To be honest, I wasn't confident that the Pacers could pull out the victory against the stacked Hawks squad, and my confidence was further dashed when I discovered that both Darren Collison and Tyler Hansbrough were out with ankle injuries. However, to my surprise the Pacers did relatively well until the third quarter, when the Hawkes blew open a tight game.
Danny Granger led the way with 22 points, and Roy Hibbert continued his strong run with 18 points and 15 boards. For the season, Hibbert is averaging 16.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.8 blocks (last season he had 11.7, 5.7, 2.0 and 1.6 respectively). If the Pacers do a little better in the standings perhaps Roy might get a couple of All-Star votes from the coaches.
The only silver lining from the injuries and the loss was that we finally got to see AJ Price play. The same AJ Price that coach Jim O'Brien said was the best player of the team during the preseason and suddenly disappeared off the end of the bench when the season started.
Price was effective, putting up 7 points and 2 assists in just 11 minutes. TJ Ford played 37 minutes and had 6 points and 5 assists. I simply don't understand why Price doesn't play more.
As for Brandon Rush, it looks like his promising debut may have been an abberation. He had 5 points in 26 minutes, meaning he has scored just 14 points in his last 3 games after putting up 16 in that big rout of Denver. Let's hope he's not smoking again...
Next up, the LA Clippers at home on Thursday. Surely that is a winnable game! Come on Pacers! Stick to 0.500 for as long as you can!