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.

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