Post-Game Grades: Pacers Don't Lose to Cavs

Despite their best efforts, the Pacers beat the Cavaliers. Before we focus on the ugly near-loss, let’s point out the most significant takeaway from the evening: the Pacers got their 17th win of the season outside of Indiana, guaranteeing them a winning road record for the first time since the first Roosevelt administration. Meaning Theodore. (I don’t actually know when the last time was. Someone look it up and tell us all in the comments. Probably 2003-04.)

Excellent milestone for a team that has shown that they are capable of winning against any team on any night in any building. Who really thought that could be possible right now even 6 months ago?

Unfortunately, what has generally been a very encouraging season has also included plenty of discouraging games like tonight. It was a dull, mundane game where the Pacers seemed to be going through the motions. And that seemed to be enough to beat a team that, as Mike Wells noted on Twitter, was “2-13 in their last 15 games” and has “called up 7 guys from the D-League this season.” Until it wasn’t.

Depending on your perspective, the Cavs either started forcing a bunch of turnovers late or the Pacers started to choke the game away and cough the ball up repeatedly. The outcome was the same. Cleveland cut the lead to 8. Then 5. Then 3. Then 1. Stop me if you can see the pattern. Soon, they were winning and extending a lead as the Pacers looked incapable of scoring. Indiana went nearly 6 minutes and 42 seconds without hitting a field goal in fact. A George Hill three-pointer ending that impressive run of futility. And it was a really good thing he showed up for work today. He added two layups soon after to tie the game and then give the Pacers back the lead.

His actions after that, however, will likely make most forget that the team probably would have lost without him on the court.

With Indy up 4 and the Cavs now the ones looking unable to score, Hill headed to the line with 25 seconds remaining. He missed the first. Then he missed the second. On the other end, Paul George foolishly fouled Tristan Thompson as he was dunking the ball to give Cleveland a traditional three-point play and leave the Pacers up just 1. Hill again got the inbounds pass and headed to the line. He missed the first. “Alligator-armed it again,” said Cavs color commentator Austin Carr. “Ball got awfully heavy.” Hill managed to make the second at least.

Down 2, the Cavs had 6 seconds to score. And they did. Easily, as Lester Hudson drove the lane and netted a floater.


To their credit, the Pacers handled their business in OT. They out-scored Cleveland 10-4 in the extra 5 minutes and Danny Granger was the one who made most of that happen. He hit a three, drilled another jumper and found Hill for an open three-pointer after having his drive stymied by an aggressive double-team.

So, yeah, they won. Which Pacers fans should consider wonderful, especially given the whole winning road record thing. But it wasn’t pretty. Don’t worry though: we get to watch these two teams play another 48 minutes — at least — on Friday night. Get excited.

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 37 MIN | 6-9 FG | 7-8 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS
Wonderful line. Among his best this year.
Danny Granger, SF 40 MIN | 8-18 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS
Granger has now scored at least 20 pts in 6 of the Pacers’ 7 games in April. In the other game, he had 18. Focusing on tonight, he was an OT beast, scoring 5 of his team’s 10 pts and assisting on a Hill trey.
Roy Hibbert, 38 MIN | 4-9 FG | 11 REB | 5 AST | 4 BLK | 5 TO | 11 PTS
Decent, although you want more points in nearly 40 mins. Had that nice dunk at the end of regulation, although it may have been “right place, right time” more than anything. 4 blks is nice. 5 TOs is gross.
George Hill, SG 41 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS
Missed 3 key free-throws that allowed the Cavs to force OT but was also a big reason the Pacers didn’t lose in regulation, hitting 3 huge buckets at a time when no other Pacer was doing anything. Call it even.
Paul George, SG 34 MIN | 3-6 FG | 10 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS

Dahntay Jones, SG 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 PTS
Nothing to write home, or on a blog, about.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1 AST | 2 TO | 9 PTS
9 pts on 7 shots is nice, but the turnovers weren’t at the best time.
Louis Amundson, C 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS
Did what he does.
A.J. Price, G 12 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS
Missed all his threes but distributed fine when he wasn’t chipping paint off the rim.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 7-7 FT | 4 REB | 9 PTS
Once again, his uncanny ability to get to the line turns a rough shooting night into efficient scoring. Vogel will take it, I’m sure.

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Post-Game Grades

  • Daniel

    Once again coach vogel’s decision on making the play for hill to get to the line almost blows a win. When will coach vogel ever figure out that the play needs to be for granger and not collison or hill.

  • NoLookPass

    I’m totally hating our second unit’s “offense” right now! I liked D Jones and Lou tonight playing their roles great even if Lou got beat up by Samardo Samuels a bit in the post. AJ Price has had the door opened up for him and he’s back to shooting tons of shots rather than show he can run a smooth offensive.

    Leandro Barbosa is what he is and is going to shoot it almost every time he touches it but its kills out offensive flow unless he’s lights out and he works terribly with Hansbrough which is hurting his game and thus the team. Every time we get a screen and roll for Tyler with Leandro having the ball its a lock he will never hit him open in the lane. He will always drive around and take a shot unless two guys are there then he will bypass the open lane to dump it back to 3 point line.

    We know what our starters are going to bring each night and I think our most important issues is the bench and I also think Tyler will be key for us in the playoffs with his ability to get under teams skins and get to the line for easy points and get others in foul trouble but we’re using him like crap right lately!

    When he gets passed the ball anymore its for extra long jumpers usually late in clock situation,or gets the ball too far out and tries to take it to the hole with the exact same shot in the lane every time which he never draws a foul on. He’s a volume scorer and has just 15 shots over the last 4 games with many of those coming off offensive rebounds and our guards haven’t got him in quality position to score many times the last few games. We have abandoned the PnR game with him witch seems to work, have seen next to no mid range baseline jumpers which seems like his favorite shot and we never hit him on time when he has his guy posted up or open in the lane.

    When DC gets back I think we should use him off the bench and hopefully find a way to get Tyler and Barbosa both the shots they need. Hill was bricking like crazy trying to fit in with those two but has shot great when in with the starters so maybe DC can remaster the two man he and Tyler had last year and make this work out with the second unit.

    I know I harp on the bench play a lot but its whats going to make or break us in the playoffs IMO!

  • Realist

    I’m stumped, maybe Hansbrough should be in there for the free throw game, I dunno. George Hill, yikes.

  • Realist

    Also, I wonder if once we get to the playoffs, we’re gonna tighten the rotation down to an 8-man rather than a 10-man. (Cut out Lou and DJ, I guess), and still use Hill/Barbosa/Hansbrough. Not that I don’t love Lou (or Dahntay for that matter), but NLP is right. Our 2nd unit’s offense is pretty rubbish.

    Vogel will probably just keep the 10-man though and lean on the starters a bit more.

  • Gavin Larson

    Yeah, I dunno if you can cut a guy like Lou’s minutes down. He is better defensively than Hansbrough, although we probably should dress Fresenko here pretty soon and get him warmed up with some minutes off the bench. We might wait until we clinch to do that, or might not do it at all. I just wanna see if his defense is as good as everyone says it is.

  • Bat

    Truth is Tyler struggling both ends, especially on mid range jumpers.

  • NoLookPass

    @Bat he isn’t taking too many at mid range at all as every one he’s taking is around 18+ out and ifs its not that its the running hook across the lane which rarely works. Both of which are far down the list of best options for him to take. He isn’t getting the ball from our guards anywhere close to position he needs to be successful and its hurting us now and will kill us in playoffs.

    His preferred position is getting a run to the rim to lay it in or get fouled and may times both, shoot a jumper off a PnR around the FT area or hit his baseball jumper on either on a catch and shoot or face up out of a post up play. The problem is he’s getting next to none of these shots and we need him to if we plan on making noise.

    He’s a volume shooter so when you factor in limited attempts with unfavorable shooting position it makes for a real bad combination, In games where he’s taken 5 or less shots he’s shooting just 33.1% in his career vs 44.3% afterwards while shooting a far higher percentage as the attempts go up. This isn’t just a Hansbrough issue its a problem with most score first guys when not getting off. For example our front court of West/Roy/Danny are at 33.3% combined when getting off 5 or less shots this year. Hill is at 27.9% on 61 shots and Barbosa is at 30.8% and Tyler is slightly below that career average at 32.1% om 81 attempts.

    Scorers need the ball and when they don’t get it nothing but bad things tends to happen but get them shots they shoot great. Like Hill who has that terrible percentage getting 5 or less but is shooting 56.5% when taking 9 or more this year and Tyler jumps up to 47.4%!

  • little B

    I am not a huge PG fan, but I like him. That being said I think he deserves some better grades than he gets. 10 boards. If it wasn’t for PG’s rebounding this year Hibbert would be getting bashed every night. PG does all the “little” things that makes this team great. Yeah he may seem scared to fire up a shot sometimes and then dishes a pass instead of pulling the trigger when the shot clock is down to 6 or 7 leaving the other players with pretty difficult shots, but he is there defense and he does a pretty good job at it. Gets some great steals each game, maybe a block or 2. But I am amazed at his rebounding. He out rebounds Hibbert and West almost every night. Is that normal? He also makes some passes that surprise not only me but his teammates half the time(which mostly become turnovers because his teammates aren’t paying attention). I have been impressed with him. He just does alot of unnoticed things that actually play a huge part to this team. That being said I think he deserves more than a ‘meh’.

  • Sside

    A little generous with the grade for AJ Price, Jared. He was brutal. Having a turnover is one thing, but twice losing the handle that results in a fastbreak the other way within a minute of each other is unacceptable for a PG. Those “pick 6′s” are momentum changers especially on the road. Usually I think AJ is a serviceable backup, but he was broken last night.

  • Mike

    NLP – Not sure where you’re getting this under/over 5 shot metric but I don’t think you can tie it to “the more you shoot, the better you shoot.” Who was guarding these guys? When were these shots made? Garbage time? How many long range or shots at the basket? Was it a blowout? Sometimes guys are just hot. Sometimes they’re cold. I don’t think you can say Hands should shoot more just because in the few games he’s taken more than five shots, he’s hit close to 50%. He was 1-5 last night. Just recently he was 2-8 vs. NY and 1-7 against Hou.

  • adam

    I agree with little B.
    PG didn’t have a big scoring night but 50% shooting, 10 rebounds and 3 assist when the rest of the starters did most of the lifting is at least a B in my opinion.
    He didn’t force anything when his number wasn’t called, but still did the little things to keep us in the game (minus the bonehead foul).

  • NoLookPass

    @Mike 5 is a nice round number which represents 1.25 shots a quarter and also comes in under 10 shots per game on the per 36 scale for anyone who plays more than 18 MPG a level IMO no scorer should ever be below. Hill as a starter is at 47.9% on 11.4 attempts per game and Hansbrough is 49.9% on 10.8 so its clear this isn’t just a product of garbage time or blow outs while both players have terrible numbers while not getting shots off.

    Scorers score the ball and need shots to make shots, and when you take a lot of jumpers its hard to shoot good in limited looks consistently. At one time everyone was in love with getting OJ Mayo for his bench scoring but he’s shooting 29.5% when getting 5 or less shots in his career Then you have Dunleavy who’s having a career resurgence with Bucks and who also shot good for us last year but is at 32.1% over the last two years with no shots but is shooting 48% when he gets past that level.

  • dwain

    this game has really bad implications for how this team is going to perform in the playoffs, lets face it is a joke for the Cavs to force them to overtime…wtf u crush OKC and then die to the Cavs…don’t they know these games are warm ups for the playoffs…come with the switch on or don’t come at all
    maybe coach V needs to just sit the starters when they play like this, maybe the second team really wants to play, reguardless these kinds of games are killing my playoff hopes for them…how can they win a series if they can’t be bothered to be motivated 2 games in a row?

  • Andrew

    Darren Collison needs to return to the floor soon for one simple reason… Without G Hill, the reserves look completely lost in the offense. Expecting Psycho T to post up his man every time down the floor will not work in the NBA, they need to get back tot he free flowing ball movement and aggressive cuts to the hoops that make the second unit so dangerous, and to do that they need a floor general running that Offense… no offense to AJ Price, but DC and GH are a huge upgrade.

  • Bat

    @NoLookPass No need to mention a lot, He’s not taking shots from 3pt line or something difficult for him. He’s taking wide open midrange jumpers but missed almost all. Simple

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