Post-Game Grades: Pacers Steal Oklahoma City's Thunder (Nobody's Used This Headline, Right?)


Let’s get one thing out of the way first: in response to all of the hullabaloo over Kevin Durant’s dunk on Roy Hibbert, allow me to speak for Roy.

Scoreboard.

Besides, the incident in the fourth quarter where Hibbert caught the ball rolling to the basket, and Derek Fisher made him stop and pump fake was infinitely more embarrassing.

This was a game between two good basketball teams tonight. The Pacers dominated for a long time, but Oklahoma City never stopped being terrifying until the game was over…and even then, you left the building wondering if they were really dead.

First, the losers.

Kevin Durant was sublime. After the game, Vogel initially said they did a “not so good” a job on Kevin Durant. When I followed up, he said, “Actually, I think we did a good job. It was just good defense, better offense…other than our transition.”

And that offense would be better than most defenses on most nights.

For the winners, they were getting incredible contributions from everyone who played through the first two and a half quarters. West, Hibbert, George, DC, Lou – everybody was making a play.

Indy probably had a chance to end it in the third, but there was a series of threes that the Pacers missed. They were all pretty clean looks, so I asked Vogel whether he thought they were settling for shots, or if he thought they were good shots that just didn’t go. His response:

“Naah. When you play a spread lineup, they’re either gonna leave the paint, or they’re gonna leave shooters. They were leaving shooters. We’ve got enough good shooters, that that’s gonna even out … And it did even out. Those are good shots, and we’ll take them in the rhythm of the offense.”

The third quarter was an opportunity missed, but you have to love their defense in that quarter – holding the best offense in the league to an offensive efficiency of only 83. Unfortunately, they only managed a 79 themselves.

In the fourth, the dam broke, and the Thunder scored 37 points, but the Pacers put up 28, and walked out victors.

Sure, you’d love to have run away to an easy victory, but there’s a reason Oklahoma City is one of the best teams in the league. The Pacers should be nothing but proud of this win.

Scoreboard.

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 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 14 PTS
Didn’t see much action late, but was very efficient and effective early. He and Hibbert punished the Thunder inside to build the first half lead.
Danny Granger, SF 37 MIN | 11-23 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 26 PTS
The Captain. Thirteen fourth quarter points, and the Pacers needed every one of them. Kevin Durant scored 44 points and was jaw-dropping awesome. Danny won.
Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 7-14 FG | 7-9 FT | 12 REB | 21 PTS
The big fella was a UUUUUUUGE advantage for the Pacers all night – regardless of what is on YouTube.
Darren Collison, PG 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 AST | 11 PTS
Yeah, I’m givin’ him an A+. Gargantuan bucket late. Even bigger free throws. Good job defensively on Russell Westbrook early in the game. Nicely done, Mr. Collison.
Paul George, SG 36 MIN | 3-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 16 REB | 8 PTS
The young guy was all over the place tonight – in both the good way (career high 16 rebounds, 3 steals), and the bad way (3-for-13 shooting, 3 turnovers, fouled out). Still, this guy was on the floor with some of the best players in the world, and clearly belonged.

Dahntay Jones, SG 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Coach Frank Vogel had committed to having either Granger or George guarding Durant all night tonight, and that limited Dahntay’s playing time.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 9 PTS
Not a great shooting night, but still scored and helped the team.
Louis Amundson, C 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 PTS
There are times where he is – purely and simply – channeling Jeff Foster. What a fantastic pick up for this team.
George Hill, SG 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 AST | 8 PTS
Not a lot of numbers, and made some mistakes, but still led a second unit that maintained and extended the lead in the second quarter.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 PTS
Quiet night for Tyler, whose minutes were squeezed a bit by some 4th quarter small ball.

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Tags: Frank Vogel Oklahoma City Thunder Post-Game Grades

  • poot

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh SKEET SKEET SKEET

  • Realist

    No reason why we can’t win all our games from here on in. Home game against the Bulls in the 66th game – Bulls will probably be resting with the 1-seed sewn up and Rose (if not any others as well) dressed in a suit.

    Unlikely, sure. But heading into the playoffs with a “Won 15″ next to us would be pretty sexy.

    GO INDY

  • NoLookPass

    Amazing win but Paul George is becoming one of the leagues better rebound thief, its nice to get them but I bet the other guys are thinking WTF watching him fly over them. Everyone seems to love our small ball line up but I feel we’re going to get blasted with it in Playoffs since its positives are due to DG33′s light outs shooting during both extended runs.

    Was a fan of PG working with the bench 4 in the 1st into 2nd quarter playing a +8 but was disappointed we didn’t use them in the second half, but we never even used 4 bench players on the floor at the same time at all in second half and hardly saw any of Tyler and no D Jones.

    I’m worried Danny is peaking a bit too early.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Msquared122 Mike

    I wouldn’t say Danny is peaking. He’s had a slow roll to get where he is at now and I wouldn’t shocked if he keeps this up into the play-offs. (Preforming like this in the play-offs is the peak IMO)
    Also, Paul George tied the all-time NBA record of rebounds by a Guard. The funny part being he’s really not a Guard, but that’s where he plays.

  • NoLookPass

    Danny is a 43.9% shooter from the field and 38.4% from downtown over his career but is shooting 53.5% and 58.6% over the last 10 days or so. December 06 is the last month Danny has shot over 50% from the field in a month he’s played 8 or more games in, Its going to be extremely difficult for him to keep it up much longer, let alone for 11 more games and into the playoffs.

    If he somehow could we would be legit title contenders! We’re 14-2 in games he scores 22 or more this year with our 2 losses coming by a total of 6 points to teams who play a high scoring pace losing 113-111 and 113-109 to the Suns and Nuggets.

    Notable wins and point totals from the scoring Danny games are. Last nights 103 on OKC, 102 on Clips, 105 on the Heat, 106 on Orlando and a win in the United Center! If Danny is hitting we have way too much firepower for teams to overcome over a 7 game series, but if he’s off and taking 16-20 shots we can get beat by bad teams and embarrassed by good teams.

  • br
  • NZ Buc

    Without going back and looking at DG’s matchups – him playing at the four may give him some really good matchups (in terms of him getting open looks).

    Tbh looking back I’m glad okc came back – years past (even last year in playoffs) would have seen the pacers relinquish the lead, and game. Not today (for me in nz) – Durant was awesome, but Indy never backed down and seemed to answer (almost) every huge okc shot with one of their own. Hopefully this sort of confidence and play carries on!

  • dwain

    man what a fantastic “TEAM” win, u could hear the guys shouting at each other all through the game calling defenses…that just makes me all warm an fuzzy inside :) Roy was a beast,( KD’s dunk musta felt pretty dang hollow inside), the beast took the day! Danny was a mirror of Durant, it was almost like watching Bird an Magic go at it, shot after shot, no let down no back off. Lou an Barbosa kept a stupid grin plastered to my face almost the whole time they were in and i finally gave up holding my breath on shooting somewhere in the third quarter. The end game was so crucial to this team, they fought their way through it to well earned victory an i bet a grudging respect around the league…nobody wants them in the playoffs, nobody..”.here kitty kitty”.
    there is always a down side…injuries…the cap took a beating in this game, DC is gonna be limping, Roy took a beating too, wish we could give em extra cash for those dives that turn games around…tonight may show how bad this injury list is…

    awesome win Pacers!!!!!! bet even Reggie had to smile

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