Post-Game Grades: Pacers Shut Down Magic
The fact is that the Pacers haven’t beaten a high-level team in a while. They lost to the Clippers to close February and then coughed up games to the Heat, Celtics and Kobe-less Lakers. Good teams lose to good teams all the time, so while discouraging, those defeats didn’t seem to mean too too much.
Then, they went to Philadelphia and got handled on a Saturday night, however. That, combined with the fact that the Bulls are the only playoff team the Pacers have beaten this month. Meanwhile, Danny Granger isn’t returning any time soon and David West is now ailing.
Again, this is not cause for panic.
But I was started to grow a little concerned.
With this in mind, it has been nice to see Indiana smoke two bad teams in a row. Beating good teams is perhaps more encouraging, but smacking down the league’s woodchipper fodder can relieve some worry as well.
The Cavaliers and Magic have now been tossed into the mulch bag.
Now, it will be revealing to see how Indiana plays in its next five games (Milwaukee, @Chicago, Atlanta, @Houston, @Dallas). Those are all beatable squads that are in theory a tier — or more — below the Pacers (though having to go on the road for three makes it that much tougher).
If they get through with at least a winning record, no worries.
How they win and lose matters, but if they head into April on a down swing, it will probably bring back that concern I had before tonight.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 27 MIN | 4-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +5
Some of his offensive boards were on his own misses, which can either be viewed as “why so inaccurate?” or “way to follow up your mistakes.” Better yet was his ability to fit in seamlessly for the injured David West at the other end.
|Paul George, SF 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +5
Scored 6 pts during the 13-2 run Indiana went on to close the first quarter, which was essentially all the separation they needed.
|Roy Hibbert, C 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +10
Seemed to play even less than he did. Had one nice, aggressive dunk. Always promising to see.
|George Hill, PG 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +22
He’s a very good point guard. I may not have always thought so last year, but he is.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 26 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +10
His inability to hit open threes has become troubling.
|Miles Plumlee, PF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -3
Hit a free throw. (I was watching Denver/Oklahoma City by then, I believe.)
|Jeff Pendergraph, PF 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +17
Looking like a decent “mop up” guy, to borrow some baseball terminology. Particularly against a bad team, can soak up some minutes without particularly hurting or helping. Something to be said for that.
|Sam Young, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
|Gerald Green, SF 20 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +17
If Vogel can just get him to be an auto-pilot scorer at times for a reserve unit, he may have some playoff utility. If Orlando Johnson errs, at least.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +13
|Ben Hansbrough, PG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3
The Hansbrough who didn’t start at PF.
|D.J. Augustin, PG 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +5
|Orlando Johnson, SG 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +12
Thought he wasn’t allowed to miss three-pointers? Shot 2-for-2 inside the arc though.