|A.J. Price came off the bench to score 21 points in the Pacers win Saturday night.|
The Pacers led 77-71 with 9:25 to go and then essentially put this one away with a 10-0 run while holding the Bulls without a point for the next 4:41. A.J. Price hit two 3-pointers in that run to give the Pacers a 3-1 record this week.
1) It;s hard to believe that Price was not on an NBA team to begin the season. Price has certainly been worth the price the Pacers paid for him thanks to a roster exemption because of so many injuries. He has been a solid defender, which he always was, but now his offensive game has matured to the point where he has confidence to take and hit 3-pointers, as well as take guards off the dribble when the offense is breaking down. The Pacers have won four games now, and Price has played a major role in two of them. On this night, Price finished with 21 points
1) If the Pacers want to compete they need more games like this from Luis Scola. He was active from the beginning with 8 points and 6 rebounds midway through the first quarter. Scola finished with 21 poiints and 11 rebounds. But it's not just the numbers here. His energy was good throughout the game and maybe that was helped by his ability to hit that little 17-foot jumper from the elbow shot that he was open for during much of the game.
2) Solomon Hill continues to impress. There's no question that when George Hill and Rodney Stuckey return that Hill should remain a starter. He is a versatile offensive player and also a hard worker on defense. And with this current group of Pacers, when Solomon Hill is not on the court it's hard for them to compete at times. He ended up with 21 points and 10 rebounds in this one.
1) As far as rookies go from the last two nights, it seems kind of hard to believe the Bulls traded Gary Harris to the Nuggets for Doug McDermott. Harris looked like the real deal in his first NBA game, while McDermott, while looking like a capable shooter for the Bulls, still has more of a work in progress look.
2) Damjan Rudez came to the Pacers as sort of designated shooter, and while he has hit an occasional 3-pointer, so far he's not been one of those "oh, no" guys for opponents when he lets the ball go. While his playing time will likely diminish a bit when Rodney Stuckey returns to health, up to this point, Rudez has missed too many shots during this opportunity to continue see ample playing time when others return to health.
The Pacers get a few days off before they host the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night. The Hornets were 4-5 going into their late game at Golden State Saturday night. They will host Dallas Monday. Of course, the big deal here is that it will be the return ot ex-Pacer Lance Stephenson, who signed with the Hornets as a free agent this offseason. Stephenson is averaging 9.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. The Hornets have some other firepower to in center Al Jefferson at 21.7 points and 6.9 rebounds, guard Kemba Walker at 15.9 points, guard Gary Neal at 13.1 points and swingman Michael Kidd Gilchrist at 9.8.