Post-Game Grades: Pacers Lose One to the Hawks They're Gonna Regret

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.

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, 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

See Dahntay.

A.J. Price, G 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 3 AST | 0 PTS | -2

See Dahntay.

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.

Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Post-Game Grades

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  • dwain

    well at least they fought for this loss….. looks like mental toughness is a problem in these hard games, though i did think West and Hill really stepped up tonight. but anytime u give up 50 points in the first half u are going to have trouble digging out of the hole u have created.

  • little B

    They will regret the loss more because it gives ATL the tie breaker. With how tight the 4-7 spots are getting in the east, tie breakers will play a big role in the seeds for the playoffs. Orlando has them 2-1, but they have a chance to tie that on Sunday. ATL has the tiebreaker 2-1 and the Pacers don’t face them again. Boston is getting closer and Pacers have them 2-1 and have them at home in early April. Philly could end up losing that division to Boston(only 2 GB) which the Pacers lost the only the game they have played in Philly, but have 3 more on tap. If Pacers want the 4 seed in the playoffs(highly doubt they can come back and win division now), they need to win atleast 4 of their next 7 games and come out of this 9 game hell ride 4-5. Mainly just win all the home games, or get back to where you don’t lose back to back games anymore.
    As for the game last night, felt like every long rebound went to ATL and Josh Smith couldn’t miss. Also seemed like the Pacers couldn’t get over “The Hump”. Seems like in every game there is that certain range of defecit that a team can’t over come(AKA “the hump”) That hump was more than a 1 point lead. Seemed like everytime the Pacers would have a good stop and had a chance to take the lead they would do turnover the ball, take a horrible quick shot, get called for a aweful moving screen. Seems like the Pacers have this “Hump” alot though. It was the 13 point defecit against the bulls. Get there several times but just can’t keep things going in there way.
    Wouldn’t surprise me if Hill started over Collison on Sat., which may be what the Pacers need. Hopefully he can get better ball movement. Last night seemed like no one was passing, no matter how aweful of a shot they were about to take or how many people were on them. If the ball went down low, ATL crashed down and the ball would never come out, most of the time is was a bad shot, blocked shot, or foul that wasn’t called. So then the shooters quit passing the ball and then start taking bad looking shots. Like you could see when they were about to take the shot and see that they were going to miss it.
    Also how many fast break open men did DC miss last night? Like 5?
    They can completely redeem themselves by winning saturday. GO PACERS.

  • Jeremy Comstock

    When you’re opponent is playing a 6’1″ SG who’s torching you offensively, it would only be natural for you to try to get your 6’8″ SG the ball in the post to take advantage of the ridiculous height advantage. I’ve never wanted any player ever to channel Jamaal Tinsley before, but if George’s performance in the last 5 minutes of that game had looked more like Tinsley’s overtime performance in Phoenix a few years back, the Pacers would have had a much better chance at winning. I don’t know if it was Hill or Vogel that was responsible for this not happening, but whomever it was should shoulder a fair bit of blame for refusing to take advantage of the most obvious (and possibly only) true mismatch on the floor for the game’s last few minutes.

    Sadly, the Pacers only have 5 players I want on the floor during crunch time, and one of them’s spent most of the season in a suit.

    Also, I never believed that the Pacers were a good rebounding team even though that seemed a statistically ridiculous belief. It’s starting to seem much less ridiculous.

  • bj

    RONDO…..RONDO……RONDO…..enough said!

  • adam

    OK, so before the next game we need to insert Hill into the starting lineup, and get Chis Kaman from the hornets. Bird needs to make a move now if he wants to reclaim and hold the 3rd seed.

    We don’t play the heat until Sat so that gives him time to practice with us.

  • Ian

    Bird is in a tough spot because realistically, the Pacers can’t win a championship this year. They are a top-tier star away from being able to compete truly with the Heat or Bulls. Maybe George becomes that guy but he won’t get there this year.

    I keep wanting him to make a trade too but what does he give up? Hans’ value is in the toilet. Collison can only go if we get another PG and I don’t think the answer is to give him up for a old guy like Nash. How do the Pacers get Rondo without giving up Hibbert or George? If they can get Rondo for Tyler, Collison and a 1st rounder, it’d be worth it but I have to think the Celtics can do better than that.

    I was down on Rondo before the season but he contributes in so many ways, and the Pacers could desperately use a dominant defensive presence at the point who can also rebound and distribute.

    If they can provide lux tax relief for another team by picking up someone who can inject life into the 2nd unit that’d be great. Gerald Wallace would be perfect and I’m sure that Portland would give him away, but he’s a player option for next year at like 11M which would kill our remaining cap room.

    Still, this roster:
    Rondo
    George
    Granger
    West
    Hibbert
    Wallace
    Hill
    Almundson
    Foster
    whoever

    would be a big improvement over what we have now, I just don’t know if it’s at all realistic.

  • Mike

    Giving Roy anything but a D or lower is a farce. At least 3-4 of his “rebounds” fell right into his hands after freethrows or long shots with no one boxing him out. How many rebounds has he had his hands on in the last two games that ended up in the other team’s hands or not in his? At the end of the game he reached out and tapped the ball with his hand I guess because he thought PG was going to get to it. Instead PG was probably thinking, hey you’re 7’2 and the ball is sitting right in front of your face. GRAB IT! Instead PG has to dive out of bounds and isn’t able to save it. These guys get paid millions of dollars to jump in the air and grab a ball. It seems like half the time we’re wrestling rebounds away from our own players…

    And Roy has been nearly non-existent on the offensive end. Got blocked on a couple dunks and isn’t getting low enough position in the post. People are just outmuscling him. Pretty easy to defend him when all you have to do is make sure he catches it outside the paint.

    Don’t even get me started on DC…

  • Alan

    Wallace is unrealistic but i think bird can get Rondo for Collison 1st round pick and some money. Rondo would complete the team because he is a true distributor unlike collison who is a scoring point guard who can’t score. Rondo would be nice but I worry about the team chemistry. If we have to we can through in someone like tyler or if the C’s are stupid enough almundson.

  • Ian

    As long as Rondo agrees to the trade and the Pacers are a contender, I think Rondo will be fine. He’ll also fine a team where that doesn’t have 3 established stars who are used to be in charge and getting their own way.

    I don’t think Wallace is unrealistic from a trade perspective because I think Portland will be delighted to dump his salary. But it probably is from a perspective of the Pacers wanting to clog up all their cap space.

    I haven’t heard much serious talk of Rondo coming to the Pacers. In fact the rumor blogs have been very tight lipped about the Pacers so I’m not sure what if anything is going on. Usually it’s pretty hard to keep any significant moves out of the news. But if the Pacers do go for Rondo, he might be precieved as damaged goods right now (despite playing his heart out every night) so his price might never be this low again.

  • little B

    @ Ian an @bj
    The risk I see with Rondo is his actions with coaches and teammates. Many reports have come out saying that he doesn’t listen to his coaches, doesn’t listen to his teammates(which has probably 3 future HOF, atleast 2). Maybe that is due to him busting his balls every game and giving that team extra life when he has 3 old guys that probably get to do whatever they want. But hey he probably wouldn’t be where he is if it wasn’t for those guys. His high intensity is great and that is what this Pacer team is about. But not listening to coaches? Usually that is something that someones does no matter where they are, which would be the worst thing for Pacers. Not sure if it worth the gamble. Pacers just need to try out GH to start at PG. They might already have the key they need. Then add someone like Eric Gordon and another big guy to the bench next year to add with Collison, Hansborough, and maybe Stephenson…thats a pretty good bench squad. Probably could be the Bobcats them selves.

  • Vogelisgod

    @little b
    Eric Gordon?!?!! Are you &$(@ing kidding me? An undersized, injury prone “super star” who has played almost zero games this year. Take off the Iu glasses and put down the crack pipe. I’d take Travis diener over him.

  • Alan

    Gordon is a SG we don’t need him. and Hill isnt as effective at the PG slot so I really see the solution is to get a PG it doesnt have to be know but in the offseason or something. Still the chemistry is the main issue with the trade.
    @Ian
    Where would we put Wallace if we got him? He is not a bench player and neither is Granger. Plus like you said he takes up alot of cap space

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