Post-Game Grades: Pacers Win Game, Series

After jumping out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, up 28-13, the Pacers once again gave fans a reason to fret. By half-time, they were once again in a dogfight and things started looking even more perilous when Magic point guard Jameer Nelson went unconscious in the third quarter. Fortunately, Pacers back-up point guard Darren Collison was just as amazing, putting up 15 fourth-quarter points to help his team pull away and blow out Orlando in the closing minutes. It was a fun and hard-fought — if frustrating — series that the Pacers are thrilled to now have in their rear-view mirror. This is the first series the franchise has won since 2005.

They will try to make it a second in a few days when they, most likely, face Miami in the second round.

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
Started off the game as a monster they disappeared until the end. But he was really there all the time even if the stat sheet didn’t show much. The defense paid a lot of attention to him and that was a big part of the reason Big Baby looked like he was ready to pass out by the 4th quarter. The other part of the reason is fairly obvious.
Danny Granger
Another on and off night for him from the field, but it was a sequence where he hit 2 treys then drove-and-kicked to Hill for another that got the offense back on track in the 2nd quarter. He had 12 pts in the 4th and hit a trey that kick-started the 11-2 run that broke the game open.
Roy Hibbert
Protected the paint really well, as evidenced by Indy’s 46-to-22 edge in points in the paint. Made several crafty hook shots although you obviously want him scoring more. That wasn’t really what his job was this series, however, as the Pacers prioritized guarding the 3-pt line and relied heavily on the big fell to fortify the interior.
George Hill
Stellar 3rd quarter, during which he dropped 9 points in a 5-minute stretch when nobody else was doing much of anything.
Paul George
Started off shaky agains but made some nice passes — one especially great one to Granger at the rim as he was falling out of bounds — and finally got some shots to drop. Still, there was a reason Vogel told him “fresh start” as he rubbed his head post-game. Need more out of him.

Leandro Barbosa
Lil’ spark plug that could. 7 pts, 6 boards, 3 asts and only 1 missed shot will do just fine.
Louis Amundson
Also only missed on shot on his way to 6 pts in 6 mins. Will likely need to be on the court more, mucking it up against Miami next round.
Tyler Hansbrough
Nothing too noteworthy but some energy despite the lack of production.
Darren Collison
What can you say about this kid? Not even close to enough room here. Put the team that recently demoted him for being injured on his back and carried it into the second round. Just an absolutely tremendous performance. Best of his Pacer career and it’s not really close.

  • Sam

    So happy to just be done with this series. Hopefully Paul George can elevate his level of play against Miami because we’re going to need every bit of the confident Paul George in this upcoming series

  • NoLookPass

    Getting away from PG and Tyler is going to cost us against the Heat big time. Both players opportunities slid this this and both ended up well below their season average in FG and FT attempts. Their big 3 is going to more than cancel out our better players so we need our secondary players to step it up and right now a couple of our key players are being left out of the fun and I highly doubt DC is going to shoot over 64% like he did in the 4 wins or keep up his 23 to 1 assist to TO ratio.

  • dwain

    i am thrilled that they won, but in the playoffs it’s over already, time to gear up for Miami.
    thank goodness for DC pulling this teams fat outa the fire in the 4th, or they would be headed back to game 6. these collapses by the starters will kill us in the next round and it is starting to look like some of it is a conditioning issue, our starters are more gassed than the other teams starters and they start trying to coast and let big leads get away. can’t even do that once against Miami, not even once…..

    the DC/Barbosa combo really worked in the 4th though, they seriously injected some spark in to the team, might be food for thought in the next round. instead of going all second team and having a real letdown, try adding Barbosa and DC like they did in the 4th, sprinkle Tyler and Lou in with the other starters too, give a few starters a rest keep the rest in, then switch who is resting.
    i still don’t think coach V is making good use of the timeouts to rest his team enough, use every last one of them, get the starters on the bench more rest time with time outs and the current court players also
    somehow we have to get some crashing into the paint going on against Miami, P George seems a little out of control when he goes for it, but someone has to drive to mess up the defense collapsing into the paint and then dishing to the open big to hit a quick shot. Roy needs to do a better job of seeing the double team coming and passing to an open team mate too, there were lotsa open guys in the paint behind his back tonight

    it will take a monumental effort to beat the Heat, this team can do it(i have no doubt) but they are going to have to run the Heat to death, hit every shot, run solid scoring offense and play with heart skill and abandon every min of every game…they made second gear tonight they will need a third and fourth gear to beat the heat

  • Cook

    Tim, how come you aren’t putting the guys’ stat lines in your post-game grades anymore? that was always nice to see. West & Hibbert are the keys to pending Miami series. Big games from them will help offset LBJ & Wade. You know Granger will get his points and hopefully Paul George builds on tonight’s game. The Hill/Collison combo is better than their PG’s and our bench is obviously superior to their’s… The Heat aren’t invincible

  • NoLookPass

    We will need smash-mouth back to beat the Heat, this isn’t going to translate….

    16.1/26.1 in Regular Season
    18.2/20.8 in Series
    +2.1/-5.3 vs Regular Season

    We only shot 13 3′s in game one so in the 4 wins we took 19.5 a game, JOB would be impressed.

  • MCR

    Welcome back, Darren Collison! Well-deserved A+ from Professor Wade tonight. I was getting worried when Jameer Nelson started going all 2009 playoffs on us in the third, but I guess Frank just forgot to tell everyone it was the third quarter until it was already the fourth quarter. I’m fine with that, leaving no doubt in the fourth is just as good. I think we’ll win at least once against the Heat for sure, more than that will take some good play out of everyone.

  • NoLookPass

    Tyler went from 8.8 FGA last year to 7.3 in 5 less seconds per game this season to 4.8 in the playoffs with just 3.7 over the final 4 games. As result of the limited touches his FTA fell from 4.2 in RS to 1.4 in the playoffs. He has taken 6.4 a game in 8 career games vs Miami and has one game where he played just next to no time and took zero FT so over those other 7 games its 7.3 FT per game and a PER36 of 11.0 over those 7.

    The point of the story is Frank may want to use him a tad bit better than he did vs Magic and take advantage his ability to draw fouls as a way to disrupt the Heats big 3 and reach the bonus quicker for more easy points for the other players. The -5.3 drop in team FTA will come back to haunt us if it carries over to Miami because they will get the superstar calls on offense as shown by their +5 increase from the stripe in the playoffs.

  • Zach Winningham

    We were flying to Florida either way. Just glad to be flying an extra hour past Orlando am landing in Miami! Proud to have stuck with this team post-Reggie and seen the team finally get back to competing. We will not beat Miami, no one expects that we will. But we will win two games and we will go into next season with confidence. We have a great team! Go Pacers!

  • dwain

    i don’t have any money….but if i did i would take all the sucker bets i could get…Pacers in 7…beat the heat

  • other mike


  • Andrew


  • adam

    any other pacer fans living in miami?

  • Mike

    NLP – So your solution to beating the Heat in a seven game series is running more plays for Hands-bro?


  • Zach Winningham

    I also miss the stat lines! Here’s a good one though…DC 23 assists and ONE turnover for the series.

  • Derek U

    NLP… you’re taking a season’s worth of stats, and putting it against a series versus one team in the playoffs.. You play every team a little differently. The heat will be on the line against the knicks cause definsively they have to foul to keep them out of the paint (plus the all star calls). You can’t take a seasons worth of stats and pile it against a single series…. it has no validity.

  • SHC

    @ Adam – I am in Miami. Definitely will be scooping up tickets and watching these games. Let me know who else is down.

  • NoLookPass

    No I’m not saying we run more plays for Tyler than normal, I’m saying play the style that got us here. We completely got away from a guy who scored over 9 points a game and drew fouls at a amazing rate and as a result he shot tons of FT and helped others by getting us in the bonus. His lack of normal touches and causing havoc on defenders is a major part we saw over a 20% drop in our FT production in the first round.

    For us to win or even have a shot in this series we need to get to the line as much as we can and with those fouls we can possibly get their Big 3 in foul trouble. Its the NBA playoffs where stars players get every call on offense, against NYK the Heat’s big 3 alone are shooting over 2 more FT per game than our whole team did in the first round. We don’t have the named players to counteract the star calls so we need to bang with them. Its much like what happened in the Bulls series last year when they took 28.8 FT a game on us after just 24.5 in the regular season. The only game of that series we won the FT battle we won the game.

  • adam

    @SHC glad I wont be the only one. Would be cool if we can get a group together at the game, or at a bar for a mini rally.

    Jared or Tim. interested in setting this up?