Post-Game Grades: Indy Smacks ATL in the Jaw

The Pacers just came out and played their best game of the year when this was just what they needed. Of course, any team would love to come smack the current media darling of the NBA in the mouth by a looks-closer-than-it-was final score of 96-84, but this should be a win that makes the league stand up and notice. They started off early winning ugly against bad teams. Then they got out-classed by a Dwyane-less Miami team. They impressively followed that up by beating the Celtics in Boston, but that game was historically ugly. A rebound win at Charlotte was nice — and anyone who saw Indy’s domination in that second half should have started to come around on this squad. But then they went out and got pushed around by Philly. Sure, no Granger and no George Hill for that one. And Tyler got knocked out late. But the final score is all most saw.

Now they come out and straight pimp slap a team that just beat Miami and Chicago in the same week. We know analysts will talk about Atlanta’s 8 games in 10 nights, but that’s the season they’re playing in. Everyone has that same challenge so it’s hardly worth discussing aside from in passing. No, this was a home team that had its ball movement rocking and shook off some transition and pick-and-roll defensive issues to break it open in the third quarter. Give Granger credit for his best game of the year (check the shot chart), but this was all about team’s making plays. Half of Danny’s points came on knock-down jumpers after swing passes or cuts to the hoop that were set up by Hibbert drawing the defense. They played like a unit with 25 assists on 39 made hoops. They didn’t need a bunch of threes or trips to the line. And in doing so, they actually looked like a team worthy of the “maybe a four seed?” questions we keep hearing.

Here is how the guys played individually.

Agree? Disagree?

Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me on Twitter @8pts9secs.

Indiana Pacers 96 – Philadelphia 76ers 84

David West  24 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS
Stellar first half from West, who with 12 points on 8 shots finally got some of his looks in the paint to go. Even when he isn’t doing much on offense, everything just moves better.
Danny Granger  27 MIN | 9-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 24 PTS
Easily Danny’s best overall game of the year and it wasn’t just numbers. He looked comfortable trying to score while knocking down good looks, cutting to the hoop and passing when his driving lane was cut off.
Roy Hibbert  24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS
Big fella looked big and imposing on D — most notably on an Alonzo-like block that sent Horford to the locker room with a bum shoulder and sparked probably Indy’s best play of the year on the other end.
Darren Collison  27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS
He was bad beyond a tough shooting night. The near-8-second call/heave pass to nobody was emblematic of many other bad decisions. Two rough outings for DC after several prior ones that showed a lot of growth.
Paul George  21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS
Another game full of low-lights, when there were flickers at all, on the offensive end from George. Offensive fouls and some over-dribbling was the theme. He did rebound well though and was active on defense.

Jeff Foster  14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS
Jeff hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the 3rd quarter. Your argument that he isn’t the best shooter of all time is invalid.
Dahntay Jones  21 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS
Played 21 minutes.
Louis Amundson  5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS
Just hold the ball next time or shoot a jumper.
A.J. Price  5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Garbage time.
George Hill  24 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS
Was nice to see that he was able to play. Wasn’t so much nice to actually see him play. Nothing went wrong but was back to mundane mode after two aggressive, productive games vs. Boston and Charlotte.
Tyler Hansbrough  22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS
Solid look with the glasses but the practice gear was better. Tyler hit a few of his Tyler-looking buckets, but let’s try to get a rebound next time you’re on the court for nearly half the game.
Jeff Pendergraph  5 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Followed up a botched layup with what was probably the slowest, most-badly missed, wide-open dunk in traffic of all time. There were several defenders right next to him but they seemed indifferent. Still worked.
Lance Stephenson  18 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS
Guess this is why he is still ahead of AJ Price in the rotation. Career-high points in the best game I’ve seen him play. Half his problem is that he looks awkward and uncomfortable on an NBA court. Not tonight.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Post-Game Grades

  • papapapatrick

    so much for jeff pendergraph’s big arrival. hopefully he’ll be better against the bulls

  • Nathaniel

    Wow, not a single player hit the 30 minute mark. A blowout, yes. But still, that’s nice tosee.

  • zach

    Jared, how bout another podcast? Last one was awesome.

  • Tom

    Am I the only one that can’t stand Dahntay? I appreciate that he means well, tries hard, and all but he has got to have one of the worst cases of late 90s/early aughties Michael Jordan syndrome left in the league. Guy seriously thinks he is his airness every time he steps on the quart and 3/4ths of the time embarrasses himself accordingly…

  • Mark

    Yes to more podcasts!!! Yes yes!

  • NZ Buc

    Add my vote for more podcasts!

    Re dahntay: the thing which frustrates me the most is he holds the ball so long he then “has” to shoot it at the end of the clock. I also don’t understand why the pacers attack the basket on his side when he’s in the corner – usually results in a draw, dish, and brick. Get him to swing through to the weak side corner instead please

  • Joe

    Solid win from the Pacers. Not expecting much from Pendergraph, but boy did he look slow and plodding out there. I was expecting him to be more athletic.

    Lance played great tonight, first time he has actually done something.

    Atlanta losing Horford really hurt them.

  • Reddog

    Jared, good job on the JMV show. Heard you on the radio as I was en route to the game. Thanks for all your great work on the blog!

  • dwain

    It was a fun game to watch, seeing the Pacers show some real life. Good to see DanG. come awake as well. If DanG can stay healthy and improve the rest of the year, as we know he can, if West can add to the mix and Hibbert becomes a real beast in the paint.. if TylerH can become an X factor and DanC learn the NBA pass, this could be a very interesting season to be a Pacers fan again. Some one needs to set this team down in front of a screen with a Globetrotter’s passing drill airing, do some shoot arounds with no shooting, just passing. Maybe an offense could gel? And Jeff?…please teach these guys about blocking out and “Pacers” rebounding huh, if you do we might just see you guys in the playoffs this year!


  • Isaiah

    All I have to say is Lance Stephenson is everything Bird thought he was and is going to be. Ive seen him play when he was in college, and I saw him play when they played the Bulls this past preseason. He just needs to work on his awareness then he could be great. More playing time will work on that though. What I find best about this game though is that Lance played his best against one of the better teams in the East. He might start seeing some more minutes that Jones usually sees because he has way more game. Im excited to see how Lance plays at the end of the season. The Pacers already have a good team but I think they could be great if Paul George continues to improve his game and Lance becomes that great player that I think he will become too. Pretty dang excited! PACER PRIDE BABY!

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  • Joe B

    Listened to the game on my way home after a great night of teaching, so I’m sad to have missed Jeff PenderGaff live. The announcers were freaking out about Stephenson, so an A+ is fair. Hopefully the quick season doesn’t allow Lance enough time to lose confidence and this will be more common.

  • Manfred James

    Can’t agree w/ Lance getting the best grade in the game. Big Roy and Danny drove this victory, and both deserve to be rated higher.

    Lance did have a nice game, just not the best or most vital one — despite the glee of the announcers.