The Pacers Are Lethal in the 3rd Quarter

Over at Hardwood Paroxysm, Jared Dubin compiled some charts to show how well each Eastern Conference team has played this season during different quarters. That graphic (above) should be pretty self explanatory: it shows quarter-by-quarter team offensive and defensive efficiency rating (the best metric to show effectiveness) compared to league average numbers.

As you can see, the Pacers have a blistering offense in the third quarter that they have paired with a stingy defense. Combined, this means they have outscored their opponents by 9.1 points per 100 possessions in the third this season. That’s a rout.

Dubin has one possible explanation.

A big reason for their jump in third quarter offensive efficiency is the play of Darren Collison, who shoots 52.5% from the field and 46.4% from 3 in the quarter (in 561 minutes played) as opposed to his usual low-40s, mid-30s percentages.

In the fourth, Indiana is nowhere near that dominant. But they are 2 points better per 100, which isn’t altogether surprising for a team with the fifth-record in the NBA.

  • poot

    is this not a case for DC to play with the starting unit???

    Look I love Hill, but he played a bunch of cupcakes as far as point guard Defense goes (Cleveland twice, Toronto, Minnesota, Milwaukee) who he handled as he should, although some of those games were wayyyy to close considering the recent play of those teams. Against a decent team, Philly, he was adequate both times, narrowly escaping one with a win and a loss in the other. Against another pathetic team, Detroit, Pacers proved it doesn’t matter who starts (AJPrice) as long as they just don’t mess up the flow too bad. The only threat I see to the flow is DC coming off the bench and jacking up quick shots and flashy passes. He clearly plays better with the starters, and this third quarter data backs that up big time. I am really curious to see how this plays out come post-season…

  • Nick

    I feel like Darren Collison has certainly had an off year by his standards, but even when he wasn’t lighting up the stat sheet, his ability to penetrate and run the offense was quite solid. I really like what G Hill brings defensively and as a shooter, but I have to say I was not in the majority who wanted Collison demoted. Here’s hoping DC can get back to full health by the playoffs and run the second unit that well. Can you imagine a fully-functioning and efficient first AND second units?

  • PG

    Gotta disagree Poot. Have you seen how much better Hansbrough has looked with Collison at the point? And for whatever reason, George Hill and David West seem to have a natural rapport, they execute pick and rolls beautifully. I think moving Collison to the second unit was a smart move and certainly justified based on Collison’s play throughout the majority of the season and especially at the beginning and end of games (at least when Collison was in there instead of Hill). As long as he continues to buy into that, I think the second unit is in great shape. Plus, with Collison and Barbosa, there is literally no faster pair of backups guards in the league.

  • El Conquistador

    I like DC, and he might be the better distributor right now, but with Hill you have a guy that can score and defend. DC was starting to become a liability against any team with a physical point guard. Now we have a guy that can pass, defend, and even call his own number. Most importantly he doesn’t turn the ball over!

  • Mike

    Agree PG. West has been dominant and I have a feeling it’s because Hill is at the point. Danny has played better. Roy seems more involved and in better position most times. DC shoots better in one quarter and all of a sudden he should be the clear cut starter? Maybe we’re so mucher lower in the first and second quarter because of his poor shooting. I’ve said this before, DC lost to some of these SAME TEAMS. Stop comparing the teams Hill played (and beat) because if you do that Hill has a better record and your point in moot!

    El- Yes. Agree with everything. I don’t know why these guys are feeling sorry for DC. He’s not having a good season and we have the luxury of having a guy like Hill who can step in. Not many teams have that in a backup pg.

  • poot

    i wasn’t saying that DC is better than Hill, I’m saying there is a case for both:
    On one hand, Hill has played awesome with the starters these past 9 games. Danny has played great and the pick and roll with Hill and West has worked nicely. Hill has played heavy minutes (near 40 each game) but still put up good numbers and looked good in wins.

    On the other hand, DC has played with this basic team for 2 seasons. He has another year of experience with DWest too, starting half that seasons games. The games he has missed recently have been against teams at their worst (yes he played those teams earlier in the season but they were all playing much better at that point. Irving was the PG for Cleveland, not Donald Sloan. Rubio was the Minnesota PG, not Barea. etc) and you could argue that if he played in those games Danny still would have gone off, and West would have still performed well on pick and rolls, regardless of the PG change. West still looked pretty good in Detroit from what I saw.

    my bottom line: I like Hill in the starting lineup because opponents have had less of a chance to scout. This is great for pulling out some upsets in the first round, but probably unneeded against the Magic. By the time they get to round 2, Miami will have scouted the Hill lineup to its core. Will that be a good time to go back to DC starting? Would his 135 starts with this Pacer lineup (+37 more with DWest) give him the experience to lead the team in the playoffs? We saw how well he did the previous post season. I think you have to go back to DC at some point…

  • Jesse

    Agree with Mike an El C. I would add that Hill and PG have a great rapport on breaks and in transition. It is unfortunate that Collison lost the job while injured, but had he been playing consistently well, this would not have happened. Now we don’t have to assign PG to Rose or other physically intimidating point guards.

  • dwain

    yeah if Hill’s shoulder keeps acting up there may no choice but going back to DC. i wouldn’t mind seeing both play with the starters too, to mix it up and give overlapping rest periods to Hill. that way the bench isn’t stuck with no starters in a bad place in a crunch game. DC has got to get better at passing though, he has way too many TOs.

    Go Pacers!!!!

  • Bradford Doolittle

    Landing the top seed in the NBA playoffs assures you of home-court advantage all the way through your conference bracket. It does not, however, automatically mark you as the favorite to make the finals.

    In the East, Miami appears to have topped Chicago as the most popular choice. The Bulls ultimately finished with the conference’s best record and point differential, as they did last season. Nevertheless, not much has changed since the preseason. Miami is the consensus pick to repeat as Eastern Conference champion. With that in mind and with the help of the NBA Stats Cube, let’s look at one player from Miami’s three potential playoff opponents who could demolish the sandcastles on South Beach.

    Louis Amundson, Indiana Pacers
    You can see the scenario already: The Heat roll past the Knicks in a first-round mismatch, while the Bulls are on the other side of the bracket struggling to dispatch the 76ers. Then the second round starts, and while Chicago scrambles to get its rusty rotation in perfect working order, Indiana is all but overlooked as Miami’s second-round fodder. That would be a mistake. The Pacers have a deep, versatile roster, are well-coached and, in Amundson, have a secret weapon who can give Miami fits.

    Amundson’s effect against the Heat is similar to that of Chicago’s Asik except that where the Bulls were solid defensively without Asik, that wasn’t the case for the Pacers and Amundson, who played only about a third of the time against Miami in four regular-season matchups. That number isn’t likely to go up a great deal in the playoffs because Indiana desperately needs Roy Hibbert’s post scoring.

    So it’s essential that Amundson makes an impact when he’s on the floor. We’ve seen him have a significant effect on a playoff series before — he was an essential part of the Phoenix bench mob that gave the Lakers fits in the 2010 Western Conference finals.

    In the 151 minutes this season in which the Heat faced Indiana sans Amundson, they got to the basket pretty much unfettered. More than a third of their attempts came in the restricted area, and they converted 71 percent of those opportunities. In the 46 minutes that Amundson played, the Heat got just more than a quarter of their shots at the rim and converted only half. Overall, Miami’s efficiency dropped from 1.14 points per possessions with Amundson out to .86 of a point when he was in.

    If the Pacers do their homework, and they always do, that Amundson could see key minutes down the stretch of close games, especially if coach Frank Vogel is able to leverage stoppages to toggle offensive and defensive configurations. If so, it would be a new wrinkle Indiana didn’t show Miami during the regular season.

  • NoLookPass

    Is anyone else getting as pissed as me that Frank has our poor shooting second unit taking long jumper after long jumper with next to no looks at the paint. We’ve had all this time to figure this out and he’s clueless about doing anything to fix it.

  • Realist

    I saw this had gone from 9 comments to 10 comments at halftime and I knew NLP would be ragging on our 2nd unit. And fair enough, too.

  • dwain

    what a disturbing first half, Roy has 1…read that one rebound…wtf why is Roy at the 3 point line…is Noah going to hit 3′s stay the ….. in the paint. this is not the way this team should be going into the playoffs…looks like a well oiled Bulls machine up against a high school squad.
    DC is killing the clock before he begins to move, the substitutions stink…what is going on?????

  • Jesse

    Man this team is atrocious in the 2nd Q.

  • NoLookPass

    LOL I’m sure people get tired of me ragging on them about it every night because I’m tired of doing it. Our bench is going to make or break us in the playoffs. The starting 5 is awesome but they can only do so much plus many of them are foul prone so we can ride them like other teams can.

    Thibodeau or Popovich can seemingly take a guy of the street and use him to his strengths and in the system hide their weaknesses. Frank is the opposite he puts most of non-star players in a position to fail.

    We’re about to finish a 66 game regular season and we absolutely have no set roles once we get past the starting five. And after those 66 games I have no idea what our offensive game plan honestly.

    I’m happy to have Frank and he does a great job of keeping the players head clear but I worry about his X’s and O’s. I have no doubt he will get better with experience but I’m afraid we are leaving ourselves exposed when we have a legit shot to make a run right now.

  • Realist

    It’s a good thing we’re ‘lethal’ in the 3rd.

  • dwain

    yeah right…so much for our lethal 3rd…….the only thing worse than how they are playing is having to “watch” the game on espn’s lousy gamecast because American Idol is on….this gamecast thing stinks to high heaven… they really do wanna make it impossible not to have a League Pass huh…but i gotta live with my wife

  • Realist

    League Pass = heavenly

  • dwain

    so the mighty Pacers score more points in the last min than they did the whole 2nd quarter?and we had what 53 TO’s and 5 rebounds and 5 assists….sheesh(it felt that way) at least Orlando is holding on to win(no jinx no jinx) though after they watch this game in scouting they will be dancing for glee that they got the hapless Pacer team in the playoffs to dine on…

    well the sun will come up tomorrow on a new day…maybe things will look brighter then

    ah com’mon an GO pacers….

  • NoLookPass

    I would rather have lost by 50 and got the second unit clicking than lose by 5 and see the bench take a step in the wrong direction and lose confidence. The positive we get Orlando without D12 with the negative we look like junk heading in with nobody but West and non-rotation players healthy and clicking heading in.

    May the old adage streaks follow streaks will ring true and all our cold guys will be due to heat up.

  • dwain


    Dear Agent V yer mission should u decide to accept is:

    teach Roy how to grip a ball, and to get both feet airborn at the same time

    run a tip drill for about 6 weeks

    actually put the guys in place and explain what floor spacing on a fast break means

    devise an offense that actually has yer slow footed rebounders (u know the guys u have to look up at to make eye contact?) with in a few steps of the paint???

    explain the word rebounding to the team so that they understand that they have a “man” they are responsible to block out if they really expect to actually put their hands on a ball

    show them a chart of how many games they lost by half of the missed free throws…maybe Bird can give a motivational free throw speech….

    explain how 3 cold starts looses a playoff series every time

    tell the team that “this is our lethal 3rd quarter” at the beginning of every quarter of the game

    find an actual “rotation”

    and lastly get out yer Ouija board and discern which are the one or two hot shooting guys on the floor in the first quarter(without letting the enemy lead reach more than 5 points) and feed them 60% of the shots in the next 3 quarters

  • Jesse

    League pass question for anyone that has it–if I purchase it for my laptop, do I have to watch the games in that inane, enraging 4-screen mosaic? Or is possible to watch the game from a normal perspective? I don’t have cable…

    Or does anyone know how many games ESPN is planning on putting on ESPN 3?

  • Realist

    No, you can watch it normally (1 game on the screen).

    I am in Australia and I get every game via LP ( I vaguely remember something like local blackouts may apply in some circumstances, maybe? I dunno, Amercians will have to confirm. (I’m assuming you’re a yank)

    p.s. Bulls game grades please.

  • Jesse

    Thanks, Realist. I am indeed a Yankee. It would be great to get some corroboration, since they advertise the “mosaic” (read: spastic nightmare) cam on the page.

  • poot

    I live in Cali, don’t have cable and use League Pass every day. Normally on 1 screen, it is not 1080p but better than ESPN’s streaming for sure. I’ll use the PIP if there is another game I am keeping an eye on in case it gets close. And the 4 mosaic is kind of crappy but good if there are 4 games you don’t really care too much about. The video playback features SUCK, but do not inhibit live viewing at all.
    They black out all local and nationally televised games, so be ready for that:

    ESPN shows every game on ESPN3. Not as high quality as LP, but still fine. No playback functionality.

    Then I watch every local and ABC game via TV tuner. HD of course. Full DVR functionality.

    TNT/NBATV games are the only tough ones… but there are enough streaming sites out there, some of them pushing 480i. No playback functionality.

    Between these you have all you need to watch every game of the NBA season. I have seen every single Pacers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Knicks and Spurs this season. Every TWolves game before Rubio’s injury and most games of other teams. Well worth it… “heavenly” sounds about right

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