Things couldn’t have gotten much worse for the Pacers, so it was good to see them get an easy win against a team they have been very incestuous with, the Dallas Mavericks (103-83).
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle used to be the Pacers’ head coach. Former Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien is now an assistant coach for the Mavs. Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones from the Pacers effectively went to the Mavs for Ian Mahinmi during the offseason. And Troy Murphy, who is now a Mav, also used to be on the Pacers. Oh, plus OJ Mayo and Chris Kaman were guys that the Pacers targeted during free agency but ended up in Dallas.
Anyway, it wasn’t so much a win as the WAY the Pacers achieved the win. Coach Vogel challenged the team to make changes and make plays for each other, and they responded by scoring 103 points, their second most of the season. George Hill and David West had 15 points apiece to lead 6 players in double figures. Sam Young and Lance Stephenson also both played well, but Roy Hibbert continued to struggle with his shot, even though he ended up with 14 and 8.
Hibbert is still missing point blank shots he should be making in his sleep, but his effort and persistence have been encouraging. Hopefully this is a step forward for him and the team, but I think we need a larger sample to be certain that the team has gotten over the hump. The next game is on the road against the New York Knicks, who only lost their first game of the season today against Memphis. It’s got disaster written all over it but if the Pacers can pull out a win or even just give a good showing it will prove that this game against the Mavs wasn’t a fluke and the team is heading in the right direction.