Philadelphia 76ers Stat Monkey Brief: Sixers/Pacers (3/16/13)

They might not be fast, but they're furious: beware Indiana's starting five's defense.

Furious Five

At this point in the season, the Indiana Pacers have established themselves as the best defensive team in the league by a solid margin. Their defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is nearly 1.5 points better than their nearest competitor. While their bench units aren't as stingy defensively, the Pacers starting five is downright terrifying to offenses.

When on the floor together, the combination of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert allow just 94.1 points per 100 possessions, a solid five points better than the team's overall rating. In fact, when any combination of three of the five starters is on the floor together, Indiana has a defensive rating of no higher than 95.3.

That doesn't bode well for the Sixers, who have very little punch off the bench to take advantage when the Pacers' starters take a breather. With Jason Richardson and Nick Young both sidelined, the Sixers have been forced to start Damien Wilkins (isn't tanking fun?), with Dorell Wright as the only scorer on the bench.

Jrue's Resurgence

After that horrific stretch Jrue Holiday went through during the Sixers' five-game losing streak, the All Star has rebounded somewhat in the past two games. The key for Holiday in getting his stroke back was cutting his attempts big time against the Nets. Jrue still struggled in the paint, missing all three shots there, but took mostly easy jumpers and finished with a 56.3 effective field goal percentage (eFG%).

Seeing a few shots go in clearly got Holiday ready to go against Miami. He looked like he belonged on the court with the Heatles Trio, as evidenced by this smooth throwdown on (or, more accurately, around) LeBron James.

Jrue came up especially big in a fourth quarter that saw the Sixers take a slim lead over the Heat. On top of that dunk, Holiday knocked down two threes and posted an 83.3 eFG% en route to 10 points in the quarter (21 for the game).