December 1, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) looks for room to pass the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Pacers, 103-92. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Welcome in NBA’s Best Team in Pacers: Game Preview


Many have designated the NBA’s Eastern Conference as the league’s “weaker conference,” due to the vast amount of mediocre teams contending for playoff spots who would be bottom-dwellers if they played in the Western Conference.

Such a description does not apply to the Indiana Pacers, who currently sit atop the East and own the league’s best record at 32-7. The Golden State Warriors will have their hands full on Monday night when they take on the Pacers at Oracle Arena.

The Pacers come in on a tear, having won four straight in rather decisive fashion. They handled the Clippers rather easily on Saturday night, with Paul George literally putting on a show. 

If the Warriors are to have any chance of winning, they will need to contain George and his 23.2 points per game average, as well as his cast of support of David West, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson, and George Hill. The Pacers are truly loaded with depth that few teams can match, and the Warriors will need to bring their “A-game” to come away with a victory.

Tale of the Tape

Warriors

  • Points per game: 103.9 (9th)
  • Field goal percentage: 46.3% (6th)
  • 3-point percentage: 38.7% (3rd)
  • Opponents’ field goal percentage: 43.5% (T-3rd)
  • Rebounds per game: 46.0 (T-4th)
  • Turnovers: 16.9 (29th)

Pacers

  • Points per game: 98.1 (20th)
  • Field goal percentage: 45.7% (10th)
  • 3-point percentage: 36.3% (12th)
  • Opponents’ field goal percentage: 40.8% (1st)
  • Rebounds per game: 44.7 (10th)
  • Turnovers: 14.6 (T-20th)

May the Best Defense Win

The Pacers are the best defensive team in the NBA, as proven above with their league-leading opponents’ field-goal percentage. They also hold their opponents to 92.6 points per 100 possessions, also tops in the league.

On the other side, while Mark Jackson likes to describe the Warriors as a “defensive-minded” team, their play recently has not warranted that description. In consecutive losses to the Nuggets and Thunder last week, the Warriors allowed an average of 118.5 points during those games. They did hold the Pelicans to just 87 points in a win on Saturday, and they will need to put forth a similar defensive effort tonight.

Perhaps as a proof for Lawler’s law, the Warriors are 19-2 when holding opponents to under 100 points, while the Pacers are 12-1 when scoring over 100 points.

Bad Blood?

The Warriors and Pacers do not have much of a history, but the last time they met (February of last year), it was an ugly affair. Roy Hibbert and David Lee got into an altercation in the fourth quarter, leading to a skirmish that spilled into the stands:

And on that note, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and enjoy the game.

Injury Report

GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.

IND: None

Probable Starters

GOLDEN STATE (26-16)

  • F Andre Iguodala
  • F David Lee
  • C Andrew Bogut
  • G Klay Thompson
  • G Stephen Curry

INDIANA (32-7) 

  • F Paul George
  • F David West
  • C Roy Hibbert
  • G Lance Stephenson
  • G George Hill

Game Info

Time: 5:00 PST

Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

TV: TNT

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