Post-Game Grades: Indy Plays So Bad Early vs Toronto that Even Historic Defense Doesn't Allow Them to Come Back

Right before the game, Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel said that his team hadn’t been able to put together a complete game so far this year. They had shown flashes in each, but it always fell off the rails at some point. “The first six games we had a stretch in each game where a certain unit just got waxed,” said Vogel.

Tonight, that stretch lasted about 30 minutes. Indiana started off the game like gangbusters, forcing turnovers and getting out on the break. Before long their easy-bucket-aided offense looked swell and they were up nine. Then, nothing remotely good seemed to happen for a half-hour of game time. The fourth quarter was better, in the sense that the offense looked to re-find itself as Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill reanimated a team that had looked like a waste of jersey detergent for much of the night.

Unfortunately, as the Indiana defense put the clamps on a gassed Toronto offense, the Pacers just couldn’t make shots. They were getting good ones, too, for the first time all game (although they also passed up a few good jumpers they should have taken). For the game, they shot 16-for-38 inside 8 feet, and an impressive 0-for-5 from 8 to 16 feet, according to

Here is their fourth quarter shooting chart. At first glance, it may look like more mid-range jumpers than you would want. But two from to the top of the key by Gerald Green and Hill were both fine looks in rhythm so they weren’t all ill-advised. Moreover, look at all the missed shots in the paint.

The important part to getting some good looks was the spacing: They were spreading the floor, getting both ball and player movement for the first time all night. They looked good after dozens and dozens of terrible, wasted, awful possessions.

And on the the other end, they were truly excellent, as the Raptors couldn’t even conceive of getting a good shot.

Just look at all those Xs. They shot 1-for-15 in the quarter. That is 6.7%. Six. Point. Seven.

And they won. UPDATE: Which was historic.

But the only times they did threaten to put points on the board, Indy would make a play. Hansbrough would slice into an attacker’s path and draw the charge. Paul George would cut off a driving lane. Hill would pester a ball handler into surrendering an advantage by reversing the ball. Yes, Toronto was running on fumes, but it really was excellent defense by Indiana.

On the other end, however, even though Indy was creating good, fluid offense by and large, they just couldn’t convert jack. Other than Hill. And he nearly won the game all by himself, hitting the Pacers’ final four field goals to turn a 9-point deficit into a game-winning shot attempt. Alas, it wasn’t enough. The road to defeat was too well paved with futility. It was a fourth quarter in which they had a franchise-best defensive fourth quarter, holding their opponent to a virtually-unheard-of five points over 12 minutes.

It wasn’t enough.


And as strange as that seems, it almost seems normal for this season so far. This ugly, disappointing, discouraging season. Fortunately, November basketball often proves to be mostly meaningless. This team seems to have some real, deep-seeded problems on the offensive end. But they also have another game tomorrow. So … get excited. Should be another fun way to spend a few hours.

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 | 3-12 FG | 5-8 FT | 6 REB | 11 PTS

Missed fine shots more than took bad ones. But not producing is not producing and he, like everyone else, ended a bunch of possessions with no points.

Paul George, SF 41 MIN | 3-14 FG | 9 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS

He is really lacking any feel for when and how to attack with the ball. And he seems to know it. So he’s pressing in other areas. And while he on-ball defense generally remains sterling, he appears to be over-trying to “get it back” with steals, which isn’t always helping.

Roy Hibbert, C 24 MIN | 3-9 FG |  9 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS

RT @JohnSchuhmann Roy Hibbert had 0 free throw attempts tonight. Now has 11 in 238 minutes this season.

George Hill, PG 37 MIN | 8-20 FG | 5 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS

If it wasn’t for him, the Pacers would have outscored Toronto just 6-to-5 instead of 14-to-5. While you have to give him demerits for the “offense” he ran in the first half, he was the one who put the team on his back late.

Lance Stephenson, SG 27 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS

Had some moments early then disappeared, scoring-wise. But he made several nice passes into the paint in the second half that got Indiana some good scoring chances.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 22 MIN | 0-2 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 5 PTS

Numbers scmumbers. He was easily the team’s MVP. Sure, there was the clear energy difference when he hit the court. And he kept so many balls alive on one end and drew charges on the other. But it was also, most alarmingly, the execution he helped bring that stood out. It was in part the spacing that he provided — coming out high to set picks, staying low when West was high, cutting to the right spots —

Gerald Green, SF 28 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 6 PTS

Just again didn’t resemble a good basketball player.

Ian Mahinmi, C 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 BLK | 3 PTS

Looked pretty OK.

D.J. Augustin, PG 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2 AST | 4 PTS

Makes a lot of questionable decisions, like giving Tyler the ball in transition in places he has no business trying to do something with the ball. Drew a nice charge though. Hit a three when they badly needed some offense.

Tags: Game Recap

  • NLP

    NoLook here, I had to shorten the name because like a fool I typed my Email in wrong when I signed in on this new format.

    Frank keeps getting more and more exposed as a coach, at least he stuck with the good defensive squad tonight. This team just flat out blows shooting and if they don’t get to the rim It takes a lot to score.

    4th Quarter shots
    4-of-8 for Hill
    1-of-4 for Green
    0-of-1 for Tyler
    0-of-5 for West
    0-of-6 for PG

    Toronto made one shot ans scored 5 points in the 4th and won the game, It was 59-45 with 7:29 to go in the 3rd and they scored 15 points in the final 19:29 on two buckets one being a Lucas 3 at the end of the 3rd and a Klezia hook with 9:26 to go.

    Why do we refuse to let Tyler take shots anymore in the flow of the offense, he had 2 tonight one was a jumper in the first half and the other was just a wild tip of a rebound that hit the backboard in the 4th giving him a shot on something he had no shot of making. No doubt I’m a Hans fan but one shot that isn’t even a shot in the whole 4th quarter is a factor why we lost, at least when he gets it he can draw some contact and when nobody but Hill is getting it done its worth a shot.

    • Kyle

      Because Tyler cannot shoot

      • NLP

        Nobody else on out team can either, at least he can get to the line. Its rather clear not even attempting to let him score isn’t working. Like it or not we are going to need him be a part of the offense, we have an older West and a foul and weak minded play prone Roy we need a big that can step in.

      • Bat

        I’m not Tyler fan Like NLP, but Tyler’s shot really improved this season. Other than midrange shot, He can easily draw foul on crunch time especially when shot are not falling like today

    • Tenacious D.

      This is a player personnel problem. Vogel isn’t responsible for the fact that the front office made no improvements to this team in the offseason and added seven players with little or no value. We got rid of all the good point guards–DC, Price (who looked great for the Wiz last Sat.), and Barbosa. How can he establish an inside-out game and open up the paint for Roy without any serious ball handler? If anything, Frank has made Bird’s bad decisions look good for too long. Now the truth is coming out. Hibbert could be as good as Smits was with a serious Reggie-calibre scorer on the floor. Until we get a serious baller on this team, we’re going to struggle. I was at the Wizards game, and we all know that if Wall had been healthy, we’d have lost that one by 15.

      • Jack Wright

        so ur not blaming Vogel at all…? if that’s the case, i don’t understand it at all. his team is playing like a bunch of scrubs at the playground

        • Tenacious D.

          Correct. At least half the team is actually scrubs, which is not making it easy for Hibbert, West, Hill, and George to perform up to par. Even these guys are just role players. We have no offensive anchor in the starting lineup. Granger is okay in that role, but still only somewhat above average. I challenge anyone to explain how this team should play well with not even a single player who was in the top 30 in scoring last year.

          Vogel is a decent coach, but he’s not a miracle worker. Heck, without Granger, we don’t even have a player in the top 50!

          • Jack Wright

            There is no reason Hibbert, West, Hill and George shouldn’t be able to play well enough to get us Ws. Even without Granger, we have an above average starting lineup which should be able to operate with at least a shred of consistency and efficiency. But nope. Vogel has lost complete control of this team. We’re losing games against weaker, less talented teams, because our offensive efficiency has gone out the window, and that can’t all fall on a few “scrubs” coming off the bench or on the fact that Granger’s out. You act like our starters are crappy/mediocre.. They’re not. We had one of the most efficient starting lineups in the league last season, which is attributed to the fact that we have a very solid player at every position, along with a beastly power foward – center combination. Now, we’re missing just one of those pieces (Granger), and the entire team collapses on itself. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and it shouldn’t be like this. We’re flat out under-performing and embarrassing ourselves. Tell me how Vogel is doing a good job, again?

            Also, how do you account for the rampant turnovers? Is Vogel free from responsibility there, too? I don’t think so.

          • Tenacious D.

            “You act like our starters are crappy/mediocre.. They’re not.”
            You are wrong. Our current starters are mediocre. They are role players. Granger was the only Pacer in the top 50 in scoring last year. That, by definition, means the rest of our starters were mediocre.

          • Joe Betz

            TD you are making some interesting points. I do think, though, that Vogel can be blamed for at least two of our closest losses–one, for bad rotations and not letting the starters get a breather, and the other for keeping Green in to defend the final play of the game…his excuse that Young hadn’t played in 20 min makes no sense–he is on the team for that exact situation, and Vogel blew it.

            Concerning starters, the Pacers starting five were top five in the league last year in efficiency–the bench killed them. Once Granger is back, the 1-3 points losses become 4 to 10 point wins.

          • Jack Wright

            bullsh**, he’s not making interesting points. he’s a moron. i understand that right now they’re playing like crap, but our starters are in no way mediocre. hibbert was an all-star last year and is one of the best centers in the league, despite his current bad streak of play. david west is also a former all-star, and he’s proven time and again that his size, his physicality, his short range jump shooting ability, his leadership, and his scoring ability in general are invaluable to the pacers. you really think that front court tandem is mediocre, TD?? you’re out of your freakin’ mind. Now let’s talk about George Hill. He’s already shown us this season that he’s one of the few players on the team that seems to have their head screwed on right. His ability to drive and score is excellent; he’s a very solid 3-pt and mid-range shooter; he’s shown that he can be a go-to guy in the clutch; and his defense is great. Finally, regarding Paul George, he’s the closest out of any of the starters to being mediocre, so I won’t even argue in his favor, because I’ve already made my point that every position in our starting lineup (excluding, perhaps, Paul George) is filled by a solid, above average (and in no way “mediocre”) player.

            Go ahead and keep making up your own definitions of what a mediocre starter is. Honestly, do you really believe that the Pacers problem is their starting lineup?????????? That’s the one and only glimmer of hope that this team has. I’ll say it again… VOGEL HAS LOST CONTROL OF THIS TEAM…… He’s got to go!!!

  • Adam Cox

    Would like to see Ben Hans get some minutes at backup PG. DJA looks lost, confused and a waste of air.

    • Petey’s Head

      couldn’t agree more

    • Joe Betz

      Disagree. Ben Hans is not the answer. DJA, once rotations are set and he starts shooting at his career average, will be fine. DJA= first round pick with starter experience Ben Hans=fun story for commentators to use in answering sibling questions–you did see his few minutes at the end of the Spurs game, right? Not awful, but not better than what DJA can bring

      • Adam Cox

        Ben is Hungry. maybe it will light a fire under DJA

  • Joe Betz

    I thought not having Granger on the floor meant the Pacers losing up to 10 games by 3 points or less–games they would have won with him. Now, I am nervous this might creep to 15. The Pacers have lost 4 games by 3 or fewer points so far to teams they have no business losing to.

  • NLP

    Toronto’s 5 point 4th was the lowest scoring 4th quarter in a win in the shot clock era.

  • Rex

    Bucks gonna destroy us tomorrow :(

  • Realist

    Remind me again why we weren’t looking at Pietrus?

    • kemosabe

      Cause they might need that money for a new coach?

  • Petey’s Head

    It’s getting ugly. A lot of this has to be on Vogel. While there aren’t any transcendent scorers on the team, they shouldn’t be THIS bad offensively. They opened the game great, but 5 minutes in, the completely slowed the game down running the same juvenile play about 4 times in a row. They can’t get Hibbert the ball in spots he can actually do something with. They eat up the shot clock before they get passed the three point line. If it were missing shots that’s one thing, but for every single player besides DWest to play scared and slow, that’s a coaches problem.

  • Will Deitte

    While I’m in no rush to jump all over Vogel (yet), he does need to make some adjustments. Even so, the adjustments he’s made so far have made sense. He’s tried to establish Roy in the blocks, but Roy looks timid and is missing bunnies all over the place. I’d love to see him just explode and slam one home. The offense is predicated on interior play. The interior play allows for kick-outs and threes, since we don’t have a superstar shot maker. Not blowing you all away with that statement.

    Agreed with another poster as well: I wish we could give Bhans a shot. But Vogel has to stick it out with DJ…at least til midseason. Once again, my thoughts on previous games apply. Offense just stagnates. Love Tyler’s energy and really love that his overall acumen seems to be improving.

    It’s hard to keep perspective, especially with the horrible O. But let’s hope they start rolling. With this solid D, which seems to be the only constant, even 4 more buckets per game would put us in a totally different perspective. Not hard to imagine.

  • Kyle

    This team is an embarrassment to this state. You can drive to any podunk town and find a kid who can hit a wide open jump shot. I was personally at this game and the atmosphere was terrible. There were louder cheers for the jumbo tv than any part of the game. DJ is not an NBA player. Green is not an NBA player. We went garage saling for bench players and we are getting what we paid for – NADA. I also think Collison’s 18 and 8 look a hell of a lot better than Mahinmi’s 4 and 4. There is nothing exciting about this team at all. Shooting 33% is just not acceptable for a team that honestly could have found there way into the NBA Finals a year ago. I know, yea yea yea, Granger is out…GET OVER IT…these players are all professionals and need to grow a pair and do what they are paid to do…win games. This roster is doing its best to make Granger look like a 1st ballot HOFer. Wouldn’t it be nice to give a talent filled rookie (Perry Jones III) some solid playing time and some offensive reins, but no we screwed that up to by drafting a guy who was not even the best Plumlee Duke had last season. The sad part is, this is probably the easiest stretch of schedule the Pacers will play all season long. I feel bad for ESPN giving us national games so we can get doubled up by the Heat by the third quarter. This team should go to a couple of Colts practices and learn a little bit about heart and pride, since I have seen about 6 minutes of either all season. Get ready Brian Shaw, your head coaching debut may be happening this season after all.

    • Jack Wright

      You’re exactly right. It’s absolutely embarrassing. So many things going wrong with this team, and it all starts with coaching. I’m not even sure I want Shaw as the replacement.. I say they should fire every damn one of them and bring in a whole new coaching staff.

      It’s just so frustrating trying to watch this team play right now, let alone trying to root them on. Paul George is proving himself to be massively overrated. Every time he puts his head down and drives inside, I almost have to look away.. Something bad is guaranteed to happen. His turnovers are ridiculous, too. Hibbert is playing like he took the summer completely off, missing bunnies, throwing the ball away, getting out-hustled. It makes me want to puke, and I was one of the people advocating that we give him the big contract deal a few months ago. Just makes me sick.

      And what’s the point of even mentioning Green, Augustin, or Mahinmi.. They all suck, period. We can all try to pretend like Mahinmi’s playing okay, but let’s get real.. He sucks — maybe not as much as Augustin — but he sucks. It’s almost comical that we have people in the front office making these terrible decisions which are ruining our current hopes of a championship run and ultimately turning off the team’s already slim fanbase; trading our best bench player and best bench defender for a guy who’s worse than a rookie-version of Roy Hibbert; drafting Miles freakin’ Plumlee instead of, I don’t know, Jones III or Draymond Green. Honestly, who the hell do they think they are? This is Indiana. I wish we had a team that would represent our state’s passion for the game of basketball. It’s honestly unfair to kids growing up across the state that their pro basketball team is being run by a bunch of idiots who make one bad decision after another, and by no means is Vogel excluded.

  • Kyle

    Also, saw Antonio Davis on ESPN the other day and I couldn’t help but think he could toughen Roy up at practice. I bet hes still got some muscle and swagger that could rub off on Roy.

  • Blasterfi9

    Juss wanna point out, but i swear the refs were letting tyler get away with some hard fouls, more than a few times it juss kinda got hard to watch when refs turned a blind eye and raptor player getting tossed to floor, looked pretty dangerous to me. He only finished with 3 fouls…. when probably should have fouled out considered how many times he juss laid someone flat on the floor…. still if they aint calling it u might as well do it

  • Ian Murphy

    The Pacers shot .320 for the game.
    Just let that sink in.

  • NLP

    The main thing we miss about Danny is his ability to get to the line. Tyler is tied for 11th in the NBA in FTA with 43 in his limited PT the next highest Pacer is West 17 behind Hans at 54th and he picked up 8 of his 26 tonight to jump that high.

    Last year Danny was 24th in the NBA and 17th in Makes, Tyler was 28th and 25th with more touches than he’s had this year and the next highest Pacer last year was Roy at 43rd, then PG at 75th with far less touches than this year. West was 81st and DC was 103rd but 89th in makes.

    Roy and PG can’t get to the line at all this year without Danny added fouls helping reach the bonus and its hurting us bad. PG is 119th and Roy is tied at 164th with his 11 attempts. Hill is 70th, Ian is 102, Green 122 and the back up PG is down at 226th and Lance is one attempt behind DJ’s low total.

    We are 22nd in the league with 20.9 FTA per game, we finished 3rd last year at 26.1 attempts per game. Last year we had a .8 lead over 4th place and .6 from 1st and .3 behind OKC and their stars.

    Tyler actually is taking 5.4 FT a game with a career low 4.6 shots per
    game and one game he shot 9 shots to boost those and has had 2 games where he didn’t even get to the line making it even embarrassing on the rest of the guys part.

  • Denny Smith

    I am wondering why Tyler is no longer allowed to post up in the low post and take it to the hole. Get it to him (which we never try to do, save for Stephenson) and let him get to the foul line. A point is a point but we seem to want to get all ours from field goals. The best field goal shooters seldom shoot more than 50% and so if Tyler gets blocked 50% of the time (that won’t happen) it is still no worse than a missed field goal that is not rebounded. True, Tyler cannot hit the side of a barn with his jumper but he can still get you points if you go to him. We have made him the 5th option which means we have simply quit using him period. He basically gets what little he gets off his own efforts. Meanwhile we continue to struggle and lose with no real end in sight. The man can score under the right set of circumstances which is in our means of providing if we just would.

  • dario benvenuti

    I think we are getting about what we should have expected. The plan
    may have been flawed, but the plan was hoping PG improved his game
    offensively, he is playing a new position and he is improved,but not
    someone to carry the team offensively every night, but a very very good
    player. we hoped west was improved and healthier, he is, we wanted to
    lean on hill to lead, he is, we wanted tyler to step up, he is, and we
    needed dja, green, and ian to be role players and they are, and I don’t
    know if they are giving us any less than we could have realistically
    expected. The two extremes are Stephenson, who is turning into a fine
    ballplayer, and Hibbert, who is going backwards not forwards. The wild
    card is danny’s injury which is putting pressure on everyone. Vogel is
    ok, but he only has so much to work with. It may seem strange to use two
    brothers for sparks off the bench, but I think Ben could help in that
    area also. maybe instead of a starter on the floor at all times we
    should keep a Hans on the floor at all times. I sure some of you are
    stroking out at this point!

    This is a team, that if
    healthy, was enough to maintain the progress made the last two years,
    Personally, I thought we had enough money, talent to trade, and
    different options in the draft to have a better off season talent wise
    that we did. I think someone to push Hibbert in practice and for game
    minutes is vital, a bruiser with a jump shot preferably,

    have figured us out, pressure the point, double team the post, collapse
    the d and rebound. Our all around ball handling ability is
    questionable. Defense in the NBA has improved, the game is much more
    exciting with new rules regarding flopping and the let em play attitude.
    If the pacers want to be smash mouth, this is the year to do it

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  • kemosabe

    I’m sorry, but that wasn’t historic D. The Raptors ran out of gas. Pacers couldn’t stop them in the first 3 quarters. Offense is just putrid.

  • kemosabe

    And I honestly think our players are just fine. This is all on Vogel. He’s nice and all, but he can’t get these guys ready. How do you let a team that just played a 3OT game & then hopped on a flight walk all over you. Raptors showed fire and energy. This Pacers squad looks lethargic.

  • Ian Murphy

    I think people are too quick to rip the new players.

    Mahinmi has been a very solid backup center in his career and is only 25. Green destroyed the D-league before playing well with NJ last year. As a points off the bench guy he should be more than adequete. For his career he’s shot .362 from 3-pt range (on 500 attempts) and is shooting .296 this year. DJA, well, he’s not a particularly good player, but he’s a career .371 3-pt shooter and that’s on 930 attempts, so its not like it’s a small sample size thing, he’s also been a very reliable distributor, the real knocks on him have been he’s undersized and can’t finish at the rim.

    I mean look at our regulars, they are all sucking too. I don’t know if it’s coaching, or time to call a team-only meeting, or what. It doesn’t make sense that just losing Danny would cause everyone on the team to be awful.

    Collison and Jones are not the answer. Darren has played well but we are still only talking 15 and 7 for averages, while Dahntey is shooting .267 for the Mavs and does anyone remember what a foul machine he became last year? He’s averaging a foul every 5 1/2 minutes for Dallas!

    I think the Pacers need to strip it down to basics. Find a few plays that work and just practice them again and again. The whole team is struggling with confidence right now and I think they need to reach a comfort zone on offense instead of everything being a total struggle.

  • dwaink

    had to turn this game off at half time(and i bet i am not the only one), i hear there is a Van Gundy out there looking for a job….folks if we can’t beat bone tired 1-6 Raptors it is time to rethink the whole season cause we won’t even make the playoffs like this.
    i did see some blocking out in this game, which gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling for about 30 seconds until our “offensive” play kicked in. whatever the hell they are calling this offense …it has to go, wth they forgot to practice jump shots this preseason?

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