Next-Day Thoughts: Before the Collapse

The video above depicts the moment when the Pacers completely lost all control of the game. The descent began a little earlier, but this beastly, and-one finish by Tyreke Evans hyped up the Kings faithful and pushed all the momentum to the Sacramento side of the ledge. It’s only fitting that ‘Reke’s flurry to the hoop was spurred on by the two critical elements of Indy’s collapse: an offensive board and a Paul George mistake. It’s not that this is a horrible gamble for a steal here by George; it’s just that it was a failed one and it seemed to incite Evans to dash to the abandon his plans to just calmly reset the offense in favor of ‘Reking havoc, if you will. (You shouldn’t.)

Of course, the Pacers meltdown is the only real takeaway from this game. But there actually were three other quarters prior to that. Here are a few thoughts from the parts of the game that nobody will ever remember.

  • The first two possessions led to two power post moves for effortless buckets by Roy Hibbert. Later in the first quarter, he made an even more savvy decision, splitting a double-team with a step-through to the rim for a lay-up.
  • David West was not good early. He had two turnovers in the first three minutes of the game — one of which would have led to a sure two points after a nice look-ahead pass by Paul George — and followed that up by missing a reverse layup.

  • On offense, Indiana attached the paint early to a degree that was shocking. Their first field goal attempt outside the lane didn’t come until Darren Collison hit a 20-footer with 5:28 to play in the 1st quarter. Before that bucket, they were leading 15-10 on the strength of their 6-for-11 shooing in the paint (plus 3-for-3 at the line). It looked like a concerted effort. Here’s their shot chart at that point.

  • Other than the guards dumping it down for those nice post moves from Hibbert, part of this trend was Danny Granger getting into the restricted area. His first three shots were right around at the rim and he made two of them, including one he converted into three-point play. The rest of his first stint of the game didn’t go so well, however, as he only managed to hit those 2 out of his first 7 shots.
  • The Pacers held the Kings to 33.3% (18-for-54) shooting in first half. But they once again couldn’t turn that good defense into “finished possessions,” instead allowing Sacramento to grab 19 first-half ORBs on their 36 misses. That percentageis WAY too high. The board work was mostly being done by DeMarcus Cousins (who was an absolute animal, grabbing 10 ORBs and getting his hands on many others) and Jason Thompson (who collected 5 of Sacto’s misses). The Pacers were pretty decent on the offensive glass themselves, which isn’t surprising since these two teams were the third- and fourth-best offensive rebounding squads in the association going into the game. As Tim noted on Twitter: “22 of the first 46 rebounds in the Pacers-Kings game have been offensive. Kings 3rd in ORB%, Pacers 4th.”
  • In Indiana’s defense, they also did seem to be trying to find ways to exploit Sacramento’s aggressiveness on the glass. Twice in the first half, Pacer players successfully leaked out and got breakaway scores. (It would have been three times but there’s that West mishandle in the video above.) The Lance full-court outlet to George Hill is just amazing. If that had been Dwyane to LeBron, it would have been all over SportsCenter. West to George for the dunk with flair was also nice.

  • Granger opened the second half in a completely opposite way from how he started the game. He began with a horrible step-back for a long two-pointer that missed badly. Then, on a Collison-led 3-on-2 break, DC gave Danny the ball on the wing. He dribbled towards the rim then bounced it off his foot into a turnover.
  • After that, however, the third quarter was all gold for the Pacers. During the period, they had a 7-0 run, a 6-0 run, a 5-0 run and a 6-1 run.
  • A ton of this had to do with Collison, who played the whole quarter and ran the team so well that I would argue it might have been his best 12-minute stretch so far as a Pacer. If not that, at least his most steady and mistake-free. He did no wrong and scored 13 points on 5-for-6 FG and 2-for-2 FT. He took a charge. He only had 1 assist but a lot of offense-producing passes. DC also has 0 turnovers for the game. Going into the fourth, he was a +17.

Tags: Next Day Thoughts Sacramento Kings

  • Ben

    Although this one hurt to watch, it’s nice to finally be able to say that the Pacers were definitely the better team, and that things just didn’t go their way. As opposed to last year I don’t expect this to happen often. Go blue!

  • Tim McDade

    “A ton of this had to do with Collison, who played the whole quarter and ran the team so well that I would argue it might have been his best 12-minute stretch so far as a Pacer. If not that, at least his most steady and mistake-free. He did no wrong and scored 13 points on 5-for-6 FG* and 2-for-2 FT. ”
    * 5 for 6 in this stretch but 1 for 6 in all the others; only 3 assists? not a total game, imo, for a pg)

    i must disagree w/your evaluation of Darren’s play in the game. he hit some shots during the game w/6 of 12 shooting, but he was horrible in distributing the ball, as evidenced by his assist total of only 3. heck, ROY had 4 assists. as the pg, it’s DARREN’S job to PASS the ball to open players, but he seemed to be a score first, pass second, point guard. in too many games, he has focused more on shooting than getting assists. this behavior, also evident in other guards, to solo and score before looking for an open team mate is acutely diametric to COACH VOGEL’S new maxim this year to play selflessly and pass the ball to get the best shots possible. this regression, if not rectified, could derail the playoff hopes of the PACERS. another problem i noticed was the seeming refusal to get TYLER HANSBROUGH involved in the offense. on too many occasions in the last couple of games, TH has been totally ignored, even if he was wide open for a good shot. also, ROY’S great domination early in the game became quick history as his team mates were reluctant to pass him the ball inside. he only had 9 shots in the entire game, and w/his initial successes, this refusal to ‘pound’ the ball inside is totally inexcusable.

  • Derek U

    The reason Roy had 4 assists, is cause the system is built to pass. Collison just pushes the ball up the court, makes the pass he supposed to and moves off the ball. His low assists total isn’t on him, it’s on the system is he’s playing in..

  • spellydoo

    Collison is far from a “score first” point guard. Your reading too much into his assist totals.

  • Matt S

    It could also be argued that Collison’s job is to facilitate the offense, not just make passes. If he has an open lane to the hoop, or an open jumper, why not take it? If you, as a Point Guard, are passing up open looks or mistakes from the other team’s defense just to pad your assists, there’s a problem.

  • Mike

    Tim – I think TH gets ignored because he is a black hole. The offense stops when the ball goes to him. Yes he can get in the lane and create some contact but if the foul isn’t called, it’s pretty much a lost possession. The Pacers O is based on passing. Tyler doesn’t pass. He has 5 -FIVE – assists in 13 games at 25 mpg. Think about that for a second. That’s an assist every 65 or minutes. There’s a reason they don’t try to run things through him unless he has some sort of mismatch. It kind of worked last year because we were short on options and there was no real system in place. Now that we have bigs who can pass (Roy and West), it’s a diff. ballgame.

  • Joe

    When Tyler is out on the floor, it is usually with Lance, Dahntay, Lou (or Foster), and Hill. Hill and Tyler should be the primary scorers in that group. Dahntay and Lance taking so many shots is not necessary.

  • Mike

    Most of his minutes are with first unit guys. Most of the time he is the 4th or 5th option. Even when he plays with DJ and LS he is still going to be a black hole. Those are the units that probably need the most passing.

  • NoLookPass

    Tyler passed to an open guy 6 or 7 times the last game 5 times it resulted in a wide open shot and he finished with just 1 assist, so to say he doesn’t pass is comical. He’s 3rd in PER-36 attempts this year behind Granger and Hibbert and is .1 ahead of West so he’s not out there jacking up shots. He’s taking 1.2 less shots per 36 vs last season and is getting .5 less assists due to our 3rd worst in the NBA shooting percentage down from out tied for 5th worst last year.