I had a feeling this might happen.
Optimistic Indiana fans just got a shock dose of reality today as the Pacers were thoroughly embarrassed by the 76ers in Philadelphia, 101-75.
The Pacers fell behind early in the first quarter and never recovered, finding themselves down by 15 points by the end of the first quarter and 26 points down by the half. They made a short run in the third but the 76ers put them out early in the fourth.
This was an atrocious game on both ends of the floor for the Pacers. If their shots simply didn't fall, then fair enough, but they looked completely lost out there, lacking in both focus and energy. It allowed the 76ers to dominate and snap up their first win of the season.
As a team the Pacers shot 31.5% from the field, led by Danny Granger's 2-14 effort. Hibbert was 4-12, Dunleavy 2-11, and Collison 4-16. Collison actually led the team in scoring with 11 points, but there wasn't a player out there that played particularly well.
This is of course a huge wake up call for the now 2-2 Pacers. It was a game that said a lot about both teams.
Philadelphia was 0-4 coming into this game, coming off a heartbreaking OT loss to the Wizards just the night before. They would have been frustrated and exhausted, and it would have been the perfect opportunity for the Pacers to jump on them early.
On the other hand, the Pacers hadn't played since their home win against the 76ers on Saturday. They would have been well rested and confident coming up against a team they had already beaten comfortably.
Well, the 76ers simply wanted it more right from the tip. They hustled to loose balls, grabbed offensive rebounds, disrupted the flow of the Pacers' offense and made them take tough shots, most of which the Pacers missed.
Conversely, the Pacers were pathetic out there. There was no energy, no emotion, no execution. Danny Granger looked half asleep on offense, throwing up bad shots galore and not getting it done on the defensive end either. Hibbert was handcuffed by a slew of 76ers defenders and Collison still hasn't got a handle on the offense. Dunleavy just missed open shots and lapups.
Dahntay Jones played hard, as did Solomon Jones, but the latter Jones could not do a thing to stop Elton Brand in the low post. Brand scored on him at will, ending up with 25 points and 12 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive end.
That's enough for now. A very disappointing effort by the Pacers after a solid start to the season. Next up is a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. A good chance for the team to bounce back before tough games against Denver and Houston.