Pacers take notes from Heat, Pelicans

It is quite possible the Indiana Pacers were sitting at their desks taking notes from the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans this week.

That’s what it seemed like. That’s certainly what it looked like.

Indiana’s game plans against Miami and New Orleans were not shared with me, but this much was not difficult to conclude: the Pacers showed no signs of stopping either team’s respective big man.

One night after Hassan Whiteside of the Heat dominated the Pacers around the basket at both ends of the floor, leading Miami to a 95-89 win, the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis played open gym.

If you were watching Wednesday’s game on the road against Miami, you saw Whiteside around the basket, soaring above the rim at every chance he got. It seemed for each spurt of momentum the Pacers were able to establish, Whiteside countered with some sort of exclamation that he wasn’t having it.

Not in his house, on this night, were his Miami Heat going down.

A veteran Pacers squad traveled to South Beach to hand the first of a three-game road trip over to a lowly Heat team that entered Wednesday night’s game with a record of 8-17. Chalk another onto the win column.

And Whiteside had his stamp all over this one, helping Miami to a 20-rebound advantage on the night and holding the Pacers to 10 points in the final quarter. TEN. He finished with 26 points and 22 boards.

Indiana shot only 37 percent from the floor. Paul George led the Pacers in scoring with 22 points (8-22 shooting), but probably should have poured in 40. You probably wouldn’t recall who guarded him if I asked you, but it wasn’t a combination of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade or Luol Deng, who have defended him in the past as former Heat players.

The very next night, this same Indiana Pacers team got off the bus in New Orleans, but ended up on Bourbon Street instead of at Smoothie King Center, home of the Pelicans.

Thursday night was even more of a show for the home crowd in the bayou. Davis racked up 35 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks en route to a 102-95 Pelicans victory. His rookie teammate, Buddy Hield, added 21 points. It was also New Orleans’ ninth win.

Meanwhile, an Indiana team with lots of talent on paper, was left in the breeze wondering what just hit them. What should have been wins on back-to-back nights were instead sketched as losses on the Pacers’ schedule. Embarrassing, if you ask me.

George led the way for Indiana’s viewing party, tallying an inadequate 18 points, five turnovers and five fouls. Should have had another 40 points Thursday.

None of this is written to take anything away from Whiteside or Davis. Either fellow is a handful on any given night.

But more importantly, an Indiana bunch with optimistic hopes for the season, further demonstrated its inconsistencies that have plummeted their high hopes.

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