How Do You Defend the Pacers?

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    Jan 05, 2014
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How Do You Defend the Pacers? Photo by Lemmy Morrie

Two months into the season, the Indiana Pacers are showing everybody just how good of a team they are and why they were considered by many during the off-season as the team with the potential to upset and dethrone the defending champions.

They brought back their stingy defense from last season and has actually gotten better at it. The lack of depth which was their main weakness during the recent playoffs is no longer an issue with the off-season acquisitions that brought in reliable players such as Luis Scola who have been consistently contributing to the team as of late. Then there's the continued evolution of Paul George whose looking more and more like a superstar.

They are no longer just a great defensive team. They now have the offense that has made them much tougher to deal with. Their defense is tight as a vice grip and will continue to choke opposing offenses. If other teams want to play well against them, the only option is to slow them down on the offensive end. It's not easy but some teams have had success by doing two things.

Harassing their Ball Handlers

Although George has improved his offensive game enough to make himself a reliable instant generator of offense for  the team, the Pacers are most effective when they are able to run their sets for their big men like David West and Roy Hibbert. The attention that these two call for makes it easier for the rest of the team.

That is why opposing teams must disrupt these offensive sets if they are to fair well and the best way to do this is by blitzing or harassing the ball handlers. The Pacers weakness on offense is that they don't have someone who can handle and protect the ball well. This weakness was obvious during their conference finals series against the Heat wherein they struggled to create half-court plays due to the aggressive way the Heat were defending their ball-handlers.

Being Efficient on the Offensive End

With their young and athletic backcourt, the Pacers capitalize well on mistakes on turnovers and bad shots. They get plenty of points by forcing these and then attacking on transition. Playing efficiently and reducing turnovers and bad shots can go a long way into limiting the Pacers offense.

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