Why Pacers Fans Shouldn't Worry About the Late Scoring Drought in Game 1

The Pacers didn’t score a single point in the final 4:05 of their game one loss to the Magic on Saturday night. That is deplorable. How can a 3-seed with two big guys who should easily over-power the Magic’s front line not put in even one bucket? How do athletes like Danny Granger and Paul George not find a way to get a hoop? What was Darren Collison doing out there? Most critically, how can a team without a “go-to guy” who can will in a shot expect to even make it to the second round, let along threaten a giant like the Miami Heat?

These questions are seemingly valid. But they’re really not.

Yes, the end of the game was abysmal in terms of production. But aside from the questionable long two-pointer by Collison on the team’s second to last possession and the two bonehead violations by Granger (one being a travel on the team’s final possession), it really wasn’t bad at all. Process-wise, the team got good shots. The offense was composed, aside from the brain farts, and the lack of scoring was almost entirely due to missing shots as opposed to being unable to find flaws in the Orlando defense.

Let’s go to the tape.

Tyler Hansbrough Jumper Out of the Pick-and-Pop (make)

The first of multiple good screen/rolls run by Collison in the quarter.

Tyler Hansbrough Layup in the Two-Man Game (make)

Really nice down-screen action here by Tyler to free up Paul George, who quickly reads the defense and finds Hansbrough in a place to score.

David West Jumper, David West Look in the Paint (miss, make)

High pick-and-roll play here by Collison/Tyler leads to DC finding West wide open on the baseline after the defense rotates. David can’t knock it down but the Pacers get the board. They re-set and go right back to the Collison-led pick-and-roll, this time with West, who pops to the top of the key and gets the dish. He has a lot of room to operate and makes a measured attack into the paint for a bucket.

David West Drive, Pull-Up Out of the Pick-and-Roll (make)

Another West pick at the top of the key for the ball-hander, who is Paul George this time. West slips the screen here though and drifts into space to catch the pass. He pump fakes and heads towards to block, where he pulls up and drills a short jumper over guys too short/bad/slow to even challenge his shot.

Tyler Hansbrough Gets a Good Look in the Paint (miss)

Really creative pass here by Collison, who finds Tyler with a little over the top lob into space after forcing the defense to react to his penetration. Hansbrough really needs to finish this. He gets blocked though. By Big Baby.

Paul George Duck In Bucket at the Hoop (make)

This is a really good cut by Paul George. He basically foreshadows what is to come by missing the first attempt, but he gets the tip in after a nice set that features Roy Hibbert as the facilitator from the mid-range. Excellent look by Hibbert and a good example of both the “random duck ins” that Frank Vogel mentioned were key before game one and Stan Van Gundy’s fear that Indiana can post up Orlando at positions “two through five.”

Hibbert Deep Position Hook Shot (miss)

A key to the series is getting the big fella deep position to exploit the small Magic front court. They didn’t do so nearly enough throughout the game. But they did here and Hibbert got a great look that he makes 8 out of 10 times. He just blew the finish. Good offense though.

Darren Collison Mid-Range Jumper Off a Pick-and-Roll With David West (make)

Indiana’s last points of the game game off of what was go-to play in late-game situations early in the year: a Collison/West side pick-and-roll. Here, West manages to stymy both defenders and DC is able to just dribble over into space and hit the wide-open jumper.

Danny Granger Back-Court Violation (turnover)

There is no excuse for this. We raked him over the coals for it yesterday. Notice, however, how Hibbert is just loafing around with his back turned to the ball. That’s not a pick-and-roll or a pick-and-pop. Pick-and-meander more like.

Granger Backs Down Nelson, Splits a Double on the Block (miss)

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. The Pacers exploit a mismatch and Granger puts Jameer Nelson into full-on “mouse in the house” panic mode. The double comes but Danny does a great job splitting it to create an excellent shot near the hoop. He just blew it.

West Creates In an Iso After a Pick-and-Roll, Paul George Misses a Trey (miss, miss)

West gets the ball in face-up position from 17 feet against a defense on its heels. He attacks and gets a really good shot near the hoop. He misses. Hibbert taps out the board and Indiana passes it around until Paul George gets a wide-open three-pointer from the wing. He misses. Two shots any coach would like to have though.

Paul George Gets a Wide-Open Three Out of a West Post-Up (miss)

George tries to redeem his recent miss from behind the arc. He doesn’t. Nice look again. And yet another play good made by West with the drive/kick out. Earlier in the period, while turning the ball over, he looked tentative to assert himself. Here, and on the shot before, it looked more like he just missed. George made a few nice reads with his passing game earlier, but missing two open threes and throwing one ball away in the fourth is really ugly stuff, especially when you remember that he was “guarding” Jason Richardson on the other end as J-Rich stuck two threes that basically won the game for Orlando. Not the type of quarter you want, production or potentially confidence-deflating-wise, from the young guard.

Collison Misses Baseline Jumper, Granger Gets to the Line (miss, foul, misses FTs)

This possession features a little more iso and scrambling then you would like but Granger does a good job making something happen. After a nice move, he finds DC in the corner for a pretty decent look. Collison misses. Pacers get the board though and Granger draws a foul. Unfortunately for Indiana, he bricked both freebies.

Granger Posts Up Hedo Turkoglu (miss)

This possession takes some time to get going but the Pacers eventually get Granger the ball isolated with Hedo Turkoglu on the wing. He backs down Hedo and makes a really nice spin baseline to get a should-be easy two. But, stop me if you’ve heard this before, he misses.

Darren Collison Takes a Dumb Shot (miss)

There’s no defending this one. The team is down 3 and runs no semblance of a play. Guys are moving around but even if something was going to develop it was going to take a while. No matter because Collison has no patience for that anyway. On a possession where the team needs a 3 or a quick 2, he gets a mismatch against a bigger defender and … pulls up for a long two. High-risk, no reward. He misses.

Granger Travels, Makes Naismith Roll Over in His Grave (turnover)

Like we saw all last year in the Pacers series against the Bulls, the Pacers needed to create offense late in the game and they threw up all over themselves. Granger has no business being the guy you give the ball and clear out for. In this specific scenario, when you need somebody to just launch a desperation three in hopes of tying, it’s marginally acceptable to ask him to create, but it’s just not something he is good at. He proves that forever and ever by traveling embarrassingly here.

Looking just at this play and the Collison poor decision that preceded it, it would be easy to just call this de ja vu. Against the Bulls, however, the Pacers competed for 44 minutes and then could not get any offense of any kind down the stretch for possession upon possession upon possession upon possession.

That’s not what happened in game one. They didn’t score for more than four minutes, yes, but the offense was generally run well and producing makable shots. That’s what an offense is supposed to do. You cannot just let the players off the hook for missing shots that they should make, but they were literally in the position to win.

And of course the horrible, inexcusable, panicked plays on the final two possessions are worrisome. But that was hopefully more a product of game-one jitters than some deep-seeded psychological flaw that nobody on the roster will be able to overcome. The team generally ran the offense fine. Throughout the fourth quarter, they got good looks at the hoop on basically every possession where they didn’t do something particularly dumb. That would seem to be more sustainable than it would be for the Magic to continue to presume the Pacers will miss so many easy shots and commit superiorly dimwitted mistakes.

Tags: 2012 Playoffs

  • NoLookPass

    Big Baby has 14-8 on Big Roy’s 2 and 6 in the first half. At the break we have 3 assists to 7 TO and the Bench has yet to pick up a rebound or have a good offensive set.

    I feel we need less Lou he couldn’t check anyone out there in the first half and it left Tyler out to dry a several times down low and he isn’t anywhere good enough defender to overcome it. They just don’t have to respect Lou’s on offense and we play 5 on 4 and the second unit with him can’t get anyone rhythm in the half court and we ended up taking too long of jumpers for a bad shooting unit or need to get bailed out with a wild circus shot or a get a foul call. If he’s not getting tips or blocks he’s just in the way out there.

    Barbosa, West, Tyler, DC and PG are the reserve unit we need to run with for some extended time.

  • dwain

    man what a difference a few days make, while the kudos have to go to the 4 +17 players i really think the star of the game was Tyler, he got inside Baby Davis head and broke him down…Psycho T with the Psycho D on BB Davis!!! David West is the best Pacer since Reggie and that is sayin somethin

    GO Pacers!!!
    weather that storm in Orlando guys

  • AK Drew

    In regards to NoLookPass, you cant have two (formerly 3) starters on a reserve unit. That would defeat the purpose of a reserve unit. It is the antithesis of what they are there for. If that were the case that they would be playing 40+ minutes a game. However, I agree that they utilized Hansbrough effectively. That dude plays for one purpose, and one purpose only. To shut down his opponent defensively, and in turn win. Davis is probably thinking that he should have taken the night off after tonight. I also agree that many times Lou is just in the way. He just doesn’t have the hands to compete offensively. Yet, he does, and always supplies a motivational spark that is much needed in games. Especially playoff games like tonight.

    That being said, I hope Danny gets his mind right, and on track. Whether we Indiana fans like it or not, he is the leader of the team. Rain or shine. People keep saying that D West is becoming the go to guy. D West doesn’t have the perimeter game, or shooting capability that Danny does. Is Danny going to be the long term solution? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t matter. He is what we have, and we have to deal with.

    Good job tonight gentlemen. Only three more series, many road trips, and hopefully many more nights like tonight to go.

  • NoLookPass

    Drew, That’s basically the group that won us the game tonight. West/Tyler/Barbosa with two others who want to run out of DC/GH or DG/PG is money against Orlando. Also West and Danny did play 41 MP tonight and West was in for 32.47 of game action without checking out.


  • little B

    I look at these two games and all I see is that the Pacers have not played near their best ball and somehow they series is even.
    They were setup to pull away the first game and chocked up a 7 point lead with about 2 minutes left. Game lost was horrible on all parts, coaching, rebounding, shooting, free throws, and executing. Roy Hibbert gets a 3 ball to shoot at the end of the first half? DC playing pretty much the whole 4th quarter it seemed with 1/7 shooting. This is something they have done the last 2 years with DC at the helm in crunch situations, either horrible play calls, or even more horrid execution. Also in game one Nelson, Big Baby, and Jason Richardson had the best games they had in a few months. Big Baby would have looked amazing if Hibbert didn’t block him about 9 times.
    Game 2 alot different, but Pacers still came out slow, but then finally took over in the 3rd. Nice to win by 15 when West and Danny shoot 33%. George Hill stepped up big and PG finally didn’t look nervous with the ball like he did in game 1.
    Pacers will win the series in 5 or 6. They just need to work on preparing for long rebounds, something they still hadn’t figure out in the first half of game 2 but then took it away in the second half. Magic are going to get some 3 balls down, but Pacers just let them get too many second attempts in the first game and first half of the second game to where they could never pull away. This is a nice series for the Pacers to get the gitters worked out. Lets hope Danny and David get back to shooting around 50 percent like they were the last month of the regular season.
    Game 2 it appeared everyone took a step in the right direction, even Vogel. I was starting to get a little upset with using his regular season rotation in the playoffs of players coming in and going out on a routine time frame. Both games Pacers starters get out to about a 10 point lead, then Barbosa and shortly after a few other bench playres come in and then POW, Pacers are down 5. Bench really needs to step it up if the Pacers want to make a run in this playoffs. Miami’s bench is weak, but when their starters play a little over 40 minutes a game when it’s close, our bench with Vogel’s timed rotations will get slaughtered. Then Miami will have a challenge come round 2. Honestly I think it all comes down to GH. He came out with a little fire under him due to being benched that fourth quarter in game 1. Lets hope is explodes and he starts taking over in the clutch situations and creating good looks for DW and DG. Right now there is no one to guard the Pacers point guard in the East side of the playoffs besides Rondo, but Celtics might be sent home early in these playoffs.

  • pooot

    this thread is probably already dead and forgotten, but Hollinger brought up a good point.
    on the “one dumb play” where DC took the shot… could that have been West’s fault?

    Per Hollinger: It looked so odd because West ran the wrong play. Or rather, no play. …it was pretty clearly intended to be a weakside double screen for Paul George to get a clean look at a game-tying 3-point try. West was supposed to set a screen on the right block but went into brain lock and stood watching the ball from a perch in the corner. You could see George giving him a puzzled look as he came across the baseline looking for a nonexistent screen, and West holding his head walking up court as he realized his gaffe.

    I watched the video a few more times… exactly what it looks like. I can understand DC jacking a shot after you spend 8 seconds setting up a play for a guy only to find he’s 100% covered. He had Turk on him, who was never a great defender but has obviously lost a step or two, and made a nice quick move to get separation. DC is up at the top of the circle, Turk has both feet in the paint… watching the shot it’s clear the defense did not effect it. In fact, DC released the ball late. Maybe he was too open. In any case, his late release left the shot way short. It was an embarrassing play all around that should be forgotten ASAP.

  • http://www.qtek.com Screen Rolls

    this thread is already dead.brought up a nice thing