Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Top stats to know: Pacers at Suns
By Justin Page
The Indiana Pacers look to continue their winning ways when they head west to take on the Phoenix Suns (ESPN, 10:30 pm ET). Here's a look at some of the game's top storylines.
The Pacers are dominating
The Pacers are a league-best 33-7 this season and are off to their best 40-game start in franchise history. Indiana has won five straight games by an average of 20.2 points.
The Pacers are allowing a league-low 92.8 points per 100 possessions. If that holds up through a full season, it would be the fewest points per 100 possessions a team has allowed since the 2003-04 Spurs (91.2) and Pistons (92.5).
Indiana is 11-2 against Western Conference teams this season. The Heat (10-2) are the only other team in the East that has a winning record against the West.
George is dominating too
Paul George is averaging 28.8 points on 54 percent shooting in his last four games.
George and Blake Griffin are the only players who rank in the top 10 in both points per game and defensive win shares. George led the league with 6.3 defensive win shares last season.
George is shooting a career-high 46 percent from the field, and a big reason is that he’s improved his midrange game.
He’s shooting 42 percent on midrange shots, which are defined as 2-point field goal attempts outside the paint. He shot 33 percent on those shots two seasons ago and 36 percent last season.
George is also shooting 58 percent on corner 3-pointers, the best percentage among more than 100 players who have taken at least 25 of those shots.
Matchup to Watch: How the Suns get their 3s
The Suns rely heavily on the 3-point shot; 31 percent of their field goal attempts come from that range, the third-highest percentage in the league.
The Suns rank third in 3-point makes (9.4) and first in attempts per game (26.0).
The Pacers are defending the perimeter well. Opponents are shooting a league-worst 32 percent from the 3-point line. Only 19 percent of their points come from 3-point range (third-fewest in NBA).
The Hibbert effect
According to NBA.com’s player-tracking data, opponents are attempting 9.7 shots at the rim per game against Roy Hibbert but are shooting only 41 percent on those shots. That’s the fourth-lowest percentage among the 65 players who have at least five such shots attempted against them per game.
Did You Know?
The Pacers have won two straight games against Phoenix, one win shy of tying their longest win streak in the 77-game history of the series. Indiana defeated Phoenix three straight times from 1987-88 to 2003-04.
Rachel Stern also contributed research to this post.