CHARLOTTE — It was a devastating combination. A good one, though, if you side with the Indiana Pacers. The Charlotte Bobcats came into Wednesday night’s game as the 28th ranked team in terms of offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions), while the Pacers held the league’s best mark in terms of defense.
As you would expect, the young and still trying to find their way in the NBA Bobcats struggled to match up with Indiana’s premier defense. Although the Pacers’ offense had trouble at times as well, they eventually ran away from the Bobcats in the second half, winning 99-74.
Part of the Pacers’ separation in the second half came from the excellent shooting of backup point guard C.J. Watson, who led the team in scoring with 18. Watson, signed as a free agent during this past off-season, connected on six of his seven three-points attempts.
“His threes in the fourth (quarter) broke open the game,” head coach Frank Vogel said of Watson after the win. “He was obviously the star of the game.”
Ultimately, the Pacers depth wore out Charlotte whose front court was in foul trouble for much of the night. David West and Roy Hibbert gave Charlotte forwards and Indiana natives Josh McRoberts and Cody Zeller all they could handle as both ended the night with five personal fouls; neither played more than 20 minutes forcing Charlotte to turn to a bench that lacked much talent.
Even with the offensive struggles of their own, the Pacers were once again able to fall back on that elite defense. Charlotte hit just 31 percent of their shots from the field and could only manage to get off nine three-point attempts. A combination that will doom just about any NBA team.
Vogel mentioned to reporters before the game just how impressed he was of Charlotte’s defense under first-year head coach Steve Clifford.
The Pacers showed Charlotte just how far they still have to go, though, if they want to be on Indiana’s level.
Brandon Curry is the Pacers Beat Writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow Brandon and ISR on Twitter.
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