Post-Game Grades: Pacer Players Play Well, Pacer Team Plays Poorly in Loss to Suns

This game felt wrong, to me. Not wrong in the way last night’s game in Washington was wrong – where both teams were awful, but Washington was just awful-er.

There was a lot of scoring for both teams, and when you look at the box score, you see a lot of apparently good individual games for the Pacers. Think about the game, and you can probably come up with a couple really good plays for guys like Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, and David West for every one you thought they looked bad.

Several individual Pacers played “well,” but the Pacers didn’t play well. And maybe that’s what it was. Maybe that’s what feels wrong.

The Pacers were disjointed. They were five musicians on the stage at any one time, each giving a good performance, but none playing in time or tempo with the other four. It showed at both ends.

The ending of the game was appropriately bizarre. After Channing Frye hit at three with 0:28 left to give the Suns a six-point lead, an odd series of events – including five Danny Granger points and two missed Channing Frye freebies – cause the game to last another good…oh…hour, before Paul George’s desperation follow of his own intentional missed free throw clanged off the rim at the buzzer to preserve the Phoenix win.

But…whether it felt right or wrong, it goes in the record books as a Pacer loss. And it’s a loss that, when coupled with Atlanta’s win over the Nets, leaves Indy only percentage points ahead of the Hawks for the 5th seed.

Get a chance to get it back tomorrow at Milwaukee.

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 31 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 8 PTS
You’d like to see him capitalize more on match ups against the Hakim Warricks and Channing Fryes of the world, particularly since he’s not quick enough to close on Frye defensively.
Danny Granger, 34 MIN | 9-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 28 PTS
Extremely efficient game, and some big buckets late, but nothing in the third quarter that made the difference, and Grant Hill had 22 points.
Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS
Three second half points. Great offensive first half but…Was either matched or outplayed Marcin Gortat (23 points, 8 rebounds), and got physically manhandled by the Phoenix big man in the second half.
Darren Collison, PG 32 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 9 PTS
One of his better games, both on the floor and in the box score, in a while, but can’t give him more, when his counterpart – Steve Nash – sliced and diced Indy for 17 assists.
Paul George, SG 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS
Paul George is becoming more assertive on the floor, and that brings both good and bad. He’s capable of some stellar plays (and strong box scores), but he also makes some really bad decisions – including a turnover and a foolish step-back three coming down the final few minutes.

Dahntay Jones, SG 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0 REB | 2 PTS
High point for Dahntay was the technical he received, which – if nothing else – at least registered some official protest for this officiating crews maddening tendency to blow the whistle several seconds late.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 17 MIN | 2-10 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS
Hit a couple of shots as the bench started to grind back into the game in the early fourth, but overall, he mostly missed…and if he’s not scoring, then he’s not bringing much else to the table.
Louis Amundson, C 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2 REB | 4 PTS
Prototypical C game – didn’t help…didn’t hurt.
A.J. Price, G 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Was just on a few seconds after Hill fouled out.
George Hill, SG 22 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS
Bailed out some possessions with his shooting, but also struggled for the second straight game to run the offense. He and Barbosa are a fantastic backcourt when they can get out and run, but they struggle mightily in half-court sets.
Tyler Hansbrough, 19 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 13 PTS
Originally, I wasn’t going to give out any A or A-like substances, but really, Tyler did what you want him to do off the bench: score some points, get some boards, be disruptive. Did dither on a couple plays that cost him, but played well otherwise.

Tags: Phoenix Suns Post-Game Grades

  • dwain

    Sorry Tim to a certain degree, i gotta disagree, for 3 quarters i actually felt like i was watching 2 NBA teams playing, sadly for 1/2 of the third and 1/2 of the fourth it went back to an NBA team and a “young” NBA team playing. The loss stinks, no way around it, there were some ups and downs(always will be), but this Pacer team did not come out sluggish, they went toe to toe with a decent NBA squad and they should have finished the deal but reverted to their feet of clay in parts of the third and fourth quarters.i really think Roy deserved an A for his solid play in this game and i feel the same for Danny. Granted Roy’s scoring faded away in the second half, but he made up for it with some great blocked shots, rebounding and general all around play. I would wager the Pacers will win a large amount of the games they play when Roy has this sort of game and Danny scores this well and the other parts function better than they did tonight.I think the difference was Nash(the guy many of us feel is the answer the Pacers question is looking for) who did exactly what a great PG should do and took advantage of every weakness the Pacers defense offered.

  • Realist

    Granger was at least an A

  • adam

    Anyone see a player by the name of David West? He used to hang around the pacers but I haven’t seen much of him lately.

  • Joe

    Yeah West clanked a couple shots off the front of the rim.

  • AJ

    Is it me, or did West and Collison leave their games in New Orleans? I know we’re not a pure PNR team like the Hornets were, but these were supposed to both be 19&9 guys, and I have yet to see those guys. I thought that was one of the main reasons we acquired (and slightly overpaid) for DW, b/c the Collison/West battery was supposed to be magic, automatic, and supply this offensively-immature team with some stability. If I were Larry, I’d seriously consider trading both back to NO for Gordon this summer, slide Danny over to PF, and go with a strategy similar to that of Orlando during their recent Finals run. I like how we play now, but I love how the Magic play on offense, and Roy seems to do better work inside when the court is spread open.

  • Jeremy Comstock

    I took two things away from this game:

    1. The Pacers PG’s, when compared to Steve Nash, look like coal sitting next to a diamond. The loss of Steve Nash for the Suns would be comparable to the Colts’ loss of Peyton Manning. If he goes down, they go from a borderline playoff contender to the front of the line for Anthony Davis.

    2. Roy Hibbert, even when having a fantastic offensive game as he did in the 1st quarter, can be completely negated by a good PG/C combo that forces him to defend the pick and roll. The problem last night was as much of a team defensive failure as anything, but what I fear will be Roy’s career-long defensive limitations were on full display last night.

  • Pacerhomer

    Roy’s defense against the pick and roll will be the down fall of this team. The coaching staff has to figure out a way late in games to protect Roy from having to guard against the high pick and roll.

  • Roland Van Druff

    I have to admit that I don’t know much about basketball. However, I see Hansbrough puting up points when he is in the game. Why doesn’t he get more minutes?

  • Wilbert Carr

    Why is it so hard for the Pacers to play like professional basket ball players? Do they not understand fifth grade basket ball fundementalss? When the teams basket ball the way it is suppose to be played, five players each as important as a whole, should touch the ball. Not just one player run down the floor and shoot when he has no advantage over the other team. When the Pacers are smart enought to pass the ball around, the percentages of getting a good shot is always there. I cannot understand the number of years these men have been playing and cannot understand there are five players on the same team. Why does Roy have to take three to five seconds to make up his mind if he is going to shoot or pass. This gives the opponent ample time to destroy any chance of making the basket possible. Inside out is what the pacers don’t understand. Go back and determine the number of successful shots made when this happens. I am a Pacer fan and will always be, but I think they should study grade school basket ball teaching and apply it to the Professional game. Remember they are getting big dollars for doing nothing unless they are a winning team.