How the Indiana Pacers Can Salvage Their Season without Danny Granger

Ryan ReedCorrespondent IIDecember 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers reacts to a call during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 4, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 80-76. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Indiana Pacers started the 2012-13 NBA season by losing six out of their first nine games.

Since then, they have managed to right the ship and have reached .500 by winning eight out of their last 13. Still, it is evident that this team is missing the presence that Danny Granger has on both sides of the floor.

So how can the Indiana Pacers continue on their most recent trend? More importantly, can they get over the loss of Danny Granger and truly salvage the season of high expectations?

Keep reading to find out just how they can do that.


Win the easy games:

Sure this sounds like an easy enough goal to accomplish, but it is still extremely important for the Pacers going forward.

So far, Indiana has beaten Toronto, Sacramento, Washington, New Orleans and Portland, all teams with losing records. They have also lost to Charlotte and Toronto, but have largely been able to avoid being upset by teams.

Still, this will be an important piece to the Pacers' season as they are simply not good enough right now to beat many teams with winning records.

If Indiana is able to win most of the easy games on their schedule, they should be able to save their season.


Keep getting good production from Paul George:

Paul George started off the season playing inefficient basketball, plain and simple. He shot 39.2 percent from the field in the month of November while scoring 14.3 points and adding 6.0 rebounds per game.

In the last five games, however, George has shown flashes of the dominance that many expected out of him this season. In that span, he is averaging 24.4 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists, all while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 53.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Of those five games, the Pacers have won three and lost one (to Denver, by only three points).

The point, of course, is that with the emergence of Paul George has come the re-emergence of the Indiana Pacers. Before the season, George was looked at as the heir to Danny Granger. It took a month, but it looks like Paul may finally be living up to that title.


Continue playing stingy defense:

Despite struggles on offense, the Indiana Pacers have been one of the NBA's best defensive teams this season.

They are second in the league in opponents points per game, at 91.3, while forcing opposing teams to shoot a league-low 40.9 percent from the field.

Interestingly enough, nine out of the top 10 leaders in each of these statistics have winning records, directly indicating that each category has a huge impact on a team's win percentage.

Bottom line for the Pacers: Keep playing defense. 


Fix their turnover problem:

One of the more pressing issues that the Indiana Pacers are having is turnovers.

So far, the Pacers are averaging 15.2 turnovers per game, slightly worse than the league average. What makes this bad, however, is that Indiana only forces their opponents into 12.4 turnovers per contest.

Those numbers give Indiana the worst turnover differential in the NBA, tied with the Lakers, and a solid .8 per game above the No. 3 Orlando Magic.

This statistic by itself does not indicate that the team will lose a majority of their games. After all, Oklahoma City and Golden State are each in the top five.

Still, it will be difficult for the Pacers to get their offense going like they need to if they continue losing the turnover battle.