Game 4 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The Pacers weathered an early surge from Allen Iverson and then dominated the final three quarters of action for a 97-86 win. The theme of the night was depth. Nine players logged the bulk of the minutes with six scoring in double figures. Jeff Foster only scored five point but grabbed 10 rebounds. Other observations logged throughout the game:
- Pacers came out strong, setting the pace by attacking on offense and playing tough defense.
- Allen Iverson took over the last couple minutes of the first quarter as the Sixers took advantage of 5 Pacer turnovers to lead at the end of the quarter, 23-20.
- When did Chris Webber turn into Robert Parish. He Chief-like baby step dribbles in the lane for hook shots evoked memories of 00 in the old Boston Garden. His days of high flying dunks are behind him, but he still has the veteran savvy to make an impact. He just didn't seem too interested in making that happen tonight.
- Rawle Marshall played significant minutes starting in the second quarter. Apparently, Saras needed to rest his back. Just when it looked like we turned the corner with Saras, this flares up. Not much mention so for now I'm assuming it is nothing to worry about.
- I wonder if Saras has ever heard of Wally Pipp. Man, Rawle looked great tonight. He immediately stripped Willie Green of the ball and took it the distance for a layup. At times, he blanketed Kyle Korver in the second half, and had one eye opening rebound where he just went up the ladder over an unsuspecting Sixer in the paint. Oh, by the way he finished with 16 point on a perfect night from the field and free throw line.
- Like I said, depth was on display. Along with Rawle, Jeff Foster was active on the boards and 'Quis Daniels made a three and did his share on defense.
- Speaking of boards, the Pacers outrebounded the Sixers 52-32 and offset 21 turnovers with 25 assists.
- When the Pacers aren't trying to run, their half court offense looks fabulous. The ball movement and off ball cuts to the hoop made for plenty of open looks and easy layups. The success is showing too as the player appear to be feeding off each other, hitting shots and making assertive plays with the ball.
- Stephen Jackson played another solid, all-around game despite having another off night shooting from outside the arc. He finished with 10 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals.
- Danny Granger announced his presence with authority on both ends of the floor toward the end of the third quarter, scoring 8 of his 14 points and playing some spectacular defense.
- JO has become a defensive monster. He had four blocks and altered another handful of shots. He also had a nice shooting night finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pacers are 3-1 and exceeding expectations at this point. They'll be challenged to back up their last two efforts with a solid challenge tomorrow night in D.C. The Wizards will provide a few more matchup issues with Arenas, Jamison, and Butler running around looking for shots. The Pacers showed tonight they have the depth to throw some pressure at those guys, let's just hope they show up.