Post-Game Grades: Pacers Smack Around the Cavs
This was my first chance to watch the Pacers so far this season and I think I got a pretty good feel for what the season is gonna be like. Two things jumped out at me.
First, this team revolves around Paul George (obviously), Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson. Those guys are the core of this team and will be for a good while.
Second, the bench. The reserve unit is going to be way better this year.
Lance looks so much improved from last season. There were hardly any points in the game where he was out of control, and when Danny Granger comes back there’s no reason Lance shouldn’t be up there in the conversation for 6th man of the year award.
C.J. Watson started this game in place of the injured George Hill (sore hip) and didn’t do anything spectacular — but also didn’t D.J. Augustin up the game. He should be solid backing up George Hill.
Luis Scola has also yet to show anything too flashy, but as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable with the Pacers he will prove to be a major improvement over Tyler Hansbrough.
As for the game itself, it was more or less an uninteresting matchup. The Pacers got off to a slow start, then took the lead with 4 minutes left in the first on a Paul George dunk and didn’t really look back from there. Both teams played sloppily throughout and shot poorly, but Indiana controlled the contest throughout.
The Cavs did manage to bring the game within 7 going into the fourth quarter, as neither team was able to do much in the third. But Indiana’s defense held Cleveland to 37 points in the second half, and Lance Stephenson caught fire at the right time to blow the game wide open. Ultimately, this was the Pacers beating a team that they should beat. To go 3-0.
|David West, PF 25 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +4Bad game offensively, don’t expect that to last. Defense looked great.|
|Paul George, SF 30 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +4This guy just keeps growing and growing, he used to be extremely hesitant shooting the ball, not he’s extremely aggressive from the start. Not sure there are 5 guys in the league I’d rather have on my team right now.|
|Roy Hibbert, C 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | +4Was a big part of the game plan early which opened up other things for the Pacers. Didn’t notice him much in the 2nd half but the game was more or less over.|
|C.J. Watson, PG 31 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +3Missed some open 3s you would’ve liked him to make but he played 30 minutes, had 6 assists and no turnovers… I’ll take that every day of the week over DJ Augustin.|
|Lance Stephenson, SG 32 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +9Took over the game in the 4th. If his 3 point shooting is actually this much improved from last year he’s going to be a menace to deal with for opposing benches all year.|
|Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +13Forgettable on offense but defense was much better than I expected.|
|Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Garbage time.|
|Solomon Hill, SF 9 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4Got his first NBA bucket. This guy should be a good fit with the Pacers as a scrapper and little things guy.|
|Ian Mahinmi, C 20 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | +11Did what we ask of our backup center. Protect the rim, grab rebounds and if you can get some points also, Bravo. If you can catch the ball, double Bravo.|
|Donald Sloan, PG 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +12Didn’t D.J. Augustin it up.|
|Orlando Johnson, SG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +15Up and down night. Got dunked on by CJ Miles but helped Lance take over the game in the 4th.|
|Rasual Butler, SG 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2Garbage time.|