Indiana Pacers: 3 Lessons Learned from Recent Road Trip

Kyle Grand@@KyleGrandFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2013

Indiana Pacers: 3 Lessons Learned from Recent Road Trip

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    The Indiana Pacers just finished a four-game West Coast road trip. The trip was definitely a success as the Pacers went a perfect 4-0, defeating the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.

    As the regular season winds down, the Pacers are rounding into playoff form. This latest road trip was just another sign that Indiana is going to be tough when postseason play begins.

    Now that the trip is done, here are three things Indiana proved. 

1. Roy Hibbert Is Back

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    When Roy Hibbert received a four-year, $58 million max contract in the offseason, big things were expected of him. In the early stages of the season, he was struggling. After making his first All-Star game last year, Hibbert looked as if he had regressed offensively.

    During this stint on the road, Hibbert has shown his offensive game has returned.

    In the four wins, he averaged 22.5 points per game while shooting 58.6 percent from the floor. Both are way over his season average of 11.6 points per game with a shooting percentage of 44.2.

    Throw in the fact that he averaged 10.3 rebounds per game during the road trip, and it's clear Hibbert is back to playing at an all-star level. 

2. No More Road Woes

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    Until this recent set of games, the Pacers were having problems on the road. Before the four victories, they were 15-19 away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

    This recent win streak is a sign that Indiana has figured out its road dilemmas. What's more important is that the wins were against quality teams.

    Both the Rockets and Clippers are slated to make the playoffs, so winning those games shows that the Pacers are ready for when they have to play better competition on the road.

    In order for Indiana to defeat Eastern Conference foes like the New York Knicks or Miami Heat in a playoff series, winning road games is essential. If these four games indicate anything, it's that Indiana is ready for road, playoff basketball.

3. Pacers Thrive with David West in Lineup

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    This road trip showed just how important David West is to the Pacers. When he is in the game, they are a completely different team.

    Paul George really enjoys having him on the court. West missed six games before returning against the Mavericks. In those six games, George averaged 17.5 points per game.

    West has been back for three games and George has scored 24, 25 and 23.

    West makes the defense account for him. When he isn't in the game, the opposition can focus more on George. This obviously makes it tougher for George to score.

    West gives Indiana a presence on the elbow and in the paint. From those areas he can set up Indiana's long-range shooters. Because West demands double teams, guards like George are left open, allowing them to make the other team pay.