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Pacers improve to 9-0 with blowout win over Bucks

Nov 15, 2013, 10:41 PM EDT

Roy Hibbert, Andre Drummond

The Pacers remain undefeated after running their league-best record to 9-0 with a blowout 104-77 win over the Bucks.

Milwaukee is a depleted team right now due to multiple players being injured, and there’s not nearly enough depth to sustain even one starter being out, much less multiple productive players. Larry Sanders, Caron Butler, and Ersan Ilyasova were all unable to go due to various issues.

Then again, it might not have mattered who the Bucks rolled out given the way that Indiana has started the season.

The Pacers have gotten off to their strong start by bringing a level of intensity on both ends of the floor that their opponents have rarely been able to match. Roy Hibbert has been dominant in anchoring the defense, and Friday night was no different. Hibbert finished with a dominant line of 24 points on just 10 shots, to go along with 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

Milwaukee shot just 34.1 percent from the field, and O.J. Mayo, the only credible offensive threat on the floor for the Bucks, was held to 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

The bench was the weakness of this Pacers team a season ago, but offseason upgrades have seemed to address that issue. Luis Scola and C.J. Watson continue to be regularly reliable contributors, and Indiana has proven to be so deep that Chris Copeland, who showed promise with the Knicks last year, has yet to see substantial minutes.

The Pacers will be tested on Saturday, playing the second night of a back-to-back on the road against the Bulls in Chicago. Derrick Rose sat out of his team’s win on Friday, and if he should similarly miss the contest against Indiana, the Pacers would have a great chance to remain undefeated through the first 10 games of the season.

  1. antistratfordian - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    The Bulls would probably fare better against the Pacers without Rose at this point.

    • stonedprolific - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:43 AM

      You might need to consult your mental health specialist real soon, my friend.

      • redbaronx - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        @stonedprolific – I keep telling antistratforidan (aka antilogic)
        a) to stop emailing me! and;
        b) that he needs to see a therapist. Maybe if enough people tell him to seek help, he’ll finally listen.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        Why do you say that?

        As I said on a previous Rose article:

        “Rose has a 30.6% Usage Percentage but a 6.5 PER – that is easily dead last of anyone with at least a 25% Usage Percentage and significant minutes (39th of 39 – one behind Victor Oladipo). The Bulls are probably going to benefit from taking that off the floor.”

        And look what happened after I said that. Here’s the Chicago Tribune after the Raptors game:

        “On a Friday night their most explosive scorer sat, the Bulls’ offense showed signs of rhythm and relevance… in a young season where their offensive rhythm has come in fits and starts, seeing a more fluid game with Rose sidelined is encouraging.”

        Wait! You mean to tell me that the Bulls offense looks smoother when you remove a struggling, inefficient ball dominator who uses 30% of their plays!? No way!

        The Bulls admit that their offense is different without Rose; it’s slower in transition, but each player does more.

        As Boozer said: “…we use each other. We set screens. We pass the ball. We move around. We do a couple of things differently.”

        Or as Thibs said: “I liked the rhythm we had. With Derrick out, we know that we have to play a certain way and we need everybody.”

        The thing is this: The Bulls need to keep playing that way when Rose comes back (but that’s a totally different conversation). As it stands right now, if Rose is going to continue to struggle then obviously the Bulls are better off with him in a suit.

    • belleby123 - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      I totally disagree, but the problem with Rose is that his best offensive weapon is driving hard to the hoop, getting fouled, and going to the line. This is what gets him beat up, not the number of minutes he plays under Thibs. He could easily get to the line 15 or 20 times a game, but what price would he pay?

      • apkyletexas - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        No – recklessly driving through defenders in search of fouls isn’t Rose’s best offensive weapon – it’s simply the one he turns to more often than not. His game hasn’t really matured like we were led to believe it would.

      • belleby123 - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        You might not want to watch the highlights of the Bulls-Pacers game then.

    • ranfan12 - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      Lol this guy has a great sense of humor. Took me a while to get it, but I can see he’s spend a good amount of time joking and pulling our legs

  2. casualcommenter - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:20 AM

    “It’s early,” and “the NBA season is very long,” and “Nobody remembers November by the time May comes around,” and all those other disclaimers.

    *That being said* – Pacers look like clearly the biggest threat to the Heat.
    On paper, they have
    1. Size and skill in the interior with bigs who contribute on both ends of the floor in David West and Roy Hibbert,
    2. Athleticism in the wing with guys like Paul George and Lance Stephenson, and
    3. Youth (meaning durability) mixed with veterans (meaning leadership), and
    4. A legitimate bench.

    All of which is needed to give the Heat issues. Personally, I think the talent gap has closed to the point where the healthier team will win in the playoffs.

    In other words, if Bosh and/or Wade are injured this year, I don’t see LeBron pulling off another 45-19-7 or whatever insane statline he’s put up in key games against the Pacers in the past to save the Heat when his co-stars struggle. Wade and Bosh will need to be healthy and contributing alongside LeBron for the Heat to have a chance since the Pacers are a much better team than the ones who lost to the Heat in 6 games and in 7 games in the playoffs the past 2 years.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Not really looking like it right now.

      The Pacers have only played 1 winning team this entire season – the Bulls. They’ll still have all the same problems against the Heat. They’re not covering the LeBron James gap in 5 months. Not happening.

  3. philtration - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    When the Bulls knocked the Pacers out of the playoffs and then were eliminated by the Heat in the Eastern Finals I remember Pacer fans “congratulating” the Bulls for having the best record in the NBA trophy.
    Funny how they now believe that they have already won something in November.

    I guess that happens when your team has never won anything.

  4. azarkhan - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Meanwhile the selfless, cohesive, disciplined, relentless San Antonio Spurs are a quiet 9-1. Go Spurs!

    • limonadamas - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Seriously! Internal growth and the addition of guys like Belinelli are going to pay dividends for the Spurs this year. Don’t hear too much noise about that (at least yet).

  5. fanofthegame79 - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I like what the Spurs are doing better than the Pacers. I heard a stat on ESPN this morning saying that they are the worst 9-0 team ever as they haven’t played a team over .500 yet. The Pacers look good, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s early to say they’re the best team in the NBA.

  6. 25yearindyfan - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    People love to hate the Pacers. I don’t get it.

    The Pacers can only play the teams on the schedule. Funny thing is that it’s Chicago fans spewing the most hate. Very sensitive those Bulls fans are.

    • kinggw - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      It’s not hating to point out that the Pacers haven’t faced very many quality opponents.

      The Pacers look good, and you can’t fault them for their schedule, but its early.

  7. jzone954 - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    A lot of respect for the Pacers, but the whole “only way Miami will beat Indiana is….” speech I’ve been hearing for the last two years should really stop. Miami can hold there own and BEAT Indiana. The Pacers better hope they don’t get a healthy Miami Heat because two years ago they didn’t have Bosh in the series and last year Wade was extremely injuried with his ailing Knee problem and Miami still knocked the Pacers out. Well see what happens

    • kb2408 - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Yeah, and maybe Miami should hope Vogel makes another bone headed decision and takes Roy out of the game on the last shot again. Because without that Miami wouldn’t have won.

  8. timcast12 - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Lol heats fans

  9. kb2408 - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    My prediction of the Pacers winning the East is looking good. A lot of people may not want to see (I am not one of them) but get ready for Spurs vs Pacers in the Finals.

  10. jzone954 - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Maybe 3 times a charm? Maybe after the 3rd consecutive year of being knocked out by Miami will stop all of this.?

  11. jzone954 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    See what happens when you win a couple games?? lol

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