Post-Game Grades: Pacers Ball Gawk Their Way to a Loss in Minnesota

The Pacers are on the edge. The edge of what, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know if they’re on the verge of figuring it out, or falling off a cliff.

At some point in time, you have to assume they’re going to get something more productive from players like Paul George, Roy Hibbert, or Gerald Green. The early losses this season – including tonight – have included a significant amount of self-inflicted harm. If they can just survive the growing pains, they’ll come out the other side all right.


The Pacers have been staying competitive through a combination of decent defense, weak opponents, George Hill’s aggressiveness, and David West’s mile-wide mean streak. Losers of three straight and four of six, the strain is beginning to build.

The demands being placed on Paul George and Roy Hibbert are not only hurting the team, short-term, but could threaten those two players long-term. The bench has no answers, and with no Danny Granger for three months, a tipping point is coming fast.

The truth is probably somewhere in between and far from both, but that’s boring, so let’s ignore it.

In any case, the Pacers lost in Minnesota on Friday night. The proximate cause was Gerald Green losing track of Chase Budinger to allow Minny’s game winner. The root cause was allowing 17 third quarter free throw attempts and 12-of-19 fourth quarter shooting.

Indiana’s 2-4, and they’re coming home to face the Wizards. That’s about the most positive thing I can come up with at the moment.

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 37 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +8

Gave up a couple key buckets to Pekovic, but generally has continued his beastly ways. Like Hill, he has ratcheted up his game in Granger’s absence.

Sam Young, SF 11 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

Didn’t do any serious damage. Hard to believe the Pacers aren’t looking for a better option in Howard or Pietrus.

 Paul George, SF35 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -2

He’s just not ready for what the Pacers are asking him to do right now.

Roy Hibbert, C 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | 0


George Hill, PG 35 MIN | 11-17 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 29 PTS | +4

Should probably get dinged for being one of three weakside Pacers caught ball-gawking on the losing play, but that would probably drop him from an A++ to his current grade. Are you kidding me with that game-tying three?

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 PTS | -7

Was part of the unit that let the Pacers climb back into it in the fourth, had a couple of impressive disruptions on defense.

Gerald Green, SF 30 MIN | 2-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +1

Despite his shooting, Gerald did some good things tonight. All of which were erased by his ball-gawking on Minny’s game-winner. Completely lost track of Buddinger. Unforgivable.

Ian Mahinmi, C 10 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -8

Incredibly sloppy with the ball, generally not having any positive impact.

D.J. Augustin, PG 13 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -3

I don’t know how to say it, other than Augustin simply looks broken. He’s tentative, and he looks like he expects to miss every shot he takes. Have to believe Vogel is starting to wonder how much longer to stick with him.

Lance Stephenson, SG 20 MIN | 4-5 FG | 3 AST | 9 PTS | +4

Another solid game from Lance, beginning to round out offensively. Still a bit sketchy defensively and feels on the ragged edge a lot, but he’s establishing himself as a contributing rotation player.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Rex

    How are DJ Augustin and Gerald Green even in the NBA?

  • Tenacious D.

    How does Hill go off for 29 and we lose? Mahinmi is making me long to have Lou back. Something’s wrong. I’ll be at the Wiz game and see for myself.

  • 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. Terrible. He’s stagnant and barely drew iron on his shot. No confidence.

    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. Active on the boards.

    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 West.

    Lance has been a gem. He still looks erratic at times, but has been good. Once again, you can tell he’s trying too hard. He needs to suppress that.

    I personally feel that this team is missing a huge component, besides
    Granger. The bench is not good. Other than when the starters are in, 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.”

    Let’s stay patient. It’s early…even though there are some glaring missteps. See the ball see your man. Basketball 101.

  • NoLookPass

    We might as well say screw it and roll with Hill, Lance, Tyler, West and whoever else has a set because those are the only guys you can see playing hard every game. Thank good we had great health last year it extended Frank’s honeymoon time, because his x’s an o’s are getting exposed badly when they talent can’t overcome the coaching.

    In 6 games this we have shot more 3′s than FT 4 times and tied once, the game we shot more FT than 3′s and the one we shot the same amount were the two wins. 14 times all last year we shot more 3′s than FT we went 8-6 and that’s when we had solid 3 point shooters taking the shots rather than scrubs and 8-10 the year plus while we are 36-18 when shooting at least the same amount of better.

    West and Hill are doing their thing great while PG and Roy who they want to make into superstars are massive letdowns. I don’t care how many highlight reel dunks he gets or that he can look down in the rim in practice Green is a terrible basetball player.

    Franks or Shaw’s usage is the bench is just atrocious. We need more Tyler with the ball looking to score, more DJ passing and no more wild 3 balls and less Green shooting or even on the floor if all possible. Lance playing undercontrol taking good shots and his passes to Tyler for Dunks the last few games has been out best bench offense and the only bench positives this year.

    2012 Bench Shots:
    55 Green
    42 Lance
    33 Tyler
    29 DJ, 21 from downtown!
    17 Ian

    If all these dudes are going to shoot bad which they will, I want the rock in Tyler’s hands at least he will get us to the line and has improved his down low play and now just can’t jumpers, but he eventually will make some soon. Sure he will get blocked some but half the time he does it ends up an offensive rebound with a good chance to score on a broken scramble.

    The dude has a special ability to draw fouls like crazy and these last few games we aren’t even getting into the bonus so we need to try a few games back with him playing as Psycho T to see what happens as it can’t be any worse than watching Green and DJ brick and those fouls end up helping the whole team by getting everyone the stripe and creating foul trouble.

    These last 2 games he’s taken zero FT and shot just 9 times in 35:42 for a black hole of offense that’s not many shots and back-to-back games with no FTa should ever happen especially when he’s been shooting nice around the rim and going to the left hand this year.

    Green literally was the only Pacer in the screen vs 5 Timberwolves on the screen and 3 in front of him when he bricked a jumper on one play, another he shot a running fade away 14 footer he bricked so bad Roy caught it and layed it in for one of the few times Roy looked good tonight.

    If we lose tonight to the Wizards we need a drastic change in game plan as we are giving away wins and are about to see better teams and West Coast trip coming up soon. So much more play like this we are going to be fighting to get over .500 for a long while.

  • evawheel

    Green was a block of ice on that last play. Every game I watch I regret that 3 year contract more and more…

    Why did we not get O.J. Mayo when we had the chance? Although I’m going to be a pessimist and assume his game would be stifled under Vogel as well.

    I heard Mike Brown is available again…

    • Jack Wright

      hell, i’m down with mike brown. why the hell not

  • Joe Betz

    Ouch. At some point, after, say, the third three that clanks, Vogel has to tell DJ to put it on the floor and get a higher percentage shot / create an opportunity to get someone else an open shot. I have more confidence in TH’s mid range game than DJ’s three-point game, and that is saying something…

    In other news, Hill and West will reliably keep the Pacers in games this season without Granger.

  • Kyle

    Not sure what to say. Bad loss after bad loss. Looks like the only correct decision we made this summer was retention of George Hill. Nothing else is working. Meanwhile, Collison is a beast for the Mavs (I knew that was a terrible trade when we made it) and we can’t even play our first round pick for experience sake since I’m pretty sure hes even surprised he was drafted. DJ has got to be 1-78 this season from the field and looks like a scared 6th grader thats playing with the 8th graders. Hibbert is not worth the paper his contract is printed on. This team just has a glaring lack of talent. Honestly the only players that should be retained long term are Hill and PG (West is a 10 year vet and will go running for the hills after this 8th seed season is over). Sad fall back to reality. On the bright side, no one has shot up a strip club yet.

  • Rex

    I’m gonna put a positive spin on this George HIll and David West have been playing great imagine if Danny Granger comes back in 3 months and can put up 18ish points a game we will be even better than last year!

  • Original Mike from last year

    Couple things… I don’t know what’s wrong, but hard to blame the coach when we have a 7’2 max contract center averaging 9 and 6. Unacceptable. And we have not filled the void of Danny being gone. West and Hill have bumped up their averages a bit but we’re still missing at least 10 points of DG’s scoring. Our D has been average to good but never for a whole game. If we can hold teams under 95 points, we should be in every game. We aren’t going to score 100 on a nightly basis. Not the way this team plays. At least not right now.

    NLP – I thought you would have lost your Tyler boner after a whole season of non-production. Now your solution to our offensive problems are to get the ball in T’s hands more. I can agree that he finds a way to get to the line, but I’m willing to bet that most of the time those are fouls in which he is getting a rebound or fighting for a loose ball. NOT when he’s backing someone down or trying to beat them off the dribble. I do agree with you in getting Green less shots. And DJ, wow. What a waste. Some one needs to dunk him in an ice bath and wake him up. I realize he isn’t CP3, but the way he is playing he doesn’t even belong on an NBA roster. I think Lance is playing within himself and has made a couple F you shots that he probably shouldn’t have taken. All in all, I’ll take his 9-5 over a couple missed assignments on D. As long as he isn’t guarding their best wing shooter, we’re good.

    I agree, we have to look at Howard or Pietrus. Either would be an upgrade to Young/Green at this point.

    Anyone see that rebound Green skied for in the 3rd or 4th quarter? Wow.

    • NoLookPass

      When your two other options are DJ and Green shooting bricks that have zero extra benefit then Tyler is a far better option when he gets the team to the line and into the bonus.

      If he can get 4 FT a game the last two nights we pick up 2 wins. He got 4 in Toronto in a 1 point win and made 7 in our one point loss in Charlotte and those gave us a shot to win at buzzer.

      Give it a shot for a while with Danny out and see if using his left hand will help make it work. If it does great we are winning again and if it doesn’t lets find a new way to fix it but its clear watching these bad shooter jack long jumpers is killing the bench.