Post Game Grades: Pacers Crush Celtics
Indiana 106, Boston 79. That sounds about right.
Sure, this is the NBA, and on any given night, any given blah, blah, blah…
But, the truth is, this Boston team is simply not in the Pacers’ weight class. They play hard, and Brad Stevens is growing into an excellent coach, but…They lack size. They lack skill. They lack savvy.
That was true one month ago, and it’s even more true today. And when the Pacers add a player the caliber of Danny Granger – and his shot is going – it’ s just not fair.
The Pacers throttled Boston’s anemic offense – forcing them to take 43 of their 84 shots from between the paint and the three point line. That’s 51% vs. a league average share of 28% and a league high of about 34%. Couple that with holding Boston to 10-for-22 from the restricted area and only 13 free throw attempts, and you have the recipe for the Celtics’ 79.2 points per hundred possessions tonight.
For the second game in a row, the Pacers thrilled a full house with dominant play. From a 23-23 tie at the 8:49 mark of the second quarter to the 4:30, the Pacers orchestrated a 48-21 shellacking…this despite missing six of their 12 free throw attempts during the stretch. From that point, it was just settling the final score…
Well, that…and chasing (and catching) Lance Stephenson’s third triple double of the season.
That last part was both good and bad. It reached the high water mark with a little over 11 minutes left in the game. Stephenson brutally – and I mean brutally – crossed over Courtney Lee before draining a 20-footer. It went downhill from there, but it was pretty much garbage time for both teams.
Lance played sublimely for most the first 37 minutes. His game was almost perfect, and he was involved in my favorite part of the game. After Boston tied it at 23, the Pacers went on a 9-0 run over the next 1:40 or so. In that run, four of the five Pacers on the floor made buckets, and the fifth – Lance – had three assist. It was the epitome of what this team does.
Lance (and the Pacers) chasing the triple double in the fourth was not, but, whatever. If that’s the worst that can be said about this Pacer team, then it’s going to be a very special year.
|David West, PF 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +12
Relatively quiet night for Mr. West, but contributed to the offense with 6 assists, and to the general physical advantage the Pacers had over the Celtics just by being Mr. West.
|Paul George, SF 28 MIN | 9-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | +11
Was a perfect 6-for-6 in the third quarter, scoring 18 – including 11 during a 19-7 Pacer open that more or less removed all doubt about the outcome.
|Roy Hibbert, C 26 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-4 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +12
Finished with a double-double, doing most of his work early. More effective at exerting his size advantage this time around against the diminutive Boston frontline.
|George Hill, PG 27 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +15
Like West, a quiet night, when not much was asked of him. Busted a three to make it a 19-point first half lead, didn’t let Jordan Crawford get off.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 35 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +23
I suspect this grade will piss people off. It was an A++++ game up to and including the point where he utterly destroyed Courtney Lee on a crossover. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists, playing almost perfectly to his role. From that point, however, it was bad. He missed 6 of 7 shots hunting for his third triple double, and was just generally Bad Lance. It’s not the end of the world, but he deserves to be dinged for it.
|Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +12
So reliable. So effective.
|Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3
Defense! Defense! Defense! Picked Kelly Olynyk’s pocket on one occasion, blocked his shot on another. Exactly what the Pacers expected, when they signed him…except…not really.
|Danny Granger, SF 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +17
Has been a huge addition to the Pacer bench. “Either way you shake it, man, Danny’s going to have an advantage out there,” David West said. “There just not many small forwards that are as good as he is. I really don’t know what else to say.” Neither do I.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 22 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +15
With a healthy Danny Granger joining Luis Scola on the second unit, we’re beginning to see Ian be allowed to play the role envisioned for him. He’s posted three good games in a row.
|Donald Sloan, PG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3
|C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +12
Hit shots. Played defense.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 4 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0
|Rasual Butler, SG 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0