Post-Game Grades: It Was All Good Just a Week Ago

(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.

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 - 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
Played OK.
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
Irrelevant.
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.

Topics: Cleveland Cavaliers, Jay-Z, Post-Game Grades

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  • Abe

    In the first paragraph, shouldn’t it be “in vain”? As in “Paul George tried in vain to put the team on his back late…”

  • adam

    Pacers lose 5th in a row, while knicks win 7th in a row. Where can we get a Lin kid?

    I think we are 1-5 since being ranked #3 in power rankings…
    in same stretch, 0-5 since Hibbert & Paul George were announced as all-star weekend participants…..
    (same 0-5 since my pacers t-shirt arrived in the mail from amazon.)

    I liked it better when we were under the radar and not getting any respect. Wonder if the wins & added attention made them think they can put it in cruise control.
    Time to get back to the basics, play some D, offense should fall into place.

    Hopefully we can get Granger, Hill, and Foster back on a regular basis.
    I’m starting to think Tyler Hansbrough has another ear infection.

  • Realist

    Agree with Adam about everything.

    That #3 on Stein’s rankings warmed the cockles of my heart. Now my heart is nearing cardiac arrest. If we can win the next 6 (the “should win” ‘s), we get back to 23-12. Come on boys.

  • Zach Winningham

    The exact thing the Pacers are struggling with (point guards penetrating and scoring/dishing) is EXACTLY what New Jersey does best. I want to be optimistic about the Nets game but honestly, I don’t know if we have it right now. Got a bad feeling that Darent Williams is going to destroy us. I’d love to say that Granger being out killed us tonight, but it would have ended up the same. We had him the previous two games when teams dropped 60 first-half points, just like tonight. We need the all-star break in the worst way. I think if we go 3-3 and get to 20 wins in the next six games, we should count our blessings. I just had Pacers gear from Amazon arrive yesterday here in Vegas. So depressed right now!

  • mike

    Paul had 7 shots through 3 quarters… and was 0-5 until the final 2 minutes of the 3rd. It is unacceptable for the “rising star” of this team to only post 5 shots through nearly 3 quarters when the leading scorer is out with an ankle and the team is desperately seeking offense.

    Also – Dahntay starting is a disaster – is that really the best option here? Dahntay seems the type of player to come off the bench with a short leash – because if he’s not on – he is very bad.

    I hope the team gets healthy after the break and moves back to an 8 man rotation – this streak has been hard to watch.

  • http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.com Tim Donahue

    Paul only played two two-minute stretches in the first half, because of foul trouble. Hard to get shots up when you’re sitting on the bench with 2 fouls at the 8:49 mark of the first, and three at the 9:08 mark of the second.

  • mike

    I’ll agree that he didn’t have an opportunity to get shots – but I’ll argue that avoiding those quick fouls should have been Paul’s priority. If there was ever a time where the team was relying on his offense – it was last night. It seemed to me he shrunk away from the responsibility.

  • little B

    I didn’t get to see the game last night, but just looked at the box score and play by play. Really can’t say much for George last night since he was in foul trouble, but against Miami it was evident he avoided to take contested shots until the fourth quarter. I think everyone wants to label him as Danny’s replacement, but I don’t think he wants to be labeled that. He seems to just want to take the easy shots. If someone is in his face he passes it off. Alot of people want to write off Danny, which his shot selection is really his only problem (I think), but when the Pacers offense is the slowest moving one ever, his shot selection is going to be poor. Hibbert stands with the ball about 8 seconds before he decides what he is going to do with it. George won’t take a contested shot. West will just try to power someone to the rim and he if can’t push them he passes it off. This leaves it to where we almost have a shot clock violation every 3rd possession I feel like. It just seems the ball movement is lacking. Miami shot good the other night because the ball movement was quick and created open looks every play. Pacers seem to just sit back and watch what someone else does. And Tyler is going that group. At first I hated how he never passed the ball, now he shoots 3 times a game? Come on Vogel, time to get this guys fired back up again.

  • Ian

    You forgot to mention the Pacers had 2 assists in the first HALF.

    The offense seriously needs some work. I’ll say it agian, the Pacers need to pull the trigger and aquire a stable, productive vet from another team to solidy the rotation. Missing Hill and Foster (and now Granger) they just aren’t a very good or deep team.

  • Scott

    It’s my fault. Since I declared my love for the team, they’ve gone into the crapper. I’m sorry…don’t hate me!

  • Tenacious D.

    It’s not your fault, Scott. The way I see it, any aspiring team worth its salt is going to have to overcome a stretch like this. If they rise to the occasion, we’ll know they’re good. If not, we’ll get to find out who stays and who goes this summer. That’s valuable insight.

  • Mike

    Glad Tim mentioned Tyler’s “signature plays.” For all you guys (little B) who think Hansbrough should be getting the ball more, think again. Dude cannot beat anyone with the ball. He does the same one or two moves every time and the league has noticed. Just the other night he did the thing where he turns toward the defender and swings the ball back and forth around his knees. Al Harrington was guarding him and poked it out exactly when he went into him motion. Like stealing candy from a baby. Plays should not be ran for him unless he can get an open jumper from 15 feet and in. His post game (or lack thereof) has been exposed. His only other saving grace was getting a running hook/toss up around the rim and hoping to get fouled. Teams aren’t letting him get there and he just turns the ball over in the process.

  • little B

    Well atleast we know one thing for sure about the game against the Nets: Someone’s losing streak will end. Pacers on a 5 game skid and Nets on a 7. This is exaclty what the Pacers need to stop the bleeding.

  • adam

    I know I joked about Tyler’s ear infection, but really he’s been off lately. I wonder if he just doesn’t gel well with the 2nd unit. Last year as a starter (and the 2 pre-season games) he put up pretty decent numbers. Off the bench he hasn’t really been able to get it going unless his jumper is falling. His inside game has been MIA.

  • Joe B

    I have been too sad to comment on the Pacers recent play. Even my students are poking me in the ribs with, “Did you see the game (chortle, chortle, chortle).” With Granger gone, it will be hard to make the offense work–the opposing defense really has nothing to be worried about, which points to the lack of assists–no one has to cheat and can stay on their man. Collison is putting up points, but I had really hoped his passing and ball control would have improved more than they have this season. Two assists in the first half?

  • dwain

    as i was watching the game i tried blinking really fast…u could see tiny gremlins shrinking the basket every time the Pacers shot…seriously what are we looking at, .500 ball by the break?
    This team needs set plays in the worst kind of way, well designed and ending in layups, otherwise the offense is stand around holding the ball until someone else does it….i would talk about the defense..if there was any
    Come on Pacers GO!

  • little B

    In defense of collison on the assists, it is hard to get them when guys are shooting 35 percent until the game is out of hand. West was broke last night from what it sounds like. Come to think of it, when is the last full GOOD game the Pacers have had?…Dallas. 8 games ago (wow hard to believe, felt like that was just a few days ago). There is something funky with the team, and it was going on before this losing streak. I just hope that is isn’t a sign of other teams getting better and the Pacers just being the same team they were to begin with. The only teams the win in the playoffs, are the teams that get better as the season goes on.

  • Zach Winningham

    Pacers are 8.5 point favorites here in Vegas, against New Jersey tonight. I never bet on any Pacers game, but if I did…I would literally be sprinting to a casino to bet on the Nets tonight. We can’t defend a guy like Darent Williams and there will also undoubtedly be another player we’ve never heard of who has the game of his lifetime (see Semih Erden). The only good news today is that Paul George is going to be in the dunk contest!

  • Drew

    99 problems?

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