(Ed note: Mini recap by Jared Wade. Player grades by Tim Donahue.)
Really not much to analyze here. The Cavs scored 32 points in the first quarter and the Pacers scored 38 in the first half. Them’s the makings of an Indiana blow-out 98-87 loss to Cleveland that really was never even as close as the final score suggested. David West was terrible early, Paul George tried in
vein vain to put the team on his back late, and Semih Erden dominated the game. Yup. That happened.
Kyrie Irving really is quite good and he played some excellent ball, hitting shots and running a superb pick-and-roll against a defense that made it very easy for him to do both. But that can’t excuse this. Indiana needed a win in a huge way after dropping 4 straight games and getting completely undressed by the Heat — for the second time this season — last night. Instead, they never showed up and let the Cavs feel like the best team in the NBA for a night.
The results: they have now lost 5 games in a row after going into last friday not having lost even 2 straight.
A team that was once a world-beater at 17-7 is now tail-spinning at 17-12 and has to head home to face the New Jersey Nets tomorrow on the final night of a back-to-back-to-back stretch. Beating the Nets in Indianapolis shouldn’t be a problem for this team no matter the brutality that is playing three games in three nights. Or so we thought.
Funny what seven days can change.
It was all good just a week ago.
|David West - 26 MIN | 4-15 FG | 10 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS |
Weird game. Spent the 1st quarter missing reasonable looks off the front rim. That, as much as anything, is probably why the Pacers were out of this one early. Chipped in some 3rd quarter offense that went for naught, and did get a double-double, but that 1st quarter kills.
|Dahntay Jones - 37 MIN | 1-8 FG | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS |
Bad game, but basically, it’s asking too much for him to start and play 37 minutes. He’ll have to get in line behind about four guys, before you can lay the blame on him for tonight’s debacle.
|Roy Hibbert - 33 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS |
Decent line but its gets neutralized by the fact that Semih Erden hung 18 & 8 on him. Besides, watching Roy try to defend the pick-and-roll then recover is like watching Marlon Brando’s death scene from The Godfather—if Brando didn’t have the orange rinds and was a little bit slower.
|Darren Collison - 33 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 TO | 3 AST | 18 PTS |
Originally thought I was going to give him a B, because he was basically the only guy who showed up for the first 3 quarters, but: 3 assists, 2 turnovers and a willing participant in the Pacers’ lack of participation at the defensive end.
|Paul George - 25 MIN | 4-14 FG | 2-6 FT | 8 REB | 4 PF | 11 PTS |
The grade may be overly generous, but while Collison was the only one who showed up for 3 quarters, Paul might have been the only one who actually gave a hoot. With 3 early fouls, he was a non-factor, but he found it in the 4th and threatened to drag the Pacers back into it.
|Louis Amundson - 14 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS |
3 blocks. Made the rim “flinch” on one missed shot, as noted by Indy Cornrows’ Tom Lewis. Killed a baseline photographer with another. Just another day at the office for Lou.
|A.J. Price - 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS |
|Tyler Hansbrough - 20 MIN | 0-3 FG | 4-8 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS |
The 4th featured 2 signature Tyler plays: One where he lost the ball falling down for no reason and one where he butchered what should have been a nice feed from George for an and-one. His offense has been insufficient for awhile now, and tonight it didn’t even seem that he brought energy to the floor. Tyler’s play is worrisome.
|Jeff Pendergraph, F 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS |
|Lance Stephenson - 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS |
At one point, he was Indy’s leading scorer. Hit his first trey, but atoned by missing one by a 3 feet later. May have a worse jump shot than Lou. So much there, but not translating into results.