Post-Game Grades: Pacers Pick Up Win 6 vs. the Raptors
Six games. Six wins.
Tonight’s 91-84 victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors was probably a little harder than most expected, but it still counts. The defense was atrocious in the first quarter (137 pts per 100 possessions) and spotty in the fourth (108/100), but bone-crushingly dominant in between (63/100).
In a slight flip of the normal script, Toronto scored 32 points in the first 12 minutes, but it took them 28 minutes to score their next 32. The first half had Rudy Gay lighting up Paul George at one end (22 points), and shutting him down at the other (5 pts). If not for a 9-2 run by the Pacer bench at the start of the second, Indy might have been looking at sizable halftime hole.
But…Paul George is all about “that next play,” and he answered by scoring 17 third quarter points, while holding Gay to 2 (on 0-for-4 shooting). Outside of the third quarter, Paul George’s game was iffy – at best – but that third was a difference maker.
While the bench may have saved the game in the first half, the starters took control of it. By the time Ian Mahinmi and C.J. Watson checked in at the 5:21 mark of the third, the starting five had put an 18-6 run on the Raps, giving Indy a 10-point lead. In 41 minutes together this season, the combination of Hill-Stephenson-George-West-Hibbert has oustcored their opponents by 28 points, while holding them to .295 eFG%.
But, no time to rest. The Pacers visit Brooklyn tomorrow night to take on the Nets, who also played tonight – losing in overtime at Washington, 112-108. The loss dropped Brooklyn to 2-3.
|David West, PF 29 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +8
Scored 7 early, but then was relatively quiet for the rest of the game.
|Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 7-21 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -3
You can’t really describe his first half in any other way but, “bad.” And not in a good way. He admitted after the game, that he’d gotten a little too caught up in the first half. Fortunately, his 17-point third quarter was “bad” – in a good way. Aaaaand that metaphor’s been tortured enough for one evening.
|Roy Hibbert, C 31 MIN | 9-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -2
By far his best offensive game of the season – which was needed – but one of his weaker performances defensively and on the glass. Overall, pretty good, but the Pacers are better served when Roy’s impact on D is greater than his impact on O.
|George Hill, PG 19 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +19
Good, solid night in limited minutes. Didn’t return in the fourth quarter, but Vogel said he was fine, just no need to bring him back.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 29 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +6
This night was more like last year, where the contribution was much greater than the stat line. Took a knee to the thigh/knee in the first half & missed most of the second quarter. Big part of lineup that made the game the Pacers.
|Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +1
Here’s what I’ll tell you about Luis Scola: in 43 4th quarter minutes this season, Scola has made 16 of his 22 shots, scored 30 points, and the Pacers have outscored their opponents by 34.
|Solomon Hill, SF 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5
Solomon is at the stage of his career where not noticing him is sometimes better than noticing him. He’s not making mistakes, but he’s not making many plays, either.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 16 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +11
Ian’s game would have looked better, if not for a couple of very questionable foul calls.
|C.J. Watson, PG 29 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -12
Having a solid backup point guard is such a huge relief after last year’s adventures.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +14
Orlando was a part of the bench unit that actually kept Toronto from getting away by hanging a 9-2 run on the Raptors.