Indiana Pacers vs. Dallas Mavericks 11/24/14: Video Highlights and Recap

As the Indiana Pacers look to continue life without Paul George, they hoped to get a victory against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks continue to look like one of the top teams out West and stood as a massive test for a squad without its best player

Watch the video for full highlights.

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Indiana Basketball: Tom Crean’s Ark and the Genesis of IU Small Ball

Tom Crean eyed the dark clouds on the horizon, smelled rain in the air and knew it was time.

He finished his sacrifice to Dwyane Wade, filled his Dasani bottle with yak blood and returned to Cook Hall. There he gathered his assistants around the burning hearth and told them of his plans.

“Take thine scholarships and go forth unto the country,” Crean said. “Bring back two of each type of guard. Conference play will be here sooner than anyone believes, and we must build an ark and pack it with talent that will save us from the deluge.”

Crean then unfurled his blueprints for the craft—a low-slung wooden vessel of modest dimensions, glued together with zone defense and string cheese. This, he said, would weather the storm. 

“But coach!” his assistants cried. “The ship is too small! The ceilings too low! The centers will never fit in these cabins. How will the big men survive?”

At this, Crean turned from his men and stared deeply into the fire. Gazing intently, a terrifying grin spread across the coach’s face.

“Where we’re going, we won’t need big men.”

All aboard, everyone. 

The S.S. Small Ball is leaving the Port of Necessity, and whether we like it or not, we’re all on this freaky cruise together.

So far, the gods have been kind. The 4-0 Hoosiers weathered their first real storms of the season this week, notching a statement victory over Southern Methodist and avoiding a hangover loss to a Lamar team that wouldn’t quite die.

It was a week of rapturous highs and concerning lows. Troy Williams soared and sputtered in his return. James Blackmon Jr. officially Jason Statham-ed the door on college basketball and Crean’s small ball proved that through active hands and sharp shooting, all things are possible. 

Let’s start by going over the small ball, and a phrase Indiana fans should begin working into their lexicons.

 

Clear Eyes, Quick Hands, Can’t Lose

A recurring trope you’ll hear this year from college basketball pundits will be Indiana “living and dying” by the three. This is not not true. 

If Yogi Ferrell and Blackmon Jr. aren’t hitting triples against a Big Ten opponent, go ahead and pull the trigger on that second Hairy Bear. Become the liability for society that Hanner Mosquera-Perea is at the free-throw line.

So yes, three-pointers will be a main lifeline for this team, but what falls by the unsexy wayside in the perimeter-focused conversation is the importance of jazz hands in Indiana’s game plan. The Hoosiers are going to get out-rebounded and outmaneuvered in the paint most games, making fast hands a pivotal part of making up for the team’s size disadvantage.

SMU scored 42 points in the paint against the Hoosiers, dwarfing Indiana’s tally of 14. It’s a terrifying ratio on its face, but Indiana managed to erase nearly half of the deficit by scoring 19 points off turnovers thanks in large part to active hands on defense.

Think of it this way: Crean built an ark with multiple players of every type but a true center, and that lack of a genuine big man is the hole in the boat. Water is constantly pouring through the hole, and the only way to bail it is strong perimeter shooting and disrupting passes into the zone defense.

So if Blackmon Jr. and company are keeping their hands up and immolating defenses from behind the arc, Indiana has a fighting chance to stay afloat and play with just about anyone.

 

JBJ Rising

Robert Johnson slowly returned to earth over the last two games, proving that Johnsonism—while a near-religious movement—is indeed founded on a mortal being. 

Conversely, Blackmon Jr. continued his ascension to the outer reaches of the galaxy. He is on a mission to save humanity from corn blight and is slinging bunches of three-pointers through wormholes in the process.

The former McDonald’s All-American is currently the highest-scoring freshman in the country (10th highest-scoring player overall), averaging 22.8 points per game through four contests. The next closest frosh is Ball State forward Sean Sellers, who is averaging 22 through three games.

Blackmon Jr.’s ability to napalm the opposing team’s brush line with three-balls is his most jaw-dropping asset, but his burst in traffic is a lesser praised but vital difference-maker in his arsenal. 

BTN analyst Jim Jackson commented during the SMU broadcast that Blackmon Jr. “doesn’t look that athletic,” but can get to the rim. Phenomenal point, Jim.

It should also be noted that every time Blackmon Jr. hustles on defense, a Purdue grad loses a protractor. After dropping 26 points on SMU, the freshman summed up the attitude Indiana will have to bring in order to win games this year.

“They were way bigger than us, but we were way scrappy,” Blackmon Jr. said.

 

Troy Williams’ Linguine Arms

Troy Williams’ limbs are a double-edged sword.

On one hand, they allow him to dunk, block and execute his trademark, this-looks-like-a-bad-idea hook shot. On the other, they get him into foul trouble fast.

The sophomore returned to the court Thursday against SMU and gave the Hoosiers a breath of life from the bench. His length helped Indiana even the size gap against the Mustangs and he contributed 11 points on a night when Mosquera-Perea essentially went out to lunch (three points, zero rebounds and one block in 29 minutes).

But like Mosquera-Perea, Williams sometimes struggles to control his pasta arms, and the result is ticky-tack fouls under the basket. He’s a necessary piece of the defensive and rebounding puzzle. He needs to avoid noodling himself onto the bench.

 

Other Notes From SMU and Lamar Games

  • Mosquera-Perea jump shots and sudden drops on roller coasters feel exactly the same.
  • Stanford Robinson has giant, childbearing hips. Every time he enters the lane he offers that right hip up for contact, and defenders slam into it like birds hitting a bay window. Seventy percent of his body is hips.
  • I forgot how much Indiana fans love shooters. Jump shots draw excitement, but consistent three-point shooting takes Hoosiers straight to the gushing pleasure domes of Xanadu. Indiana is shooting 46.2 percent from behind the arc this year. They’ll have to ban sweatpants at Assembly Hall if this number holds up.
  • If he can tear his head from the cavernous depths of his own bottom, Emmitt Holt can help this team.
  • If an opposing big gets the ball under the basket, it’s two points. Three if Hanner is down there. Accept and come to grips with this.
  • Tyran de Lattibeaudiere is a force of a nature.  

Indiana hosts 3-1 Eastern Washington Monday night. The S.S. Small Ball will have to contend with a relatively rangy Eagles team that includes 7’1” redshirt sophomore Frederik Jorg. Time to bail that water, boys.

 

Dan is a Trending Lead Writer for B/R. Once or twice a week during the college basketball season, he turns into an irrational monster that yells at men wearing candy cane pants. 

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Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert Leaves Game With Sprained Ankle

Roy Hibbert is the latest injury victim on the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert left the game on Saturday night vs. the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter due to a sprained ankle. Hibbert actually came back in the game during the second quarter but had to leave again after two minutes before it was decided he sit out the rest of the game.
No word on if Indiana expects Hibbert to miss any time going forward. The Pacers are already missing Paul George, George Hill, David West, CJ Watson and CJ Miles due to injury. Indiana’s bad luck continued as they lost to the Suns in a 106-83 blowout.
The post Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert Leaves Game With Sprained Ankle appeared first on Basketball Bicker by Joey.

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Phoenix Suns vs. Indiana Pacers 11/22/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The red-hot Phoenix Suns looked to continue their recent run of success on Saturday, when they took on the Indiana Pacers. The Suns had won three straight but faced a tricky test from a Pacers squad that had won two straight.

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Freshman lead Indiana past Lamar, 88-72

Blackmon scores 21, Indiana holds on to beat Lamar 88-72

      
 

 

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Indiana rallies past No. 23 SMU 74-68

Hoosiers uses strong finish to get past No. 23 SMU 74-68

      
 

 

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Suspended Indiana players take to social media

Indiana sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson both spoke out via Instagram.

      
 

 

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Chicago Bulls’ Perseverance Through Injury a Blueprint for Indiana Pacers

CHICAGO—One August evening in Las Vegas, the Indiana Pacers’ entire world turned upside down. After Paul George’s gruesome, horrific leg injury at a Team USA scrimmage, the Pacers immediately went from a team hoping to stay in title contention to one scrapping for everything they could get.

The Chicago Bulls know all about that. It’s the boat they were in the last two seasons, with Derrick Rose sitting out with serious knee injuries both years. The Bulls had to figure out other ways to win without the former MVP.

To that end, they were a success story, making the playoffs both years. Now, their proven ability to stay focused through injuries is something else: a blueprint for other teams looking to stay competitive with key players out.

“They’ve had success, just by having a winning culture,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of the Bulls on Saturday, before the Pacers’ 99-90 win in Chicago. “Hopefully we can have something similar to what they’ve accomplished the last couple years with Derrick out.”

It’s been a rough start for Indiana on the injury front. In addition to losing George for the season, they’ve been without starting power forward David West and starting point guard George Hill. They’ve also sustained injuries to this summer’s two biggest offseason acquisitions, Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles.

“Obviously, Paul’s injury is very, very unfortunate,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. “Great guy, superstar player. But Frank’s a heck of a coach, and their organization has a great history. Their team is well-put together. They have a style of play. They’re tough.”

Vogel has managed to keep his depleted roster competitive through the injuries by preaching the same philosophy that has been a mainstay in Thibodeau’s Bulls locker room: next man up.

“Every team has 13 to 15 guys,” Vogel said. “If you have some guys out, the next guy’s gotta step up. That’s all there is to it. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you or let you make excuses.”

With their best players out, the Pacers have found other ways to produce. Vogel has gotten solid play out of role players like forward Chris Copeland (averaging 14.2 points per game) and guards Donald Sloan and Solomon Hill (12.6 points apiece). And just as Joakim Noah was the Bulls’ anchor last year, Roy Hibbert has kept Indiana’s defense sound even as they’ve been short-handed.

“I look at how Joakim played during that stretch, in terms of effort and the way he goes about his business,” Hibbert told Bleacher Report after the game. “He wasn’t the leading scorer for those two years, but he was effective.”

The Pacers have some serious ground to make up if they hope to claw their way into the playoffs, as the last two Rose-less Bulls teams have done. Even after Saturday’s win over the Bulls and Wednesday’s equally impressive road win over the Heat in Miami, they’re 4-7. They have the fourth-worst offense in the league, scoring just 97.5 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. But they’ve been staying competitive, losing games by an average margin of just 1.7 points.

The Pacers have also kept a steady approach and belief that they can win with the personnel they have. It’s the mentality that drove the Bulls throughout their success in the past two years.

“That’s the thing about this league—it’s all about mindset,” Noah said at shootaround Saturday morning. “The team that comes with the right mindset has a better chance of winning a basketball game. [The Pacers] are very well coached. They still have talent. They’ve got some hungry players.”

The Bulls’ injuries over the past two years have been blessings in disguise for some of their players. Jimmy Butler blossomed in the 2013 playoffs while Luol Deng was sidelined with a spinal injury and a procession of scoring guards from Nate Robinson to D.J. Augustin have filled Rose’s void in the backcourt.

Vogel hopes the absence of George, Hill and West will be similarly educational for his unproven players.

“The guys that are getting an opportunity to play are cherishing the opportunity and trying to make the best of it,” Vogel said. “Nobody’s out there looking over their shoulder waiting for somebody to come back. They’re understanding what they have in the room.”

“They’re playing how we used to play,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said after the game. “Next man stepping up. Guys are gaining confidence, the coach is calling plays for them, and they just do what they do. That team reminds me of us last year.”

Last year, the Pacers were battling LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Bulls were fortunate to win 48 games with Rose out. Now, the script has flipped—Chicago has the makings of a team that will be playing in May and June, while Indiana is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. If they make it in, it will be a testament to Vogel’s coaching and a shared mentality with the Bulls of years past.

But if there’s any team with the mindset to overcome the long odds they face, this is it.

 

Sean Highkin covers the Chicago Bulls for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.

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Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls 11/15/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Chicago Bulls looked to continue their strong start to the season on Saturday, when they took on the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls had won two straight and seven of their first nine to start the season, but they faced a tough test from the Pacers’ lockdown defense.

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Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The injury-riddled Indiana Pacers (3-7) are on the road to take on Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls (7-2) at the United Center.

It’s the first meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals.

 

Tipoff: Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ET

Coverage: WGN and FSIN (Fox Sports Indiana)

Injuries (via CBSSports.com): C.J. Miles, IND (out, calf); Rodney Stuckey, IND (out, foot); C.J. Watson, IND (out, foot); David West, IND (out, ankle); George Hill, IND (out, knee); Derrick Rose, CHI (out, hamstring); Jimmy Butler, CHI (probable, thumb)

 

Keys to the Game

The Pacers have predictably had a hard time scoring with most of their starters injured. They’re 29th in the league in scoring at 91.2 points per game. They’ve had different guys break out here and there, but they need someone such as Donald Sloan or Chris Copeland to provide consistent scoring.

On the other end, the Bulls will need someone to provide the offense Derrick Rose typically gives them. They’re used to it after years of injury problems for Rose, and either Kirk Hinrich or Aaron Brooks should be up to the task.

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