Brandon on Twitter @ByBrandonCurry