Just an ugly effort by the Pacers, who were dumbfounded by the energetic Suns offense en route to giving up a season high 124 points, nearly 36 points above the Pacers' league-leading season average.
This kind of thing was unexpected, but not entirely surprising given that this is the first time these two lineups have faced each other and the Pacers may have been overlooking this young Suns squad missing its leading scorer in Eric Bledsoe. Former Pacer Gerald Green was huge against his former club, scoring a team-high 23 points and grabbing six rebounds, while Miles Plumlee arguably "outplayed" Roy Hibbert with 11 and 7 (Hibbert had just 6 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out). Leandro Barbosa had 4 points off the bench.
For the Pacers, only Paul George put up much of a fight. PG had 26 pointson 10-19 shooting, but only hit one of his six three-point attempts and turned the ball over four times. David West had 13 points despite battling an aggravated hand sprain on his shooting hand, and George Hill had 16 without missing a shot from the field. Luis Scola, in his return to Houston, didn't have much of an impact with just 5 points and 5 rebounds and 2 turnovers in 15 minutes.
Simply put, the Suns had more energy right from the beginning and weren't afraid to pull the trigger. Gerald Green was tossing shots up with no conscience, but unlike when he was with the Pacers, the shots were falling tonight. Goran Dragic, who had 21 points on 8-10 shooting, was getting into the lane at will and shredded the Pacers' famed interior defense.
A valuable learning experience for the Pacers against a young, energetic club. The Pacers failed to impose their will defensively against the Suns and paid a hefty price, and I'm sure they will be licking their chops in anticipation of a Jan. 30 rematch back in Indy. At 33-8, the Pacers still have two fewer losses than any other team in the NBA, but their lead over the Miami Heat has shrunken to 3.5 games.
Another tough couple of games coming up against the Kings on Friday, before a back-to-back in Denver the next night. The Pacers will need to show a lot more than they did tonight to avoid a three-game losing streak.