Coming into Friday night’s game against the surging Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers were out of sync offensively and defensively, and fans were more than ready to push the panic button. After the final buzzer sounded, however, many affiliated with the organization were singing a much different tune. Friday 91-79 victory was vintage Pacers basketball.
The magnitude of the game loomed large both in the short term and in the long run. The Pacers needed a win to snap them out of their prolonged funk, and they did just that. Indiana also flexed their muscles against a Chicago team that they could very well see later on in the playoffs.
Something that made the win that much sweeter was how they won — with good passing and strong bench play. Sharing the basketball has been a struggle for Indiana at times during the season, and this has been especially evident in the Pacers’ poor play during the past two months.
Paul George led the way with 10 assists en route to a triple-double. Evan Turner had seven assists off the bench to go along with six points and really seemed to initiate the second unit offense quite well. Luis Scola, however, was the player of the night. Scola, who had been in a slump of his own, exploded for 19 points off the bench and brought incredible energy to the floor.
Frank Vogel left Scola in for 20 minutes on the night, and as an unintended result, gave David West a chance to rest up a little bit. The Pacers’ veterans, West included, will need a lot of rest now that the season winds down, and Vogel should be able to accommodate that.
But the real question for the Pacers: can they bring this kind of effort to the floor each night? They did during the first half of the season, but it appears that the Pacers’ are getting tired bringing that kind of energy day in and day out. Or maybe teams have figured them out. Whatever the case, Indiana looked good last night. What they do over the next couple days will go a long way towards showing just how dangerous Indiana will be going into the postseason.