Post-Game Grades: Pacers Make Pistons’ Parents Say “I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed”
(Guest recap tonight courtesy of @mike_saurus. Grades by me. – JW)
The game was 13-2 at the time I turned to my roommate and told him the game was over. By that point Roy Hibbert was locked in early and got a few baskets, Lance Stephenson was pushing the pace for easy transition buckets, and the team was active and cutting on offense.
On the other side were the Pistons, so I felt pretty confident.
The offense was crisp and smooth for the first quarter, as the Pacers doubled up the Pistons in the first, 34-17. This happened even with Paul George only taking two shots (plus a pair of free throws), though he found other ways to stay aggressive and involved. His ability to have a major impact on the game even without scoring was just another step in the long-term development of the exciting wing player.
And the defense.
Indiana held the Pistons to 36.6% shooting (15-for-41) in the first half while jumping out to a 60-34 lead. By the end of this one, the Pacers hadn’t trailed for 10 straight quarters. The offense has improved and deserves praise, but the defense continues to impress and gives this team the identity that it needs to keep the second seed in the East.
The Pacers will need to sustain their efficiency (and I expect nothing less, especially with Granger comes back) to make the increasingly likely Miami match up more interesting then the pesky-but-unfulfilled series from last year; however, I feel confident as I continue to watch these Pacers that the defense alone will keep a top three seed.
|David West, PF 26 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +29
It doesn’t get much more efficient than that, although he did uncharacteristically throw away one long outlet while trying to spark a break. Then again, he also threw another perfect strike trying to the same and make like 46 slick interior passes.
|Paul George, SF 26 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 7 TO | 12 PTS | +29
Made quite the impact for a guy who took just 6 shots. Had an unreal, two-handed block of a Rodney Stuckey layup that would have made Karch Kiraly proud.
|Roy Hibbert, C 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +31
If this is post-break Roy Hibbert is the guy who will be around for the rest of the year, things are seriously looking up for this team. The numbers don’t blow you away, but he didn’t play like a guy who was struggling. Instead he was diving on the floor and being a positive presence in the paint on both ends.
|George Hill, PG 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +31
Quietly continued to have a fantastic under-the-radar season. Looked very confident on his three-point attempts.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +28
An absolute monster in transition. Basically the Raiders of the Ark boulder when he gets his momentum going.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +10
|Jeff Pendergraph, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9
Nothing too notable but no … Pendergaffes … either.
|Sam Young, SF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +2
I think that windmill the other night sparked something inside of him. He was really looking to drive and score in garbage time.
|Gerald Green, SF 13 MIN | 1-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6
Did that cool dunk thing he does, but pretty telling that he can’t even score in a game in which the whole fourth quarter was the equivalent of the last pick-up game of the run when nobody is really trying anymore.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +10
Did his Mahinmi stuff.
|Ben Hansbrough, PG 5 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -9
|D.J. Augustin, PG 15 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10
Made arguably his prettiest pass of the season on a lookaway, over-the-top pass to Tyler, who got fouled. Then later tossed a nice lob to Gerald for the oop. He also didn’t hesitate to take it to the hoop in transition. Looks like he believes in himself again.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 23 MIN | 5-5 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +4
Had all his points in the first half while not missing a shot. And, yeah, I mentioned D.J.’s confidence? Well … this guy? Now THAT’S confidence. Pulp is basically out there shooting the ball in the same way Rick Ross walks around without a shit: He cares not what you think and knows he’s a boss. RUUUHHHHHHH