With a loss in Chicago last night, and the next two games on the road at Miami and at Orlando, the Pacers played a game on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks that they really need to win.
And they didn’t get the job done.
After jumping out 9-2, the Pacers staggered through the rest of the first quarter and most of the second, falling behind by as many as 16 points before somehow creeping to within four at the half. They allowed the Hawks to score at a clip of over 120 points per 100 possessions in both the first and second quarters, and the only thing that kept Indy close was George Hill and 24 trips to the line.
The Pacer defense made an appearance in the third, but was squandered by a 6-for-19 shooting performance in the period. Josh Smith did most of the damage through the first three – scoring all of his 27 points while hitting 12 of his first 15 shots. A good number of those shots were ones Pacers and Pacer fans would normally be happy for Josh to take, but still, in they went.
Then, with a 5-point lead entering the fourth, Hawks coach Larry Drew turned it over to the heavy hitters. Jannero Pargo scored 11 and Zaza Pachulia added 6, with most of the fourth quarter offense coming out of a simple high PnR set initiated by Tracy McGrady – who delivered 6 fourth quarter assists.
Frank Vogel experimented with the lineup some tonight, including inserting George Hill at the point with the rest of the starting unit for the final five minutes of the game. That resulted in a 9-2 run – well, more of a light jog – that put the Pacers in position to tie the game with a three under 24 seconds left.
Unfortunately, Danny’s attempt clanged off the rim, and when Roy Hibbert tried to save the rebound, he threw it into the waiting arms of Jerry Stackhouse.
And so, unless the Pacers can get a win on their mini-Spring Break trip to Florida this weekend, they’re staring down the barrel of a four-game losing streak.
Like the headline says, they’re gonna regret this loss.
|David West, PF 35 MIN | 10-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 24 PTS | +3 |
Great, efficient scoring game, but on a night where everyone in the Pacer locker room points to rebounding – or lack thereof – as the main culprit in the loss, can’t give him more than a B.
|Danny Granger, SF 42 MIN | 6-17 FG | 5-8 FT | 8 REB | 19 PTS | -2 |
After a quietly efficient first half, Danny missed seven of his nine second half attempts, including a potentially game-tying three. Most of the looks were pretty decent, and his errant marksmanship showed up at the line, too, where he missed three of his eight attempts.
|Roy Hibbert, C 39 MIN | 3-6 FG | 7-10 FT | 8 REB | 13 PTS | +4 |
Decent numbers, but was pretty handily outplayed by Zaza Pachulia…especially in the fourth quarter. He and West both bring a lot to the table, but their shared slow-footedness makes the Pacers vulnerable to the PnR and on their defensive glass.
|Darren Collison, PG 34 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | -2 |
Total cipher tonight. Second straight game of no meaningful contribution.
|Paul George, SG 33 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 11 PTS | +3 |
George had a poor shooting night, and sort of drifted through portions of the game. There’s a fine line between being measured, and being passive, and Paul spent a bit too much time on the wrong side of it tonight.
|Dahntay Jones, SG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6 |
Very short minutes for a second straight game, but he and his non-factor benchmates will earn identical C-minuses.
|Louis Amundson, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 PTS | -4 |
|A.J. Price, G 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 3 AST | 0 PTS | -2 |
|George Hill, SG 26 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 15 PTS | -6 |
Best player for the Pacers tonight. His play in the second was the only thing that kept the Hawks from running away early. Took DC’s spot at the point with the starters down the stretch for a 9-2 run that was not quite enough to save a win.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 PTS | -13 |
Was headed for a worse grade (again), before a vaguely redeeming stretch at the top of the fourth quarter. His mid-range game has completely disappeared, and without it, he really has no meaningful offensive weapons.