Post-Game Grades: Road Warrior Pacers Claim Another Victim in Minneapolis

I went to watch Liam Neeson fight wolves last night and, I must, say, they looked a lot tougher than these ones from Minnesota. Moreover, by besting the Timberwolves 109-99 in Minnesota — without even fashioning Freddy Kruger claws out of mini liquor bottles — Indiana improved to 9-5 (.643) on the road this season. There is only one NBA team that has won on the road at a better clip: the Oklahoma City Thunder (with the Chicago Bulls being Indy’s equal).

The Pacers were dominant defensively in the first two quarters, holding the Wolves to a staggering 31.9% on 15-for-47 shooting. They couldn’t capitalize and create any real separation, however, as they only shot 41.9% themselves, turned the ball over 9 times, gave up 7 offensive boards and lost the FTA battle (only 10 vs. 13, but still). They went to the locker room up 45-41. The bench was again miserable (3-for-10 shooting) and Danny Granger couldn’t hit anything (2-for-8).

But things soon turned around for the team — and especially for Granger — in the second half. Danny started getting to the line, getting to the rack and sticking threes to put the Pacers up by as many as 10 late in the third quarter.

Then things got really interesting.

After Granger grabbed an offensive board, Kevin Love grabbed his shoulder and, seemingly because he was off-balance, sorta yanked Danny backwards. Mr. Granger was none too pleased and got right in Love’s face, hooting, hollering, mean-mugging and even putting his hands up into Kevin’s torso with a little push. Despite Michael Beasley rushing over, cooler heads prevailed and the only fallout was a technical foul for Danny. Granger got some free throws of his own for the foul on Love and calmly knocked down his 16th and 17th points of the quarter to keep his team up 8.

The lead ballooned up to 14 in the fourth. The Wolves managed one last run to bring it close but, as it turned out, their bark was … worse than their bite. I’ll be here all week. No seriously. The Pacers play, like, seven games in the next three days. See what this compressed schedule is doing to us bloggers? Did you read that “joke”?

Good night.

Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me (@8pts9secs) or Tim (@TimDonahue8p9s) on Twitter.

David West - 24 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 12 PTS
Another uneventful game for West, who sat most of the 2nd half. He was 4-for-9 at the half but only made 1 more of the 5 shots he took afterward. Get excited. Still, near double-double in limited time.
Danny Granger - 41 MIN | 9-19 FG | 13-15 FT | 7 REB | 36 PTS
Best game he’s played this year and I can’t recall the last time he played better. Point total speaks for itself but 15 FTAs is the real story. Had 29 in the second half and got downright ornery after a near-scuffle with Love that earned Danny a tech.
Roy Hibbert - 35 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 15 PTS
You know this guy has become a true force when he finishes with 15 and 9 on 6-for-9 and 3 blocks and I’m like “Oh, yeah, I guess he was a little more unstoppable than normal.”
Darren Collison - 33 MIN | 7-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 20 PTS
Overshadowed by Granger’s excellence/theatrics but perhaps the best statistical game he’s played in a Pacer uniform. More importantly, he owns this team at this point. So much good decision-making all game.
Paul George, SG 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS
Was in foul trouble a lot of the night but played fine when he was in there. Didn’t really need him though.

Dahntay Jones - 20 MIN | 2-5 FG |  1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS
Louis Amundson - 10 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 PTS
He had much more effect on this game than the numbers show. Just mucked everything up in a good way and got two offensive boards in succession when the Pacers were pulling away.
A.J. Price - 15 MIN | 1-7 FG | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS
Wasn’t good.
Tyler Hansbrough - 27 MIN | 3-8 FG | 5 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS
Pissed off Love more than anything else and it looked like all the bumping, shoving, pushing and general annoyance — which West started and Roy and Lou helped with — took Kevin out of his rhythm at times.
Lance Stephenson - 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Also wasn’t good.

* This recap was edited to reflect Granger’s accurate 3rd quarter point total. I counted wrong before. It also was changed to reflect that the Bulls, unbeknownst to me, and ESPN’s standings page, lost in Philly last night.

Tags: Minnesota Timberwolves Post-Game Grades

  • Mar

    I’ll give both Paul and Lance a decent B- mainly because they disrupted Rubio’s fancy play hence took out the home crowd perfectly.

  • Chris D.

    Nice game on LPBB. K-Love was chirping at Granger during that foul that led to the face off. He’s a real talker. Good restraint by Danny and team. I’ve been pleased with Amundson filling in for Foster. Hibbert plays so much better with some reliable backup. Lou is my breakout surprise so far.

  • MCR

    I was at the game tonight, first Pacers game I’ve hit in seems like forever, and was very pleased with the way the team played after the run-in between Granger and Love. I’d give George more than a C+. He was in foul trouble for much of the game, but when he played I’d give him a solid B. He had the step-back jumper going for a couple possessions in the first half when we were struggling for offense. Stephenson and Price were both pretty bad tonight…I was begging for a George Hill sighting, but no such luck.
    Keep up the good work J-Wade, I love recapping each game this way. Don’t let the compressed season get to you…persevere!

  • Jordan

    Gonna have to agree with the other comments, PG needs more than a C+. He was doing a great job of defending RUUUUBIOOOOO, and it wasn’t his fault that Granger and Collison lit up the third quarter, thus earning him a night off.

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  • dwain

    Man it’s getting fun to be a Pacers fan again….

  • Dylan

    Paul George’s foul trouble last night was probably not what Pacer fans wanted to see since it was a relevantly close game than, till Granger got mad (Watch out NBA, you’ve been warned!), but I felt as if PG’s foul trouble helped the Pacers. Got more playing time for Dahntay Jones who endlessly pestered Rubio + was as involved in the game as was Granger and Collinson (great night). Hope this game was a huge bust to Jones’ confidence and will continue to come off the bench with that amount of defense pep and energy. Plus, George pretty much got to take the night off seeing that he only played a half. [First Post, Love this Website - top source for Pacer fans]

  • Derek U

    I agree, PG was better than a C. He could have came back in with 4 fouls but didn’t even see the floor, that isn’t his fault. Up till half time he was playing well.. Give the man A B- at least. Sure it’s only a few percentage points, but it looks better… Hah.

    Loving the run that Granger is on and hope he continues to tear it up.. I feel like he was missing his ferocity, and it’s been showing lately. He’s looking hungry, and that’s always good.

  • Joe B

    How to fix Granger’s shot: in the huddle, show him a picture of Kevin Love