Post-Game Grades: Pacers Handle Wolves, Improve to 13-1
It wasn’t the exact recipe for success that Tim talked about today. But the Pacers once again spent 36 minutes playing an opponent close before deciding to yield nothing and score at will for a short burst that effectively ended the game.
It’s now abundantly clear that Indiana has another level they can tap into, seemingly whenever they need it most, to put away the competition. It’s like Fast & Furious nitrous.
The Wolves played well at times. Kevin Martin started the game getting the best of Paul George on a few plays and later Ricky Rubio was able to navigate his way through the defense continually, opting not to shoot but to find an open big man in the paint for easy hoops on several occasions. Kevin Love’s shot was off but he was still Kevin Love, chewing up boards, making some nice finishes and getting to the line.
The Pacers did their thing on offense as well. George Hill was relentless early and refused to be anything but magnificent. Paul found himself open for threes, made a few nice moves and was the recipient of some slick passes after astute cuts that earned him cheapies at the rim. David West struggled at the start but later found a way to ensure everyone in the building knew he was the stronger person in the arena not named Pekovic.
All this individual play kept the game near-knotted. The Pacers defense generally kept the Wolves from hitting many shots, but Minny was active on the offensive glass and the got to the line a ton. (This was certainly due to some friendly whistles — something Indiana’s players, and coach, grew increasingly frustrated with to the point that it nearly took them out of the game for good.)
Then, the fourth quarter hit, Indiana completely locked down the defense and stopped fouling. They piled on the points the other way and it was all over but some fancy-pants showboating at the end.
Business as usual
|David West, PF 29 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +9
Not his best work, but was instrumental in changing the tide from a free-flowing game where shots were easy to come by into a contest where muscles were a priority.
|Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 10-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 26 PTS | +14
It’s downright nutty that he can have a quiet 26-point night. This was mainly due to him hitting wide-open threes and benefitting from several easy dunks. Either way, the efficient-y-ish efficiency. He was sloppy with the ball though, giving up too many turnovers.
|Roy Hibbert, C 27 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +1
Ian Mahinmi played so well, that Hibbert got to rest a lot. Protected the rim very well while on the floor, but he wasn’t needed much after helping to establish Indiana’s inside presence early.
|George Hill, PG 39 MIN | 9-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 5 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | +6
Best game of the year. Ferocious and determined to attack, attack, attack. No hesitation. When he plays like this — being the best player on the floor for long stretches — it’s usually curtains for the opposition.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 30 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +14
Erratic and made some mental mistakes. Frank Vogel yelled at him for walking back down the court after a miss, for example. But was devastating around the hoop during Indiana’s big run, and helped neuter the Wolves.
|Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +5
Threw up several airballs, but also showed his veteran savvy by going at Kevin Love down low. He tried not to settle for shots from distance, knowing that he could back him down and get a closer look. Final line looks dandy.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +13
He was bigger than his line. Made several nice finishes — and catches — not to mention a big block that brought a bunch of life to the building. One of his finer stints in recent, or distant, memory.
|C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +8
|Orlando Johnson, SG 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | 0
Thought he scored more than this. Missed those two free throws. Active on the boards, and seemed involved.