Post-Game Grades: Pacers Shellshock the Heat
As Sidney Deane said, you either smoke, or you get smoked — and you god smooked.
“Two times,” added Wyclef.
It’s the regular season and all that so probably shouldn’t read too too much into all this, but it was quite the display for a team coming off a discouraging road trip and maybe down on itself a little bit. A win over the champs has to help this team get back on track, and perhaps a performance like this is what it needs to kickstart the offense. The Pacers scored as well as they have this season against a good team.
David West has never lacked for confidence, but a game like this just further proves that he can’t be stopped by players that can’t match his physicality. That should do wonders for this team’s overall psyche if it faces Miami again this postseason.
Meanwhile … Paul George. Jeez. These are his “bad” games now.
Really not much more you can say.
There was nothing that is super impressive in terms of stats, but his overall demeanor and decision to remain uber-agressive really show how rapidly his game has growth since the beginning of the year. He has never, ever been this confident. Maybe inwardly, but it has never been on display as it is almost every night now. His ball-handling lapses, while still there, don’t seem there. If that makes sense. Once, they always seemed to be in the back of his mind, and the result was a default passivity that preferred open jumpers to having the ball in his hands.
The kid still loves his threes but he doesn’t seem to have that preference anymore. He knows he has these big bear claws and he seems fine to let the defender chose their mauling location. His entire approach to the game right now is one of the more enjoyable things to watch in the entire NBA.
On both ends.
There will be more time to highlight how uplifting it should be for the Pacers to dismantle the only team in the East they fear twice on their home court this season. Ultimately, the stretch of schedule between now and the All-Star break is just as important as tonight’s game. The run of home games will be nice, but there is the back-to-back-to-back to deal with, and three of the opponents are Chicago, Brooklyn and Atlanta.
Any of those teams can beat Indiana no matter the location.
Unlike, ya know, Miami.
|David West, PF 36 MIN | 12-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 30 PTS | +9
The best player on the court for either team. Couldn’t miss. Heart and soul.
|Paul George, SF 41 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +10
Picked up a couple of silly fouls early trying to go toe-to-toe with LeBron, and missed all five threes he took after making his first of the evening. But his presence was there and he made things tough on Miami on both ends.
|Roy Hibbert, C 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +10
Not that it wasn’t already but this is becoming a really big problem. Showed up late and looked like a different player for a short stretch but his first half was simply unacceptable.
|George Hill, PG 35 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +6
Didn’t make a ton of plays but seemed to make some when they were needed. Which is pretty much his middle name. It’s a long middle name, I admit.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 39 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +11
Took some really bad shots, but started the game 4-for-5 and even played some nice defense on Wade a few times. Was dangerous in space. Sometimes you just wish he wouldn’t try to force his way into open space in the half court so often.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 12 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +4
Just an absolute monster. He should have gotten a few more calls even, but he came in and changed the game. Hate how cliché it is, but Miami, in the regular season at least, can’t match his intensity.
|Sam Young, SF 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Welcome back. Pissed Bosh off something awful to the point he drew a technical after being called for hitting Young on a weird lob-breakup play. Pass interference or something.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +3
|D.J. Augustin, PG 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +7
Hit a nice kick out three from Paul George but I don’t remember most of his 13 minutes. In a good way. The bench seemed quite capable of letting Miami back in the game late in the third but they held serve without a single issue.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4
I think this kid is officially pretty good.