Post-Game Grades: Pacers Win in Brooklyn, Reach 7-0
The Pacers have now won their first seven games. That rarely happens. Another thing that rarely happens? Winning four games in five nights, which was another accomplishment achieved this evening. And that last victory? It came in Brooklyn, one off the four teams in the East that analysts believe can make the Finals. (Sorry, Knicks.) Indiana has yet to play Miami, but they did also beat one of the other four, knocking off Chicago earlier in the week on the second night of a back to back.
In short: This team is realer than Real Deal Holyfield. And all you Bookers and Joes know how I feel.
Beast mode. Be afraid.
Another super impressive part of tonight’s win? Indiana trailed at the half — which, as Tom Lewis pointed out, made this the sixth game of the year when they’ve been down at the break.
But the starters hit the court running in the third, outscoring Brooklyn 28-21 while shooting 57.9% (11-for-19) in the period.
The Nets wouldn’t go away, however. They fought the entire fourth, and Paul Pierce was going mano-a-mano with Paul George. It helped that he got a three-pointer to drop after it bounced on the rim five times, and Brook Lopez made an unthinkably difficult flailing layup. But that’s the NBA, and it left the ball in the hands of George with time dwindling and the Pacers up just 3. In a play that probably won’t be remembered, George made a colossal blunder to throw the ball away, and this left the Nets with a chance to tie. They got a great look for Joe Johnson, but he couldn’t knock down the triple. After a West rebound and two free throws, this was another win in the bag for the Pacers.
It was a fitting 96-91 final in that it preserved Indiana’s claim to have yet to give up more than 91 points in a game this year.
Now, they have seven wins. They have the league’s best defense. They have David West back to midrange assassin form. They have the best rim protector in the NBA in Roy Hibbert. They have Lance Stephenson developing into a legitimate stud who shows up every night. They have reliable reserves at the one and four spots. And, of course, they have Paulmighty.
These guys are good.
|David West, PF 33 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +9
Best game of the year for Mr. West, and he set the tone early, forcing Nets defenders to fear his mid-range assassin game. Knocked down the two FTs to ice the game, and secured a crucial jumpball late to give Indiana an extra possession.
|Paul George, SF 36 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +5
Had the awful turnover late, but his game was virtually flawless otherwise. His demeanor and confidence are off the charts right now, but he still is rarely forcing things. He was aggressive to take jumpers coming off a screen or to iso his man near the elbow, but nothing was forced.
|Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 7-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +4
Absolutely bodied Brook Lopez for most of the game. Flung a few hook shots at the iron, but several were with the clock winding down. He doesn’t seem to have bad games anymore.
|George Hill, PG 31 MIN | 1-6 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +8
Couldn’t find his shot. Still looking a bit rusty. Managed to draw a foul on a three-point attempt that helped out at least.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 39 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +10
Made good decisions, and has officially reached the point where he can drop 15 and 7 without it really standing out. Several nice finishes at the rim and, per usual, pushed the ball well in transition, with one dish to C.J. Watson for a triple on a break looking particularly nice.
|Luis Scola, PF 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4
Did his thing, had a nice block late.
|Solomon Hill, SF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Not much run.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 16 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1
Can’t recall anything he did.
|C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -3
This guy is perfect for this team.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3
Did fine in his time.