Post-Game Grades: Pacers Lay Waste to Celtics in Second Half
What we witnessed last night in Boston is becoming the prototypical 2013-14 Indiana Pacers’ game. They play the opponent even for most of the contest then, at some point, they just tighten the defensive screws and jump out to a double-digit lead. Then it’s all over but the counting.
In the third quarter, Indiana simply annihilated Boston.
The Cs had jumped out to an early lead on hot shooting and some excellent scoring by Jordan Crawford. It was 50-42, green guys, heading into the break. They hit 23 of its first 39 (59.0%) shots, including 3-of-5 from long range, and it looked like it might just be their night.
Then again, this felt too familiar.
Indiana was scuffling, its two marquee young stars, Paul George and Roy Hibbert, combining for just 4 field goals on 12 tries. Surprisingly, David West couldn’t get much going inside either as Boston was somehow keeping Indiana’s monster front court from exploiting its clear size advantage.
Despite the eight-point deficit, we had seen this movie before. The Pacers are now like a dominant rushing team in the NFL; they often spend the first act or two of the game establishing their style and wearing down the opposition only to capitalize on that hard work later when the other team hits a spell of fatigue or loses its focus momentarily.
The third quarter played out exactly that way, and I’m not sure what’s more impressive: the fact that this happening seemed inevitable even before it played out or that the Pacers managed to do this to yet another team.
The third was like a snuff film.
The Pacers forced 9 Celtics turnovers while also holding Boston to a paltry 3-for-13 shooting. Meanwhile, Indiana took 26 shots — twice as many attempts as Boston — and offensive rebounded nearly half their misses (7 ORBs on 15 missed FGs). No Celtic scored more than 2 points in the period, as Indiana turned an 8-point halftime deficit into a 9-point lead. West and George lead the way with 10 and 8 points, respectively, in the quarter.
The fourth was more of the same. Indiana outscored Boston 17-10 over the next 7 minutes with Luis Scola stepping in right where West left off. He hit all 3 of his shots in that stretch while scoring 8 points. Teamwide, the Pacers hit 7-of-11 shots in those 7 minutes. Soon after, it was a 20-point blowout.
|David West, PF 29 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +14
Mr. West entered the building at the start of the third with the Pacers trailing by 8. Then he destroyed small cities and large towns. His 10 points in the period was more than Boston could muster (8) as Indiana asserted its superior size and ability to take control of the game.
|Paul George, SF 38 MIN | 9-20 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | +16
Running out of good things to say about him. Did force a few looks, but was generally his wonderful self. He could have kept it close by himself in the second half, as he put up 22 points to Boston’s 32.
|Roy Hibbert, C 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +5
Didn’t do much statistically and his inability to body up the lowly Celtics’ bigs was fairly disappointing. Struggled to get position against the much smaller Jared Sullinger. Only two blocks, but he played good defense and deterred Boston from attacking the rim (just 21 attempts in the restricted area).
|George Hill, PG 38 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +11
Had to play heavy minutes with C.J. Watson missing the game due to illness. Didn’t really impress or detract much, but did struggle to defend Jordan Crawford in 1st Half (though a good chunk of that was a streaky shooter hitting shots). To his credit, he did respond after the break; Crawford only got 4 more shots up — 2 coming after the game was decided — and had 6 turnovers in the second half. .
|Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 10 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +11
Another triple double for the young baller who may already have played himself out of the Pacers’ payroll for next season. It’s pretty ridiculous that he can put up a line like this on a night when he didn’t even really stand out that much.
|Luis Scola, PF 25 MIN | 7-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +5
Man, this guy is really, super talented. What a luxury to have both him and David West spacing the floor. Missed only 2 shots, and brought every ounce of his presence, intelligence, and skill off the bench
|Chris Copeland, SF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +2
The good: He hit a three, and the defense has to honor his shooting in a way they don’t with Solomon Hill or Orlando Johnson. The bad: a couple of really bad ball-gawking incidents in his first minute on the floor.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +6
A solid first half rotation negated by an ugly first two minutes of the fourth quarter.
|Donald Sloan, PG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +4
Pretty sloppy and wasn’t able to get the offense in gear on many possessions.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1
Non-factor, but did benefit from a bizarre confluence of bad offense (Lance hero ball over-dribbling) and worse defense (the entire Boston D stopping to watch). He made the cut, and Lance woke up – resulting in a dunk.