Defense in any sport is about making the other team try to score in the least efficient ways possible.
The Indiana Pacers are really good at making opponents look really bad. Thats why theyre 14-1. Thats how they beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-74 Wednesday.
The Bobcats (7-9) shot a season-low 31percent from the field. Thats no coincidence. The Pacers are best in the NBA in points allowed, field-goal percentage defense and defensive points per possession.
Wednesday they forced the Bobcats into being jump-shooters. Thats not going to win a lot of games for the home team.
Theyre so good and so long that you dont get any easy ones to get you started offensively, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "So everything was pull-up jump shots.
Not good. The most telling statistic of the night was backcourt starters Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson shooting a combined 6-for-32 from the field. It was like the Pacers were ordering the Bobcats where they were and werent allowed to shoot.
They have long, strong defenders, Henderson said. Playing a team like that, if your jump shot is not falling, youre going to lose.
The Pacers are big and experienced. As Clifford described, Indiana center Roy Hibbert and power forward David West are the important combination of big and mobile. That limited the Bobcats to 26 points in the lane Wednesday, to Indianas 30.
Charlotte was outscored 25-19 at the foul line, where they normally dominate, and the difference in scoring from 3-point range (30 to nine) was gigantic.
Every time we made a mistake, they made us pay, Clifford said. Were going to have to play with great discipline to beat a team like that. We didnt.
This was the Bobcats sixth loss in seven home games. For whatever reason, they have a pattern of not showing up at Time Warner Cable Arena with the same energy and focus they do on the road. They complete will a three-game homestand Friday against the Bucks, a team they beat by 24 last week in Milwaukee.
For the first time in four games reserve center Bismack Biyombo played significant minutes for the Bobcats. Clifford had been using Jeff Adrien to back up Al Jefferson (16 points) at center, but Adrien couldnt handle guarding Hibbert during the first half.
Hes our best post defender, and by quite a bit, Clifford said of Adrien. Tonight, for whatever reason, he was a step late.
Jefferson played his fourth straight game after missing much of the preseason and nine of the first 12 regular-season games with ankle ailments. Who the Bobcats are and arent is coming into focus.
Our defense if very good. Our offense needs work, Clifford said. Al helps and as he gets into better condition hell be even better.
PACERS 99, BOBCATS 74
Percentages: FG .381, FT .781. Three-Point Goals: 10-25, .400 (Watson 6-7, Butler 1-1, Sloan 1-1, George 1-4, G.Hill 1-5, Johnson 0-1, Copeland 0-3, Stephenson 0-3). Team Rebounds: 14. Team Turnovers: 15 (6 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Hibbert 2, G.Hill 2). Turnovers: 15 (George 5, Stephenson 3, Hibbert 2, Copeland, G.Hill, Mahinmi, Scola, Watson). Steals: 8 (George 3, Stephenson 2, G.Hill, Sloan, West). Technical Fouls: Delay of game, 10:38 fourth.
Percentages: FG .313, FT .679. Three-Point Goals: 3-9, .333 (Walker 2-4, Pargo 1-1, McRoberts 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Tolliver 0-2). Team Rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 15 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Jefferson 3, Henderson, Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller). Turnovers: 15 (Jefferson 3, Walker 3, Zeller 3, Henderson 2, Kidd-Gilchrist, McRoberts, Sessions, Tolliver). Steals: 3 (Walker 2, Kidd-Gilchrist). Technical Fouls: Coach Clifford, 8:55 third; Delay of game, 11:06 fourth.
Att.15,170 (19,077). T2:29. OfficialsBill Kennedy, Dick Bavetta, John Goble.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell