The Pacers trailed the Warriors by 12 points with 5:33 left in the fourth quarter. Indiana proceeded to burn off 12 straight points in the next four minutes and make things a game. Klay Thompson saved the Warriors with a step-back jumper for the win with 0.6 seconds left.
In that stretch of four minutes, the Warriors made just one of their five field goal attempts. Stephen Curry, covered by Paul George for much of this stretch missed his only shot and committed two critical turnovers. There were a lot of zeros for the Warriors and the Pacers took advantage, even grabbing five offensive rebounds in a relentless assault on Golden State's tenuous lead.
Even though it ended up being a loss, this is the Pacers way. They choke off your best player and make it hard for him to operate. Curry had his pocket picked twice which led to breakaway dunks. And Golden State's offense lost all its flow — the team finished with 24 assists on 37 field goals.
Indiana has remained atop the Eastern Conference, holding off the two-time defending champions from Miami, throughout this season. The Pacers have done so with an absolutely suffocating defense. So far few teams in the NBA have been able to thrive against this tough Pacers D; but if you think you can against the spread, then head on over to mobileonlinecasino and make a wager against them today!
Indiana leads the league with a 94.5 defensive rating. That is three points per 100 possessions better than the next best team — the Bulls at 97.9. It the Pacers keep this pace up, it will be the lowest defensive rating for a league leader since 2004 when the Spurs gave up 91.6 points per 100 possessions.
Indiana makes teams miss shot at an increidble rate, as Jared Wade of Eight Points, Nine Seconds notes:
As is the case when it comes to preventing teams from scoring, no defense comes close to the Pacers’ in terms of forcing misses. Indiana has a 2.0% lead on the next best team at doing so, the Chicago Bulls. To put that in perspective, it’s the same gap between the 16th-place Orlando Magic and the 30th-ranked Philadelphia 76ers.
That is far and away statistically the best defense in the league, in other words. And defense is undoubtedly something every championship contender needs. The Pacers have that and are significantly better.
What is clear Indiana needs is more consistency on offense. The team lacks some shooting to be considered such a runaway favorite for the title.
The Pacers are close and a very formidable opponent for anyone challenging for the title this year.