NBA Best Of The Week: Week 12—The Indiana Pacers And That Historic Defense

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Since the NBA began keeping track of turnovers as an official stat in 1977-78, here’s a fun fact—no team has ever finished with a defensive rating 10 points better than the league average.

The closest ever was the Boston Celtics in 2007-08, in year one of the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen partnership, when they posted a defensive rating of 96.2 points per 100 possessions, which was 8.6 points better than the league average of 104.7.

Two other teams have been at least eight points better than the league average—the 2003-04 San Antonio Spurs (91.6 D-rating against a 100.0 NBA average) and the 1992-93 New York Knicks (95.8 against 105.3).

With 40 games in the books, the Indiana Pacers are in history-making territory. Not only do they have an NBA-best 33-7 record, but their defensive rating against the league average is ridiculously off the charts. The Pacers have a D-rating of 92.8, with the league average sitting at 102.9—a differential of 10.1 points per 100 possessions.

The Pacers beat the Golden State Warriors Monday night 102-94 in Oakland, Calif., and are 1½ games clear of everyone else in the league. More importantly for the Pacers, however, is the 4½-game lead they have over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana hasn’t been shy about its stated goal—home-court advantage. After losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Miami last season, the Pacers want to ensure if they find themselves in a similar 3-3 series with Miami (or anyone else, for that matter) that Game 7 is in front of the folks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

They’re about halfway to their goal, it would seem.

Moving on to the best of the week, where the players selected must play at least 25 minutes a game in more than half of their team’s games (rookies must average 20 minutes a game to be selected).

All statistical information from NBA.com/Stats.

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