Post-Game Grades: Fourth-Quarter Collapse to Atlanta Mars Good Indiana Showing


People will justifiably clown that fourth-quarter meltdown in which the Pacers scored just 9 points in the period, coughed up a double-digit lead and went five minutes without hitting a shot. And any basketball players that do such a thing barely have the right to be called professionals on this day.

But ya know what?

This loss in Atlanta was the most encouraging sign yet that the Pacers aren’t totally cooked without Danny Granger for the next few months. Because, really, in order to collapse, you do actually have to be in total control for the game. And Indiana was. For a few hot seconds, anyway.

In the third quarter it even got to the point where you stop even glancing at the score because one team, Indiana, was controlling the game so much. From the other perspective, you could write the same thing about the Hawks: they had one terrible stretch but started and closed the game really well, which is what matters. Well, Indiana won the middle of the game. Sure, winners and winners and loser are losers and monster trucks and COME AT ME BRO and extreme sports and No Fear t-shirts and all that. But it aint even mid-November and nothing truly matters yet, so let’s not harp on details. Whether you’re 2-3 or 3-2 isn’t preordaining your season.

The key takeaway, to me, is less about the discouraging but hopefully not deeply significant collapse. It was watching the Pacers, for the first time this season, string together two excellent offensive quarters. In the second period, they shot 11-for-21 (52.4%), had 7 assists on those 11 buckets and scored 25 points despite only hitting one three and no free throws. You would like them to get to the line, but they got everyone involved and just generally looked cohesive. Eight players scored in quarter and nobody made more than 2 FGs. Nice distribution. Meanwhile, Lance Stephenson played all 12 minutes and just looked flat-out good. He looked like flat-out trash during the fourth-quarter collapse, but we’ll just pretend, for now, that that part of the game film got lost in the mail.

The third quarter was just as good and magnified by the fact that the Hawks couldn’t score. Indiana shot 10-for-24 but netted 5 FTs and hit 2 threes (albeit on 8 attempts) while grabbing 4 ORBs and only turning it over 2 times. The numbers don’t jump off the page to scorch your eyes but they were playing with a confidence and energy that I haven’t seen yet this year.

Sure, you want to win. And if you lose, you definitely, undeniably don’t want to lose like that. Hopefully, the embarrassment motivates instead of hurts their confidence. The most likely scenario, however, seems to be that this is game that they lament, but also the one that they, for the first time since the Miami series, remember that they can actually play stellar basketball.

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 36 MIN | 9-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS
The team’s best offensive player so far this year and it isn’t close. I don’t know whether it’s an extra year removed from ACL surgery, being more comfortable letting everyone know this is his team or just his making up for Danny’s void. But he is ultra aggressive when he’s on the court and it’s Indiana’s biggest asset right now.
Sam Young, SF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS
What woud ya say ya do here? Probably have to blame Vogel for this though. I think the Young-as-starter experiment has run its course. No harm in trying, but let’s move on.
Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 7 REB | 3 TO | 13 PTS
Any expectations of efficiency looks like it should be reserved for a month from now (though he did just miss some open shots) and still at times looks like a guy whose training wheels just came off a few days too early. But his defense was excellent at times and he is still getting boards.
Roy Hibbert, C 37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 7 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS
I mean …
George Hill, 38 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 20 PTS
Shot very well and made some good plays. Best game of the season.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTSDidn’t play much and looked like he got hit by lightning on one play for no apparent reason, but that’s just Tyler, I suppose. Got an assist.
Gerald Green, SF 18 MIN | 2-8 FG | 5 REB | 5 PTS
Nothing too bad. Nothing memorably worthwhile.
Ian Mahinmi, C 8 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS
West played a ton in the second half so he didn’t really see the court much. Was fine while out there and made one nice play on the baseline.
D.J. Augustin, PG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS
Team struggled when he played.
Lance Stephenson, SG 28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 5 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS
Was playing a stellar game, including stuff that didn’t make the stat sheet (head’s up steal, good close out, ball rotation, composure/patience catching the ball coming off pin-downs), which is something he was incapable of last year. But really did throw up all over himself late with bad shots and careless play.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Rex

    Roy Hibbert looks like the worst player on this team and that is crazy with a team that has Gerald Green, Sam Young, Lance Stephenson, Ian Mahimi and DJ Augustin

    • http://www.facebook.com/joebetzii Joe Betz

      Hibbert is missing a ton of baskets close. I watched the game with Hawks broadcaster Dominique Wilkins…he said at least four times, “He has to finish strong down low…those little floaters are tough.” He will get it.

  • NoLookPass

    We honestly should be 0-5 and Frank is a bad coach, I said it a few times here last year but I think most people couldn’t see it since we had such great luck with health last year and a elite starting 5 to cover up his mistakes. When we got a chink in our armour and things come down to x’s and o’s Frank is getting exposed on top of his bad egg timer rotations.

    Do we even have an offense? I asked this last year but gave them the benefit of the doubt due to lockout but this year it may be worse and had plenty of time to work on it. Seriously We have a team full of bad jump shooters outside of West and we shot tons of jumpers, it makes no sense.

    Second game in the first 5 without Danny we broke our high in 3PA from last year, which should never happen without DG33. We also made just 1 of the final 11 attempts according to the Hawks broadcast. We shot just 9 FT and 2 of those came on Technical’s and 4 of the other 7 came off offensive rebounds seeing guys out of position or steal leading to a fast break and foul by Smith on Lance trying the track-down smack-down on his layup attempt.

    Smash mouth is a thing of the past, we didn’t establish Roy we totally screw over Mahinmi and Hasbrough by taking Tyler out to the 3 point line to guard Anthony Tolliver who isn’t much of a threat offensive then Ian has to protect the rim alone while picking up the bad defense of the other 3 guys out there. You can almost guarantee when the bench gets ran its always when Frank keeps Tyler on a streach 4 and that gets the middle opened up.

    West gets 12 quick points then we forget about him the rest of the half, he gets 6 quick in the 3rd them we forget about him again getting just 3 shots off in the 4th.

    This was who shot and made in the 4th…
    Hill 1-of-2, 2 points
    Tyler 1-of-2, 2 points
    Lance, 1-of-3, 3 points
    Green, 1-of-4, 2 points
    Roy, 0-for-2
    West, 0-for-3
    PG, 0-for-3

    4-for-19, 1-for-6 from 3 and ZERO FTA! We had 2 assists and 4 TO in the 4th.

    Paul George is the most frustrating player we have. He is ultra passive with the first unit then when he gets into the game with the 2nd group he turns into a ball hog who could use to pass more rather than take the hard shots.

    Sam Young plays hard but isn’t very good at much of anything. Lance and Green need to shoot less or at least take good shots more often, Tyler needs to get the ball in the post to draw fouls he drew one tonight and it was off the ball and was a big part of getting just 7 non-T FTA, if he goes 15:01 with zero FTA something went severaly wrong.

    Augustin needs to show up and realize the reason he’s here is to pass and make people better and if he does that he will get a shot for more burn here or at least open a door for him elsewhere. Mahinmi is Mahinmi and Frank isn’t helping out as i talked about earlier and after last game.

    George Hill has been good, West is good when we give him the ball and let him work and Tyler has been soild but needs to make his jumpers, and Mahinmi is what he is but other than those dudes everyone has flat out been bad.

    The play that described the Pacers best tonight and one all over YT already was when Lou Williams dunked with around 3 gone in the 4th. He splits DJ and Green’s half hearted defense and Paul and West say eff it and don’t even try to pick him up with West not moving an PG actually backing away from the drive and then Tyler attempts to come stop him off Tolliver and gets dunked on. Not what I would call Blue collar, gold swagger and all on Frank for accepting lazy play.

    I would rather get ran out of the Gym with Tyler, Ben, Miles. Young and Hill trying hard rather than use the guys with more talent and see them play lazy and timid and lose close in the 4th.

    • http://twitter.com/StretchFourNBA Stretch Four

      As an aside about Vogel, I think it’s worth mentioning that Brian Shaw’s presence could make it much easier for the Pacers to make an in-season change at coach. Brian Shaw will be a head coach eventually, and is arguably more qualified than Vogel.

      • NoLookPass

        I think Shaw is a major part of the problem, the longer he’s been here to rub off on Frank the more and more we’ve gotten away from what Frank done when he took over for JOB.

        There’s a reason why he hasn’t gotten a head coaching job yet and we may be finding it out now. All that stuff he learned under Jackson may not translate when not running the triangle offense.

    • Jack Wright

      All good points NoLook. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more frustrated with the Pacers. We finally have a team talented enough to win ball games night in and night out, yet we play like crap instead. Except for the Spurs game, we should’ve won our other games so far by double digits. It takes two OTs to beat the Kings at home?? Only five games in, and I’m already getting sick of this.

      Like everyone else, I more or less assumed that Vogel was at least a decent coach because of our semi-successful last season. Now, I’m 95% sure he’s a pitiful coach. And I’m usually the last person who turns to blaming the coach when things are going bad for a team. But in this case, I just don’t see any way around it: Vogel sucks.

      Here’s a list of things I’m already sick and tired of seeing:

      PG throw the ball away.
      Hansbrough brick open jumpers.
      Augustine shoot 3s.
      Green shoot 3s.
      Green touch the ball.
      Roy miss what should be bunnies for him.
      Vogel on the sideline.

      The turnovers are inexcusable. The screw ups are inexcusable. The lack of ball movement is inexcusable. The embarrassing play of every bench player is inexcusable. The rampant 3-pt shooting is inexcusable. And today’s 4th quarter meltdown is absolutely inexcusable. Tighten things up quickly, Vogel, or get the hell out of town.

      • NoLookPass

        Right now I can’t stand we gave Green 3 years based off playing a glorified pick up game with the Nets. If he didn’t break off highlight dunks I doubt he would even be in the league.

        For as down as I am on the coaching I’m even more down on the front office. We paid Roy and Hill a mint, drafted two guys who we don’t play and added Green who i just covered, DJ who needs to pass like we got him too and Mahinmi who Frank has already lost faith in all due to his own abuse of him by leaving him on a island alone while Tyler is out on the Arc covering basically a decoy.

        Virtually every player we have is miscast in his role or not used to his fullest potential. We are the anti Dallas, Bulls and Spurs we take good players and make them worse rather than getting the most out of them like those teams coaches do.

        We could swap rosters with those teams and they would go win games without their star and we would take their supporting cast and ruin them.

  • Adam Cox

    How long before we ask if Hibbert should have spent more time in the gym instead of choreographing a flash mob? #justsayin #ganghamRoy

    Enjoyed the first 40 minutes of this game. Really thought we were gonna pull it off.

    • Rex

      Roy Hibbert is about to be in for a rude awakening the next home game if he plays like he has he will be getting Booed even by Area 55 members.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lazyace Derek Unverzagt

        Not likely, considering a chunk of them go to the games for free paid for by the bigman, they’re diehards, but mmkay.

      • Martel

        Yeah that wont happen.. I was a member of area 55 last year. If you say anything bad about Roy around them its a sin. I thought Roy sucked a lot last year and he is even worse this year

  • Tap Rudra

    Lance…. without some of his plays in the fourth quarter (rushed shots, three’s), we could have slowed down the game and gotten a few more quality shots, killed the Hawks’ momentum, and come away with a win.

    But this article did help remind me that this was probably the best sign of the season so far (West KILLING it at certain points, fast breaks all over the place, Hill playing very efficiently), and nothing to worry too much about.

  • Kyle

    I knew Roy was a stretch but I thought the intangibles he brought would be worth it (i.e. hustle, emotion, community, etc). So far he isn’t worth the paper his contract is written on. Sad to say since I’m a huge Roy fan, but this contract could set this franchise back just like the JO and Tinsley deals did. This is just proof that NBA contracts could be totally based off of production so this never happens. WAKE UP ROY AND EARN YOUR MONEY!!!!

    • Martel

      I agree %100 with you. I beleive it will set this team back. Roy is not that good nor will he ever be that good.

  • NoLookPass

    From Scott Agness…
    Vogel: “We had the lineup on the floor that gave us the best chance to
    win & we got some good looks, but we ran out of gas down the
    stretch”

    Well that may have not happened Frank if you took out the real 4 starters with a big lead late in the 3rd when the Hawks did rather than play them all 12, You gave them and Lance 3:10 seconds of rest in the second half while the Hawks players rested around 9 MIN at the end of the 3rd and start of the 4th.

    • kemosabe

      I agree. I seriously said “uh, oh, this won’t be good” when I saw that the starters were going to play the entire 3rd. Just a dumb move on Vogel’s part. You can’t sit guys for long stretches like that. Legs won’t be the same when you come back out, which impacts your shots too.

  • Rex

    At least the Lakers have a worse record than us!!!

  • Tenacious D.

    It’s the kind of game I’d expect from a team that just lost the closest thing it has to a scorer and is trying to integrate 7 new players. Let’s not his the panic button just because we had inflated expectations. However, we are going to struggle if we don’t find someone who can distribute the ball and organize a decent inside-out game. Why we let DC go is absolutely beyond me.

  • Petey’s Head

    The only reason the Pacers were in the game in the first place was the Hawks inability to hit wide open shots, I wouldn’t say the Pacers controlled the game by any means. I think the challenge is on the coaching staff, particularly on offense. While G Hill may not be a natural shot creator for others, there’s no way an NBA team with the talent and athleticism at all positions like Pacers should struggle so, so much for good shots. Across the board (besides d west obviously) everybody is shooting 40% or worse and the few open shots are being rushed (paul george), shot clock is being dribbled into oblivion. How about a change in pace while Danny is out to speed up the game and get these guys comfortable playing fast? Generate some easy buckets. They don’t have to play at breakneck speed, but vogel has to do something to get green, george and hill in some fast break and secondary break situations. Also, as bad as hibbert has been, and he’s not been very good, he’s not going to produce if he’s catching the ball too far from the block with 5 seconds on the shot clock. Would like to see him not get beat to rebounds by zaza. Grow up and get a defensive rebound in traffic, he was solely responsible for multiple extended Hawk possessions that would have murdered us in 1st half and 3rd quarter had it not been for the hawks missing open jumpers.

    DJ Augustin is playing at an unbelievably bad level. I trusted Bird, based on his previous moves, that this was the right decision. DJ is TERRIBLE. He’s clueless on pick and rolls, physically limited in his ability to get by ANYBODY. He’s always been a mediocre shooter. Got torched by the immortal Devin Harris. He dribbles between his legs 37 times while the shot clock falls under ten before anything even happens. My goodness, I was praying for B Hans to get some minutes at the back up pg spot last night. No wonder the Bobcats were so bad.

    • Jack Wright

      augustin might be the worst point guard in the nba

  • kemosabe

    This game was encouraging for 3 quarters and discouraging for the 4th. Definite positives and negatives.

    -PG needs to get into the paint and draw fouls. 1 FT attempt isn’t doing it.

    -Why do point guards struggle in Pacerland. Isn’t Vogel just running a JOB type offense, which just doesn’t work? How is it that Darren Collison looked good in NO, beyond bad in Indiana and now he looks stellar in Dallas? DJ wasn’t abysmal on a terrible Bobcats team, and he comes to Indiana and looks like he shouldn’t even be on an NBA team. Something isn’t right and I think it starts with the coach.
    -Vogel, just not sure this guy is ready to be a head coach. Great player guy & good motivator. Terrible at Xs and Os. Can Shaw and Vogel switch positions?
    -Lance looked really good with the starters. Yes, he made mistakes in the 4th, but I think that’ll go away with consistent playing time. It’s not like PG is mistake free, PG had more TOs than Lance. Lance’s mistakes were just at the worst possible time. He’s not the sole blame for the 4th quarter collapse though.
    -I don’t know how we can’t get Hibbert the ball. But when we do, he’s so hesitant. He seems unsure of what to do. Coach needs to tell him when he gets the ball to make a move within the first 2 seconds. He made Pachulia look like All-Defense. He should have dominated that guy!
    -West = Beast.
    -Tyler has played better than last season, but he’s still awful (shooting 35% and he’s not a good defender or rebounder) Rather see Ian or Plumlee get his minutes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joebetzii Joe Betz

    The team looked great at times, so I have to agree there. I am becoming more and more concerned about Vogel’s decisions and play calling, though. For example, why start Young when Green has the athletic ability to match up with Smith? Once the in-game switch of George to Smith was made, Young was worthless–a defender without a meaningful assignment and no shot to worry a defense. He would not be playing if Granger was healthy…so only start him when the match up makes sense…

  • Adam Cox

    on a positive note. We could easily be 4-1 right now with a few less turnovers….

    After (most of) last nights game, i’m not ready to hit the panic button yet. David west seems determined to keep us afloat until Granger gets back.

    Hill seems to be getting better (remember, he had no pre-season).

    Lance is looking really good, minus the sloppy turnovers.
    Paul George looked better last night, but would like to see more aggressiveness.

    If Roy can get out of pre-season mode I think we will be ok.

  • Petey’s Head

    I would like to see Hill more aggressive with his shot, especially in secondary transition situations. The Pacers either run a traditional fast break, or slow it down to a snails pace and let the defense settle in. A quick ball screen in the shot clock might lead to easier buckets. Hill is the smartest player on the team, probably the most accurate 3 point shooter as well, when open. He is also the best at breaking down the defense and finishing in the mid-range. Paul George could assume more of a distributor role. He’s hesitant and frankly not at the skill level to continuously break down defenders for his own shot. But he is cerebral and sees the entire court, not pressuring him to score might allow him to feel more comfortable on the court. Right now he is pressing and his 14 ppg are hard-earned points. He could score the same amount, way more efficiently in a more uptempo offense that doesn’t give him the ball on the wing and force him to go one-on-one.

    • Jack Wright

      yeah good points. i think part of the problem is that all these people and the media keep trying to hail him as our best player and the face of the pacers or whatever. it’s just not true. he needs to relax and just play basketball

  • Anon

    But don’t forget with when vogel started to become head coach, pacers went to playoffs so hes 2/2 going to the playoffs. Hes was the youngest coach before so he will make mistakes too but they just gotta be fixed.

  • Martel

    Roy Hibbert is awful

  • Martel

    He is playing very soft…Pacers gave him all that money hoping for growth. #Failed

  • Martel

    With our current lineup, we have to start the game going to HIll and West and FInish the game going to Hill and West. The game vs Atlanta not one post play for West in the last 5 mins of the game, but three for Roy Hibbert which is a waste of time.

  • dwaink

    while there were some really nice runs in this game for the Pacers, this loss left a bad taste in my mouth. Lance was great and then terrible, got to pull him when he starts throwing the ball away like that. The one play that really stuck out in my mind was a defensive rebound where the Hawk player came from the 3 point line and jumped over Lance to keep them in the offense this kinda crap has got to stop, if players can’t even block out the other teams rebounders wtf are they doing on the court?

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  • Jack Wright

    i promise you, hibbert isn’t to blame, and you shouldn’t worry about him. he’s just had a rocky start. we have problems elsewhere that actually do need addressing, though

  • http://twitter.com/WillDeitte Will Deitte

    This team has some serious flaws. I truly believe the loss of Collison hurt the Pacers. Not only was he (or Hill) a solid, (fairly) reliable backup, but Hill pushed Collison, and vice versa. While it’s early:

    DJ has been complete crap.

    Gerald Green has flashes of being a solid player, but you can tell he’s trying way too hard.

    Sadly, Sam Young has nothing much to offer. He’s a hustler, but if he shoots one more corner three…

    Paul George is trying to take over the team, and he’s simply not ready. He’s shooting the ball well, though.

    David West is our bruiser, the guy who needs to continue to take the initiative. However, when he goes up against an athletic big who is taller, he’s been shut down.

    George Hill has been solid, especially since he had no “preseason.”

    One quick thought, what is with all the passes after jumping in the air. Anyone who played basketball, even as a kid, was told NEVER to make that jump pass. I’ve seen so many guys jump and pass, only to throw it out of bounds or to the other team.

    On a team that is not going to score a ton of points, quality possessions are paramount. And defense…of course. Our D and rebounding is, and will be, solid. However the lapses they have are at the worst time. When building up a lead, batten down the hatches and D even more. That’s where coaching comes in. The coach needs to preach at this time and probably call a time out to stress this importance.

    Speaking of coaching, the offense is completely STAGNANT. You could see the exception when they moved the ball very well with specific lineups. When DJ, Thans, Mahinmi are on the floor together with Sam Young…it’s a debacle. The defense can sag off Young and Hans, since the will NOT hit a shot. Thans is best suited when playing with Hibbert. We saw it in the second year they played together, they both thrived. Hans would muscle and hustle, and Hibbert would kill it around the bucket. Same with Hibbert and West (who has been great).
    Lance has been a gem. He still looks erratic, but has been good. Once again, you can tell he’s trying too hard.
    I personally feel that this team is missing a huge component, besides Granger. The bench is not good. They flourish when Thans flourises and is aggressive (defensively and keeping boards alive). I feel like he is just completely out of control at times and has significantly lost any semblance of touch he had. His jumpers look ridiculous. While he never shot a high percentage, he was never “bad.”
    I think some time playing together should help. Frank really needs to find a way to get a solid lineup.

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