Stuckey Not Stuck on Triple-Double
The opportunity was there for Rodney Stuckey, a chance to do something he’d never done in his seven previous NBA seasons.
He had 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists after three quarters of the Pacers’ 110-91 win over the Lakers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, with plenty of time left to get the measly three assists that would give him his first career triple-double.
He didn’t get off the bench in the final period of the blowout victory, though. No need. It was all garbage time, as the Pacers took an 89-58 lead into the quarter.
He said he wasn’t bothered in the least, and he sounded like he meant it.
“I don’t care about that kind of stuff,” he said. “We’ve got some tough games coming up (in a three-game road trip) and it was important to get a win.”
Stuckey’s play has improved since he moved from point guard, where he started for four games earlier in the month. He moved back to the off-guard position for last Friday’s game at Toronto, and has played there for three consecutive games. He had 13 points against the Raptors, 14 points and 14 rebounds against Portland on Saturday, and his best all-around game of the season on Monday.
He says he doesn’t care which position he plays, just as he doesn’t care if he starts or comes off the bench. But he seems better able to attack the basket from the wing, which he did repeatedly against the Lakers. Four of his six field goals came on layups, and he missed four other layups in traffic, either out of the halfcourt offense or on a fastbreak. He also got to the foul line 10 times, and hit eight of them.
“When I’m on the wing I have a lot more opportunity to come off the pick and roll,” he said. “We have a loop play where I can create for myself or throw it back to the bigs. I was attacking in transition and going fullcourt.”
Something the Pacers offense needs desperately.
“He’s what I’ve always known him to be: a bulldog,” Donald Sloan said of Stuckey. “He’s playing the Rodney Stuckey way. We need that. He was bringing everything to the table. He was on his way to a triple-double. If he had played a little more, he probably would have gotten it.”
There was an element of irony to Stuckey’s brush with a triple-double. It came on a day when the NBA rumor mill was churning with reports that Charlotte wants to trade Lance Stephenson, which of course fueled speculation about Stephenson returning to the Pacers. Stephenson led the NBA with five triple-doubles for the Pacers last season.
“I thought about that on the bench, hearing all these rumors of Lance coming back,” Sloan said. “The reason we got Stuckey was because we lost Lance, then (Stuckey) comes and does this. Whether he intended it or not, it’s kind of a statement. Maybe they need to hush up with the rumors.”