Post-Game Grades: Way Too Much Wade for the Pacers to Handle

At halftime, it was hard to tell how to feel about the game. The Pacers had weathered the storm, leading 53-51, despite 12 turnovers, Mike Miller hitting three three-points, and Dwyane Wade being, well…Dwyane Wade.  However, they’d shot almost 59% and still couldn’t maintain separation.

Not sanguine, as it turns out.

It was a late third quarter fizzle – leading to a 10-point Miami margin heading into the fourth – that doomed the Pacers. Larry Bird’s players didn’t roll over this time, and they fought it back to 5 at one point and 6 at another. But, much to their chagrin, Wade and LeBron James always had an answer. The pair scored 19 of Miami’s 24 in the quarter, and combined for 69 points on the night.

Over the last three games, James and Wade averaged 33 points each. LeBron also averaged 11 rebounds and 8 assists, while Wade contributed 7 rebounds and almost 4 assists. The cold, hard truth is that LeBron and Wade – by themselves – are probably the third or best team in the league.

And they were the better team tonight. Congratulations to the Heat, who move on to face the winner of Philly-Boston series for the Eastern Conference crown. Congratulations to the Pacers, who had a great season end too soon, and now get to figure out how to take the next step.

More on this game in the hours and days to come. For now, 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 41 MIN | 10-16 FG | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 TO | 24 PTS
Unreal early in the game, and a warrior throughout, West left it all on the floor for his adopted franchise tonight.
Danny Granger, 38 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS
Scored 9 first quarter points and gave 38 minutes, but once the adrenaline wore off, he was clearly hobbled. I watched him closely in the first quarter, and he clearly would have to gather himself to make plays. After a while, the tank ran dry.
Roy Hibbert, C 40 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 TO | 12 PTS
Prototypical Roy – enough flashes to make the casual observer think he should get a lot more touches, but not enough tools to actually get them. No question, the Pacers can scheme and pass better, but Hibbert also needs to get better at holding position, at catching the ball and being strong with it, and most importantly, he has to become something better than catastrophic as the screener in the high PnR.
George Hill, SG 35 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS
When Hill missed first one, then two of his three free throws after drawing contact on a three-point attempt, I tweeted, “feels harbinger-ish.” 18 points and 5 assists is a nice line, but he really isn’t a point guard. He loses track of what the offense is supposed to be doing too much.
Paul George, 43 MIN | 4-10 FG | 10 REB | 2 AST | 3 TO | 11 PTS
No way around it, Paul George spent most of the series and most of this game as a disaster offensively, and we could spend days discussing his travails running the fast break. But, he’s young, and he’s a good kid. Bizarrely, if you want encouragement, watch him guarding Wade from tonight’s game. It will make you feel better about Paul, and also make you appreciate just how ungodly unstoppable Wade was.

Dahntay Jones, SG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 PTS
Only one rotation as the starting unit played 31 minutes together.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1 REB | 3 TO | 0 PTS
Almost certainly the Blur’s final game as a Pacer. They needed him to give them some points, but he had only turnovers. He was a great add for the price, and he really helped this team down the stretch and in the first round. But he just didn’t help against Miami.
Louis Amundson, C 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS
Perhaps his last game as a Pacer, though I would imagine TPTB are interested in bringing him back for the right price.
Tyler Hansbrough, 9 MIN | 0-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS
For a couple minutes, it was Buckaroo Banzai – terror on the offensive glass, bundle of energy. But then, it was gone. He missed all four of his shots, and really produced nothing after the first quarter. Some very hard questions ahead for Tyler.
Darren Collison, 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 AST | 5 PTS
After playing so well – and being so important – in the Orlando series, there just wasn’t a role for DC against Miami. To small to guard Wade, with no opposing point guard to pressure, his defense wandered, and so did his game. It bears re-watching to see how much of his struggles were cause by the rest of the bench being so bad, and how much of the bench’s struggles were on him.

Tags: 2012 Playoffs Pacers Vs. Heat

  • Ian

    I think what we learned from the playoffs was a final dismissal of themyth that Hollinger has been trying to dispel all year: that the Pacers bench was a strength.

    Really, only Collison (or Hill) are above average players off the bench. Tyler regressed pretty badly this year, though he might be worth giving another shot. The rest of the guys are not solid rotation players. If the Pacers can add a true scoring wing and a true backup center for next season, I think the natural improvement of most of the rest of the roster will have them as a contender next year.

  • Aaron

    Two stretches of the game cost the Pacers. In less than half a quarters worth of time, the Pacers bench gave up 25 points, while scoring 6.

    With 1:29 to go in the first period Vogel had all 5 bench players in and the Pacers were up 7.
    48 seconds into the second, Paul George comes back in, Pacers up 3.
    60 seconds later, David West enters, Pacers tied.
    1:20 seconds later, Hibbert enters, Pacers down 4.
    Summary: 11 point swing in 4:33.

    With 1:15 to go in the third, West, George, and 3 bench players in the game, Pacers down 2.
    Granger enters to start the fourth, Pacers down 10.
    Summary: 8 point swing in 1:15.

    That was 5:48 seconds using the Pacers bench and the score was Heat 25, Pacers 6. Poor rotation of a suspect bench. Couldn’t score, couldn’t play defense, shouldn’t be a complete unit on the floor.

  • little B

    This postseason proved that being 10 deep is only good if the other teams plays 10. Vogel tried to up the starters minutes more to adjust to Miami’s destroying of our bench. Danny 33 minutes regular season average to 40 minute average against Miami until he got hurt. 7 more minutes a game plus guarding the best player in the league. Not a good strategy. Its the right strategy but the Pacer starters need to be prepared to play more minutes before the playoffs start, you can’t expect them to play as good if you up their minutes by over 20 percent. They did what the could this series but just were out matched.
    What the Pacers need to make them the same level as the Heat or Bulls next year is the development of Paul George, he took seven 3pointers last night. The Pacers could have been in the bonus at the 8 minute mark last night, but kept jacking up jumpers. That could have slowed the game down and gave them free points, instead they got soft, lazy, nervous because they were afraid they couldnt come back without hitting 3′s . PG broke Wade’s ankles on a play and Wade fell to the ground, and instead of driving he tried to pass the ball to West and turned it over. I think Paul George is a good player, but the Pacers need him to be a great player to get to the next level. Most likely he will be the next Danny Granger.
    George Hill is hard to be mad at. Lock out season, just moved to starting point more than half way through season, he needs more time I believe before they decide to go a different route.
    But his development is the second key for the future if the Pacers sign him back.
    Lastly the Pacers need to get a scorer that is willing to come of the bench to run with Collison, someone who is an actual threat even if he is playing with the starters. Barbosa was the right answer…5 years ago.
    Great Season Pacers, look forward to next year.

  • dwain

    Dear Coach V:
    Firstly thanks for the wonderful season! Pacer nation is pissed that we lost out when we should have beaten Miami, but we are proud of this team and this season!
    If it were up to me…..i would start training the Pacers players tonight(for next year) they need:

    Conditioning- never wanna see another Pacer player gassed in the second quarter again, it is just pitiful for a pro player not to be in tip top shape, this single thing beat the Pacers in most of the games they lost and surely lost them this series. It is now wonder we couldn’t offer weak side help or double team Wade and LBJ…

    Passing- my god man get a single coach that knows about passing, spacing(have u watched the film of Pacer fast breaks?) positioning yourself to give your team mate and open lane and catching and holding a ball. If you don’t run 50 million, dunk, pick and roll, cross floor passing drills, next years result will be about the same…here’s a thought…get a real PG in there to show this team what real passing looks like…have Nash run 200,000 dunk passes to Lou then watch what happens in a game.

    Setting Screens, Blocking Out, Looking for the open man- sometimes this team has looked like it has never seen a basketball or a coach for that matter. Have any of them ever been taught basketball?(seriously i jest but there is a point here) When the shot clock goes to 8 this team is utterly clueless, they just stand there watching it happen…don’t they realize that the guy with the ball is depending on them to give him a place to pass the ball, or a screen to get him an open shot, or a block out on a defender charging in for a rebound? I mean this ain’t exactly rocket science, but it sure has looked that way at times this year…run them through so many damn drills they dream about setting screens and block out before they realize their body has moved on its own to do it.

    Plays- how many plays are in the playbook? I have mostly just seen the one, dribble around aimlessly waiting for the shot clock to hit 8 and then throw up a hopeless brick…oh wait there is that one other play….run down before anyone could possibly be in position to rebound and jack up a foolish 3 giving the other team a long rebound and a fast break…never mind lets just stick with those two plays huh?

    Rebounding- rebounding rebounding rebounding rebounding really? rebounding

    i sound angry, but i’m not. u guys had a fantastic year and i am grateful for it, i promise not to start bitching about these points until…oh about 5 more days into the off season :) GO PACERS!!!!

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