Post Game Grades: The Pacers Are Just Plain Better Than the Celtics

Both before and after the Celtics game, Pacer head coach Frank Vogel talked about importance his team’s depth and its need to play faster to exploit that. Last night’s game wasn’t fast (pace of 91.4), but speed is relative. The Celtics entered the game as the second slowest team in the league, and that – along with their  age – showed as the Pacers went at them in waves.

Indiana continued it’s somewhat disturbing habit of starting slowly, trailing for most of the first, before finishing the quarter with a 10-0 spurt to take a 29-24 lead. From there, the Pacers just wore down Boston by getting out and running (23 fastbreak points) and pounding them in the halfcourt (42 points in the paint, .400 ORB%).

The Pacer bench was outscored by Boston’s 25-23, but that’s deceptive. Garbage time fourth quarter minutes produced a 12-5 advantage for the Cs, even at that, the Celtics could climb any closer than the final margin of 14. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 21 points each, but also combined for nine turnovers.

Individually, every core Pacer player either matched, or outplayed their Boston counterpart. Collectively, the Pacers were — and I think will continue to be — just plain better than the Celtics.

Agree? Disagree?

Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me on Twitter @8pts9secs or @TimDonahue8p9s.

David West – 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 8 REB | 2 BLK | 8 PTS
Big factor in the 3rd-quarter stretch when Indy took control. His 8 & 8 line is unimpressive, but West’s contributions last night (and this year) aren’t adequately measured by his individual numbers. His 3 ORBs, 2 asts, 4 pts in the pivotal 3rd all were back-breakers for Boston.
Danny Granger – 37 MIN | 8-19 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 STL | 21 PTS
Strong bounce back from his miscue in Toronto. Danny had 12 points in the 1st half on 5-of-9 shooting and +17 on the night. His shooting left him in the second half, leaving him 1-for-6 from three. He told me after the game that his legs aren’t quite where he likes them to be.
Roy Hibbert – 27 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT| 9 REB | 3 BLK | 11 PTS
Just wasn’t a huge factor. He struggled shooting, appearing to rush his hooks against JO, missing 4 of the 5 I recall. Brought back bad memories of a year ago, when his shooting had devolved to simply flinging the ball in the general vicinity of the basket.
Darren Collison - 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS
DC contribution last night was 11 points in a third quarter that saw the Pacers push their eight-point halftime lead out
Paul George - 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 8 REB | 2 STL | 17 PTS
For the first 6 mins, George was the best player in the building. He scored 9 pts. Bett still, he earned 4 FTs. He slowed down after that, but it was more due to this bing a game where he and his ‘mates took turns beating up the Cs.

Jeff Foster - 17 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 STL | 3 PTS
Jeff managed 4 caroms and 3 steals in 17 minutes, but his signature play of the night made a great cut to get an even better feed from Paul George – then missed a 2-foot shot by 3-feet.
Dahntay Jones - 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1 REB | 1 BLK | 2 PTS
Non-descript evening for Dahntay.
Louis Amundson - 3 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
2 rebounds in 2 minutes is good. 4 shots for a guy with Amundson’s offensive repertoire is a bit excessive. Still, he’s active and aggressive. He and Pendergraph could potentially be a poor man’s Foster-Hansbrough combo – at least in terms of agitating the opponent.
A.J. Price - 3 MIN |1 TO | 0 AST | 0 PTS
To be honest, I don’t think I even realized A.J. had checked in last night.
George Hill - 25 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 4 PTS
Most noticeable play came with 6 mins left, when George ran past three Celtics – covering close to 30 feet – to grab an offensive rebound. All this while the Pacers held a comfortable 16-point lead. Would be best player coming off Boston’s bench by a very wide margin.
Tyler Hansbrough - 23 MIN | 1-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 BLK | 6 PTS
Shooting night was a train wreck, but his energy and physicality was a big part of that depth that overwhelmed an aging Celtics team. Also probably would be the best player coming off Boston’s bench by a healthy margin.
Jeff Pendergraph - 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS
Scored his first bucket as a Pacer, was generally physical and aggressive, which is pretty much all you can ask of a guy in 2-1/2 garbage time minutes. Still feeling his way, but nice step forward from his debut against the Hawks.
Lance Stephenson - 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS
Strong move to the basket early showed a flash of the NBA-level scoring ability that is probably his strongest attribute right now, but otherwise quiet evening.

Topics: Boston Celtics, Post-Game Grades

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  • Tyler Lewis

    I don’t think Roy rushed his shots last night against the celtics. He just had a night where they were not falling. A couple seemed all the way in only to roll out. Also had a huge block against KG. Completely outplayed Jermaine O’Neal. I thought he deserved more than a B- grade.

    Thanks for the great site and nightly updates!

  • balls

    I think the first game against Beantown, it was clear that Pierce was nowhere near his usual self. The second one saw Boston on the second of a b2b and on the road…a death sentence for an old team. I don’t want to make excuses for Boston, but I have to look at games like this from a gambling standpoint, being that I’m a sharp. I still think you’d have to select Boston as series winners and even if Indy had homecourt.

    Ray Allen on George was a horrific matchup for Boston and I think in the future Pietrus will be getting more of Ray’s minutes as he gets his legs back.

  • NZ Buc

    I read some comments on the celtics blog site – there is a lot of pessimism surrounding their team there- hoping for a five seed at best was a common theme

  • Logan

    @ balls: Boston the series winner even if Indy has homecourt? That’s just ignoring the changing of the guard. Boston has been on the downslide for the last season or so because of their age. The Pacers have won twice against Boston by wearing them out. What makes you think that they wouldn’t employ the same strategy in a playoff series? We’d see similar results. The Pacers and younger, deeper and just as talented as Boston but people keep betting on the C’s because they’re familiar

    Until the Pacers make noise in the playoffs, people will dismiss them. But I think this season has shown that Boston’s time is done and new teams like the Pacers and 76ers are rising to challenge Chicago and Miami.

  • jon

    If Boston and the Indy were to play a seven game series i seriously doubt pacers would win. This game is a back to back after the Boston went up against the Chicago Bulls. If the celtics were to get a day of rest before going up against the pacers Boston would have won that game.

  • Tyler Lewis

    Boston would win a 7 game series? What evidence thus far have you seen this season that makes that an intelligent statement? By the end of the season Boston may have that team blown up and already starting in rebuilding mode…

  • NZ Buc

    I’m also really glad to see the pacers play improve as the season progresses, after some pretty lackluster wins in the opening week of the season (I did expect them to improve, but am still glad to see it)

  • Jordan

    Is trolling typical on this site? Because it looks like a fourth of these comments are Celtics fans simply trying to get under the skin of the Pacers fans. Boston winning a best of seven series? Those comments are about three years too late. Nice try, though.

  • longtimewatcher

    O’Neal, Pierce, Garnett and Allen are 33, 34, 35, and 36. I don’t think they are going to be fresher at the end of the season than the beginning. David West knew what he was doing.

  • Derek U

    Really? Boston winning a seven game series? They look tired not even a month into the short season and they’re going to be fresh for the playoffs? You idiots need to step away from yesteryear, and watch a game.

  • Aaron

    It seems that the Boston fans who are commenting here are unaware that the Pacers were also on the second game of a back to back, having grinded out a tough come from behind victory the night before in Canada. But they can think what they want. In fact, I’d love to make a bet on the Pacers with Balls.
    As Pacers fans since 2005 can tell you, it’s tough when your team falls out of contender status, and sometimes you’ll spend a period of time in denial. Hard to believe that it’s only been 5 years since the Celtics assembled the big three and became instant contenders, because in that short time we’ve all become really accustomed to Boston being a top team. That’s why it’s even surprising for Pacers fans to see the status quo changing.

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