I’ve been thinking about it all season.
That game against the Heat. The one the Pacers weren’t supposed to win because they didn’t have Danny Granger in the lineup. Only, they did win. And it was in that moment that we realized what the Pacers had in Paul George.
It happened again on Friday night.
On a 12-game winning streak, the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers made their first trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Paul George sat courtside in a busy suit (a little too busy for my taste, but that’s neither here nor there). Starting in his place (which also meant guarding James), forward Solomon Hill. Who, until this year, hadn’t had any significant playing time. And up against the best basketball player in the land…he shined.
It was a true team effort. George Hill, just a few games back from significant injury himself, was back in his role as the hometown hero. C.J. Miles had a hot shot. And David West was the always reliable veteran.
But the story of the night was Solomon Hill.
I asked head coach Frank Vogel about it when he spoke to the media on Thursday. Could he see some good for his team coming out of Paul George’s injury? He talked about silver linings. And how every time you lose a guy in a lineup, it creates an opportunity for another guy. He talked about Solomon Hill. And how with a healthy lineup, he didn’t get much of a chance to play his first year.
“He’s playing a ton this year and he’s making mistakes and he’s making great plays and he’s growing and he’s developing and that’s definitely a positive of Paul being out.” -Frank Vogel on Solomon Hill
And he was a big contributor to the Pacers’ biggest win of the year.
That’s the thing about silver linings. They don’t always appear right away. But when they do, it’s obvious.
It was obvious the Pacers had something special when Paul George stepped in for Danny Granger. And it was obvious again on Friday night, when Solomon Hill stepped in for Paul George.
In the words of Napolean Hill, “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune.”
The Pacers have had their share of misfortune this season. But, there’s plenty of opportunity left.
Anything can happen…
And that may be the biggest silver lining of all.