Post Game Grades: Pacers Squeak By Kings
The Good - After a first half where they allowed 60 points, the Pacers locked down to allow just 51 in the second half and overtime. They clearly stepped it up a notch after halftime, so it’s good to see them “flip the switch” defensively.
The Bad - The Kings didn’t have two of their three most important players in Cousins and Gay, and the Pacers still had a lot of problems defensively. Maybe they were caught off guard, but this game shouldn’t have been this close.
MVP - I don’t care that the Kings lost, Marcus Thorton has to be the MVP. This game shouldn’t have been close, and Thorton’s 42 point outburst kept Sacramento hanging around. In the absence of Cousins and Gay, Thorton played an amazing game.
LVP - We can usually live with George Hill struggling offensively, but not on a night like tonight where his counterpart has 38 points and 6 assists. Thomas is a very good point guard, but someone of Hill’s defensive caliber simply can’t be beat like that.
X-Factor - I feel like I’m cheating by using him multiple times, but Marcus Thorton. If you had to rank the importance of each player in this game before tip off, where would Thorton be on that list? Pretty low, right?
Defining Moment - Paul George hit a three, got fouled, and completed the four point play to send the game into overtime, providing even more evidence that he is indeed good at basketball.
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|David West, PF 37 MIN | 9-14 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +19Foul trouble early forced Vogel to bring in Luis Scola, but it’s hard to complain about much more out of West. He was the only Indiana big man who took advantage of the fact that no one on the Sacramento front line was capable of being a defensive stopper.|
|Paul George, SF 41 MIN | 12-22 FG | 8-8 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 36 PTS | +9George seemed frustrated all night, and the emotion spilled over at the end of the second quarter into a technical. He may have reason to be upset, but you can’t give away free points in such a close game.Other than that, his play was just as good as the box score suggests.|
|Roy Hibbert, C 39 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +13The Kings didn’t have Cousins, meaning a few players had their shot at guarding Hibbert. the 6’7″ Quincy Acy actually seemed to give Roy some problems, despite giving up a ton of height. For whatever reason, Hibbert didn’t look comfortable offensively.Regardless of his offensive struggles, the rebounding and rim protection were both there tonight.|
|George Hill, PG 40 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +11Isaiah Thomas went for 42 points and 6 assists. While this clearly isn’t entirely Hill’s fault, it’s tough to ignore that a lot of this occurred on his watch.Hill struggled from three, going just 1-6. Although he’s not the focal point of the Indiana offense, it would have been nice to see him take the 5’9″ Thomas in the post a little more.|
|Lance Stephenson, SG 46 MIN | 9-19 FG | 5-8 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +12Lance struggled to guard Marcus Thorton early in the game, who went off for 22 in the first quarter. He struggled to fight through screens, and maybe he wasn’t relying on the help defense behind him enough.Still, Lance found a way to navigate through some rough stretches, including a time in the second quarter where he looked truly awful. Luckily, the rushed shots and wild, out of control play ended sooner rather than later.|
|Luis Scola, PF 17 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -18Scola struggled from the field as he was thrown into duty early. Sacramento’s front court depth simply doesn’t exist without Gay or Cousins, so it’s tough to figure out exactly why someone like Scola wasn’t more productive tonight.|
|Danny Granger, SF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -9He wasn’t the only guilty party, but we saw some lazy defense from Granger at times. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a ton of opportunity for impact on the offensive end, so it’s tough to give Granger a high grade.|
|Ian Mahinmi, C 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | 0In typical “I’m a tall backup center” fashion, Mahinmi played within himself for 13 minutes while Roy Hibbert caught his breath. He did collect two blocks, which brought the Indiana center block total to seven for the game.|
|C.J. Watson, PG 13 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7Watson clearly struggled from the field, but his defensive efforts were impressive. He harassed Jimmer Freddete, who struggled to even maintain his dribble against Watson. I know Jimmer isn’t the best backup point guard in the world, but it was nice to see Watson make an impact on a night where his shot wasn’t there.|
|Chris Copeland, SF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | DNP-Cheerleader mode.|
|Donald Sloan, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | DNP-Cheerleader mode.|
|Orlando Johnson, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | DNP-Cheerleader mode.|
|Rasual Butler, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | DNP-Cheerleader mode.|
The game was obviously close, and went into overtime, but it’s tough to watch Lance Stephenson play 45 minutes while Granger plays just 19. Giving a few of those minutes to Danny would have been nice, for the sole purpose of not overworking Lance.No problem with only playing four bench players, although getting the starters an extra minute or two of rest here and there would have been nice. I’m being a little critical, as it was a close game and Vogel was concerned with winning, not micro managing minutes.