The Indiana Pacers certainly missed Roy Hibbert’s defensive contributions in a 99-91 loss to the Clippers, the all-star center was suspended for Thursday nights game. Ian Mahinmi started in his place with Jeff Pendergraph filling in off the bench. Both tried their best but, the Pacers had trouble down low. They finished with only 32 points in the paint compared to the Clippers 50.
“Ian and Pendergraph tried to anchor and hold the paint down. A lot of the credit goes to them we as guards should’ve been able to help them out as well. But, Roy was missed,” said Paul George who finished with 20 points and 5 assists.
“I wish I would’ve been a little bit more aggressive on the offensive end. They came out very aggressive and got a lot of deflections and steals that got them going,” said Mahinmi who added 5 points and 5 rebounds.
The Pacers played catch up nearly the entire game and things seemed to get complelty out of hand in the fourth quarter. With 5:38 to play the Clippers took their biggest lead of the game, getting in front by 17 points. However, the Pacers never gave up and rallied to with in 4 points with under a minute to play.
“They showed a lot of heart not quiting in the game. Down 17 I asked them for one more burst and lets see what we can make happen,” said Head Coach Frank Vogel.
One postivie to take from the loss had to be the play of Danny Granger. In just his third game of the season the Pacers forward started to look like his old self, scoring 12 points in 19 minutes of play. Granger is slowly getting back into the swing of things after missing 55 games with a knee injury.
“It’s a process. I’m a ways away from where I need to be but I am making strides forward.”
The Pacers have a quick turn around they travel to Tornoto for a game against the Raptors on Friday night at 7 p.m. The team will have Roy Hibbert back in the lineup but the status of Granger is uncertain. He said after Thursday’s loss to the Clippers that he doesn’t anticipate being able to play a back-to-back so soon, however if his knee feels okay when he wakes up on Friday then he’ll play.