Post-Game Grades: Pacers Waste Oxygen, Everybody's Time in San Antonio

The Pacers probably knew they had to play better than they did in their first three games to beat the Spurs in San Antonio. That didn’t prevent them from coming out and playing even worse, however.

The first half was miserable, as nobody could hit a shot. Hard to blame them though really. Because they were almost all really bad shots. The whole offense was disjointed and jerky, with guys taking turns trying to make bad isolation plays more often than being part of a system that worked to get players open in positions where they could thrive. Here is all you really need to know if you were fortunate enough to spend your Monday night doing something other than watching this “game”: Indiana shot 6-for-22 in the first quarter (27.3%) and were barely better at the half (13-for-43 or 30.2%).

Meanwhile, the Spurs, who had the most effective offense in the NBA last season and returned all of their principal rotation staples, put on a clinic, whipping the ball around the half court and never settling for anything but a good look. It certainly helps that Tony Parker can get into the lane whenever he wants, and he and Tim Duncan exploited this, often moving the Wake Forest legend out to the top of the key to make room for Parker to either attack the lane or get the ball to Duncan in space, where he was free to swing the ball and force the defense to react or take it inside himself. Later, Manu got in on the action, blowing by a defender here, carving up the defense in a two-man game there, and shot-faking Pacers out of their socks everywhere. Then there were the supporting shooters. Always, in San Antonio, are the supporting shooters. They shared the load of knocking down 8-of-18 three-point attempts, with Danny Green, Indy’s ol’ friend Stephen Jackson and Matt Bonner each sticking two a piece.

This was basically a tiger playing with its food.

Looking at this shot chart from just before half time should tell you everything else you need to know about which team was getting whatever shot it wanted, whenever it wanted, and which team was just wandering around like Walking Dead geeks, reacting to the slightest stimuli and following its basest, mindless instincts until they were overcome by foes bright enough to severe their brain stems with rudimentary tools.

In case you weren’t sure, the Spurs side (right) is the one with almost every shot coming at the rim or behind the three-point line. These are the two most effective spots on the floor to shoot. Meanwhile, see all those Xs on the top side of the Pacers chart inside the arc? In this case, X marks the spot where bad offenses generate a ton of shots that tend not to go through the hoop.

 

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 – 25 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 10 PTS
Not horrible, which might make him tonight’s MVP. Hoooray, beer.
Sam Young – 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 PTS
Less responsible than all the other starters for what happened. Mainly because he is the new guy but also because they are ostensibly NBA starting-quality players while he really just isn’t.
Paul George - 41 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 TO | 14 PTS
Played some good defense. Missed the vast majority of his shots and was unable to create many good ones.
Roy Hibbert - 27 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 TO | 2 PTS
Really?
George Hill - 31 MIN | 5-15 FG (2-7 3PT) | 4 REB | 6 AST | 15 PTS
Stat line looks not horrible for a hot second, but he was not good and it shows if you keep looking. And fair or not, this is his offense. And this offense shot 13-for-43 (30.3%) in the first half

Miles Plumlee - 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1 REB | 2 PTS
Welcome to the NBA, buddy.
Tyler Hansbrough – 23 MIN | 1-7 FG | 7-9 FT | 6 REB | 9 PTS
Was better than the 1-for-7 shooting would suggest, which I know isn’t saying much, but sparked some activity and got some points at times when the Pacers looked like they might have a fighting shot of getting back into the game. (They never did, but A — er, C+ — for effort.)
Gerald Green - 26 MIN | 4-10 FG | 8 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS
People were expecting stuff from Green this year.
Ian Mahinmi – 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 PTS
Not too shabby. None of it was at all meaningful given the state of the game, but he wasn’t so bad.
Ben Hansbrough – 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS
Welcome to the NBA, buddy.
D.J. Augustin - 13 MIN | 2-6 FG (2-5 3PT) | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTSHad some real decision-making lapses. Made a few shots.
Orlando Johnson - 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Welcome to the NBA, buddy.
Lance Stephenson – 9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS
Didn’t see as much court time as you would expect, but I guess the game was pretty pointless pretty quickly.

Tags: Game Recap

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