November 10, 2010
The Indiana Pacers have had their offensive struggles so far this season. The team is one of the faster outfits in the NBA, but they rank only 27th of 30 teams in offensive efficiency, a pace-adjusted stat that tells you, sure, Indiana can score quite a bit, but they also shoot quite a bit.
On Tuesday night in Indiana, the Pacers shot about as much as they usually do in the third quarter of their win over the Denver Nuggets. Twenty-one times, in fact, which is right in line with the 82 attempts per game they were averaging entering Tuesday's play. The difference this time was that the Pacers made shots. A lot of them.
Twenty out of 21 of them. Took 21 shots, made their first 20, missed the last one.
Fifty-four points for the Pacers in the quarter, as the team also hit six of its nine free throws on the way toward blowing out the Denver Nuggets by a 144-113 score.
Denver has long been an inconsistent defensive team, and without big men like Chris Andersen(notes) or Kenyon Martin(notes) around to contest shots, the team can be taken advantage of on the interior. And yet, it entered Tuesday's game ranked seventh in defensive efficiency. And though the Nuggets were a step slow in some of their third-quarter rotations, really, the Pacers were just that hot.
Oh, and the answer to that trivia question?
It was Pacer forward Josh McRoberts(notes), who missed the final shot in Indiana's third quarter, a long 3-pointer at the buzzer. And despite those 54 points, the Pacers still fell short of the Buffalo Braves' record of 58 points in a quarter -- in a losing effort, no less -- scored against the Boston Celtics in October 1972.