As well as the Indiana Pacers have played during this undefeated start to the season, there have been a few breakdowns amid bad play. Such moments have become almost routine now — the Pacers flat-lining through either the first or second quarters, only to miraculously register a pulse again in the second half. So, although this winning thing should be enough to carry a storyline, Indiana came up with yet another dramatic turn. This time, the Pacers watched the Toronto Raptors splash home everything in sight through the first quarter while allowing their best player to work over Indiana’s best guy. But on Friday night, as usual, the Pacers dug their defensive claws in through the second half and won 91-84. The Pacers, now 6-0 and standing atop the NBA, limited the Raptors to 14-of-41 shooting in the second half. Toronto (2-4) scored 32 points to open the game but discovered how difficult life can be against a locked-in and determined Pacers defense and started the third quarter by missing 8-of-9 shots. “It’s just the tale of the tapes,” said Pacers forward Paul George, who recovered to score a team-high 23 points after a miserable 2-of-10 start. “We see the film (at halftime). We see the areas we need to get better at and we come out and execute. Everyone’s dialed in at that point.” After tweeting his desire to win the Defensive Player of the Year award, center Roy Hibbert fooled everyone by showing his other side. Hibbert scored a season-high 20 points — even knocking down so many jumpers at the buzzer that at one time he stared at his shooting hand to see if this was real life. “I felt it tonight, so I’m happy,” Hibbert said of his 9-of-14 shooting accuracy. “I hope it happens more often.” While the DPOY hopeful was doing his best Paul George imitation, Hibbert had just two blocks — down from his 5.2 league-leading average. Even so, Indiana discovered its defensive principals when absolutely necessary — especially George, who made the defensive improvement needed to stop Rudy Gay from having a career night.
Pacers remain unblemished, improve to 6-0 with 91-84 win over Raptors
Indianapolis Star | Nov 9