Post-Game Grades: Pacers Make it Six in a Row
Last time these two teams met, the Pacers needed all 48 minutes – plus another 5 – to finally wrest control from the Hornets. This time around, they needed less than half of that.
Midway through the second quarter, this game looked every bit as dangerous as I thought it might be. Then, it wasn’t. Instead of dragging things out, the Pacers used a 21-4 run to turn this one into a repeat of Tuesday night’s win over the Warriors. That night, the Pacers’ defense showed up in force in the second and third quarters, allowing only 33 total points and posting a defensive efficiency of 66/100. This night, they did the same allowing only 31 points on a defensive efficiency of just under 72.
The starting five of David, Danny, Roy, Paul, and Darren wasn’t as dominant as they were against the Warriors (when they outscored their Dubs counterparts by 29 points in their 18 minutes of floor time), they did most of the heavy lifting during the key second quarter stretch. And it was all of them.
West started it with a bucket, and grabbed 7 rebounds in the quarter. Hibbert chipped in 4 more boards as the Pacers owned the glass during the run. Paul George pilfered three of his game-high five steals, and seemingly got his hand on the ball during every New Orleans possession. Danny scored 6 of his I-am-an-offensive-foundation-piece-20-point game. DC scored 6, with 4 coming in the final 32 seconds of the half in dagger-like fashion.
In the second half, the George Hill-led bench ended all doubt by bridging the third and fourth quarters with a 19-7 run. And the Pacers’ 23rd win of the season turned into an impressive demonstration of the balance that Frank Vogel so often touts as their biggest weapon.
Monday night in Chicago, it gets real hard, real fast. This was a game Indy needed to win, and it was good to see them not fool around with it.
|David West, PF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 13 REB | 14 PTS | +11
It’s amazing how quickly West has become the anchor for this team. His presence…his stability…his understanding of the game allow his teammates to be so much more effective.
|Danny Granger, SF 30 MIN | 7-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 20 PTS | +21
Danny doin’ what Danny do. Hit some timely threes. Played some defense. Blocked a couple shots. This + West + development of Roy, Paul, Hill and Hansbrough is the recipe for an actual playoff run.
|Roy Hibbert, C 28 MIN | 0-4 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 4 PTS | +22
Had maybe the best game of his career against the Hornets in the first matchup. Tonight? Not so much. He did get 10 boards & a couple blocks, but he was largely a non-factor this time around.
|Darren Collison, PG 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | +17
Mostly quiet game gets a nice mark for the four back-breaking points he scored in the final 32 seconds of the first half. Odd plays that just sucked all of the oxygen out of the Hornets heading into halftime.
|Paul George, SG 24 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 STL | 11 PTS | +12
Paul George is such an interesting player to watch play defense. He’s like a dark cloud that follows offensive players around. Then, when he starts getting his hands on passes and dribbles (5 steals tonight, 3 in the decisive 2nd Quarter), he just completely short circuits the opponent’s offense.
|Dahntay Jones, SG 16 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -2
Pretty nondescript performance, except for a very pretty outlet for a George Hill dunk.
|Louis Amundson, C 16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 5-7 FT | 10 REB | 11 PTS | -1
A double-double in 16 minutes is nice argument for the power of the pony tail, but points are deducted for an errant 4th quarter baseball pass that nearly killed assistant coach Brian Shaw.
|A.J. Price, G 21 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3 AST | 3 PTS | +1
Not much to talk about here, but finally unlocked the “Alley-Oop-to-Lou-Amundson” badge on Foursquare.
|George Hill, SG 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +17
Makes such a big difference on the second unit – adding speed, offense, and stability. Good to see him moving well after his ankle injury. Even better to see him knock down a couple of jumpers.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 17 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 7 PTS | +16
Lots of activity…still not enough accomplishment.
|Jeff Pendergraph, F 6 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2 REB | 2 PTS | -12
Hustled, but nothing to show for it. I can’t say that he deserves to get time ahead of any other bigs, but I can’t help but worry that the fact he only gets minutes at garbage time is bad for his development.
Lance Stephenson, SG 6 MIN | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -12
Met his quota of one oh-my-goodness-did-he-actually-do-that? play per game with a pass that most NBA players wouldn’t even recognize in film the next day, but has been relegated to garbage time. It’s the right thing to do for the team, but a series of DNP-CDs will put his newfound maturity to the test.