They missed their first seven attempts from deep and saw their best player struggle enough to finish the night on 7-21. Their point guards couldn’t get much going, with the Pacers closing up passing lanes as quickly as they opened up. By the end of the fourth quarter, the Knicks among the top 5 in offensive production had scored 91 points.
The Pacers, ranked 27th in the league in points per game, poured in 125 points. It’s been a trend lately.
In the Pacers’ last nine games, they’ve scored 98 or more seven times. Out of those seven, they’ve scored 100 or more five times. It’s an unexpected surge from a team that’s averaged sub-93 ppg for most of the season.
The main sources of the offensive uptick are two particular Pacers.
Firstly, Paul George has kept up his stellar all-around play post the all star break. In fact, in the month of February, though he’s only knocking down shots at a 42% rate, George is averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
David West has also been a huge reason (perhaps the primary reason) the Pacers have been surging on offense. For the month of February, West is also putting up 20 ppg, but he’s knocking down 52% of his shots, a chunk of which are from further out.
Though both players are scoring at a heightened clip, it’s their increased time at the charity stripe that really sticks out.
West is attempting 6.4 free throws per game, after taking as many as 4.6 back in October. George is attempting 5.6 free throw attempts per contest, after not seeing more than 3 in any given month this season. Even more importantly than the number of free throws they’re taking is the amount that they are knocking down. George is hitting 82% of his ft’s in February, Hibbert is at 80% for the month.
The Pacers are still just averaging a paltry 43% from the field, while knocking down 35% of their 19 3-point attempts per game. They’ll have to continue to rely on their smothering defense to maintain their dominance in the Eastern Conference.
With that being said, it would be nice to see Indiana continue this offensive renaissance.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.