Post-Game Grades: Pacers Lose in Very Pacer Fashion to the Nuggets

This game was a pretty typical 2012-13 Pacers game: A lot of bright spots and a lot of negatives. Both teams scored well some, struggled to get buckets for long stretches and the ending was exciting. And Indiana was unable to execute on offense late.

All of that makes it hard to take anything lasting away other than the things we have seen all year.

Paul George showed signs that he may now be able to be a good offensive player consistently, stringing together his third straight good scoring game. Roy Hibbert played superb defense but couldn’t make shots. David West dominated but ultimately wasn’t exactly Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant in his ability to totally win a game for his team. The bench was a joke, getting out-scored 55-12, as noted by Mike Wells. That is somewhat a product of Denver having its two highest scorers in their reserve unit but obviously also due to Indiana’s bench providing next to nothing. Sam Young scored 9 of those 12 points. How is an NBA team, in 2012, supposed to win a game when it only has 6 players who contribute anything?

It all sounds like the same stuff we have seen all year.

The offense was good in the first half and largely a waste of space after the break, scoring just 39 points in the second half. The defense, which has been the backbone of the team all season, was poor in the first half but solid in the second half statistically. Still, it didn’t exactly lock down Denver late.

Ultimately, it’s hard to ignore the obvious: Two teams played each other even for 44 minutes and then the Pacers proved unable to score, producing just 4 points over their final 8 possessions. Over the final 3:30, Paul George hit a three and Lance Stephenson got fouled on a nice drive to the hoop, making one of two. That was all the team was able to muster. As this was going on, Andre Miller had his way with Indiana, scoring 6 points on his own and setting up JaVale McGee for a bucket.

They had a chance to win at the end, and played well enough to give themselves a shot, literally, to extend the game to overtime. But then this happened.

The team had a good week and is coming off a nice four-wins-in-five games stretch, but this is a game they should have won. All the starters had postitive plus/minus numbers and none of the bench players did. They played a decent team to even and weren’t good enough to win in the end.

It’s all getting very repetitive really.

If there ever was a definition of a 10-10 team, this is it.

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 34 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +9

Played wonderfully, starting the game off shooting 8-for-8. He also had the amazing tip-ahead pass to Hill that sparked the (ultimately unproductive) fast break on the game’s final possession. But he did miss his final four shots and had two uncharacteristically soft plays on defense where he just let a guy make a layup right in front of him.

Paul George, SF 35 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-1 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 22 PTS | +12

Has 20-plus points in three straight games and stuck some big shots while filling up the whole stat sheet. Obviously, the three transition plays he led where he had, at least, a 1-on-1 matchup and got zero points were hard to watch, but he was really good tonight.

Roy Hibbert, C 30 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +7

I’m running out of things to say about his inability to make shots. But he again protected the rim and anchored a defense that, while not excellent, did step up to allow the Nuggets an offensive rating of just 89 points per 100 possessions in the 2nd half.

George Hill, PG 38 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 15 PTS | +9

Some bad shots, including at least one unnecessary heat check. And trying to draw a foul on that final play rather than just trying hit the shot was regrettable. He admitted after the game that he didn’t originally know they were down 3 until he started pushing the ball. But that block was huge and he hit some big threes early.

Lance Stephenson, SG 32 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +13

Missed a clutch FT, but it did come after a really good transition push that he created. Found Paul open for an important three, drove to the hoop for a late bucket, got a steal in the closing minutes and played pretty good defense on the Nuggets final possession.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -12

Didn’t make a shot, got one board, let JaVale erase his entire family history on a block and never got to the line. Also committed 3 fouls. Thanks for suiting up.

Sam Young, SF 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -17

Made shots obviously and … did the other stuff he does, I guess.

Gerald Green, SF 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -14

Ian Mahinmi, C 18 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -10

His worst game in some time on offense. Did well on the glass.

D.J. Augustin, PG 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 PTS | -12

I have nothing particularly nice or nothing bad to say.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Rex

    Really would of loved for the Pacers to win this game before the game in OKC on Sunday but after the OKC game, I feel the Pacers can go on a huge winning streak

    • NLP

      4 sets of back-to-backs over 10 games none in the same city and 3 of 4 on the road keep me from seeing a winning streak. We ride our starters too hard to expect them to hold up.

      • Jack Wright

        hell we don’t “ride our starters.” we play our bench as much (or more) than any other team

        • NLP

          By Minutes per game 20 teams used their bench players more than we have coming into tonight’s game with two more teams right on our heels. All of that is with Lance getting just 27:48 a night as a starter and Roy’s foul issues costing him time in games getting less PT than he did last year.

  • Will Deitte

    Mediocrity: a common theme.

  • NLP

    Just whenever you think Roy is about to turn the corner offensively he heads right back into a shooting funk, at least he’s padding his rebound stats getting so many of his own bricks. He’s now is only 5 offensive rebounds off his defensive rebound total and that number is helped by the massive amount of blocks he’s picked up this year.

    George Hill seems to be hitting the wall and he’s also jacking way too many 3 balls, he’s a full 2 attempts over his previous career high and is shooting his worst percentage from deep. West started our 8-for-8 with a little help from Roy getting a offensive basket interference then hit the wall himself going 0-for-4 to end the game.

    In the second half Roy and PG went 8-for-10 most all from PG going 7-of-8 but everyone else was just 7-for-28 25% and as a team they shot just 5-of-10 from the line in the second half.

    That one game mirage for the bench was fun while it lasted! Tonight 4 of 5 guys off the bench with 2 or less points, the lone guy with more than 2 didn’t shoot great with his makes coming off shots you wish he wouldn’t and finished a game high -17!

    In the second half our Bench was 1-of-9 with Sam making 1-of-4, Ian 0-for-3 and Tyler and Green missing one each for a grand total of 4 points with Sam hitting a 3 for the lone make while splitting a pair of FT.

    We lost in bench points 55-12 overall and one of Denver’s players didn’t even score. Their starters shot 14-for-47 30% and that was with Koufos going 5-of-8 but thier bench went off for 24-for-39 61.5% and that is with the 0-for-3 from Jordan Hamilton. Its really too bad George Karl does use a egg timer rotation, with his teams anyone can step and bet you while we have 3 guys who can do it and at most 4 because no one else would even be given a shot to keep it up if they got hot.

    D.J. Augustin could be the worst all around player I’ve ever seen play for the Pacers if not the entire league. Its no shock when he started it was on one of the worst teams in NBA history. 20 games deep and DJ may have had one good game, maybe. I wish Frank would give Ben a 2 or 3 game tryout and see what he can do, I just can’t see how he could be much worse even if he crapped the bed.

    Our bench is limited as is and having a terrible PG running it is only making the others look even more bad. Seems like every squad in the league has a guy on the bench who can make others look good but us.

    Frank fell for the sure fire way to expose our bench and yet again it worked great against us. Against the NBA’s leader in points in the paint Frank had Tyler on Gallinari and he goes out and hangs around the 3 point line leaving the paint open for McGee to kill Roy then Ian for a ton quick. So not only does that expose the defense and help the other team crash the glass it also gives Gallinari a break since we never look to post up Tyler every at all and make him work on defense, end result Tyler gets one board off a missed FT that was defected to him and Gallinari has a bad night but they eat us alive in the pain with our second unit.

    Speaking of Hansbrough he bounced back with a 10-5 in the first half vs Portland then gets iced out with 1 shot and no FT over the next 6 quarters in 18:34 of play and that shot was in the 6th quarter of that run on a play that had zero percent of working and the shot was blocked away 30 feet by McGee. If one of the league bigger black holes can’t get up shots or get to the line you know the offense is broke with the second unit.

    We are going nowhere fast if Ian and Young are our top to bench players taking the bulk of our shots. Its a group of 5 that always see the lone starters take the shots or take turns playing one on one ball unless one of the starters make a good pass. These guys just can’t pass. Green has 11 assists to 20 TO and if you thought that was bad Tyler has 4 assists to 17 TO and if that wasn’t bad enough Ian has 3 assists with 27 TO!

    • Jack Wright

      holy shit those are some crazy stats (assists to TOs from our bench players). i agree with everything u said, except i blame for george hill for nothing, and i hope he continues to stay aggressive and continues to shoot. but yeah, very very very very very very very disappointing night

  • NLP

    You must not be watching the same David West defense I watch because he’s always giving up easy buckets, its one of the main reasons he’s never ever in foul trouble.

    • Jack Wright

      i saw some of that too. and i saw paul george doing the same thing

  • disqus_yrs9jdkGgK

    You’ve got nothing bad to say about Augustin? The guy is flat out atrocious and cost them that last game.

    • Joe Betz

      Going 1 for 5 from three in the final minutes cost them the game. Someone who plays 10 minutes cannot lose the game. I will give you that he didn’t do anything that would win them the game, though…

      • Ian Murphy

        I didn’t see the game, but just looking at the stats, the big decider was turnovers. The Pacers had 18 and the Nuggets had 8 and the Nuggest scored 23 points off those turnovers.. Augustin had 3 turnovers in 10 minutes. I think its very likely he cost them the game.

        • Joe Betz

          Nah…turnovers overall are the easiest to point to, but several missed shots, most from deep, late in the game sealed it. George made an insane corner three–Hill missed an open one from the top…that was the door-closer. Augustin had three turnovers but he also had two assists. One of his turnovers was a missed opportunity for an oop…

  • Philip Tarrant

    How does your bench play what amounts to over a quarter of basketball and score 12 points…..

  • Joe Betz

    It’s official. The only way the Pacers move deep into the playoffs is if Lance Stephenson can become an above average sixth man once Granger is healthy. If that happens, and signs point to it being a real possibility (he has athleticism, a high motor, the ability to create, and the ability to hit open shots), the bench will have two consistent players–one in the front court (Mahinmi) and one in the back court…that might be enough…

  • Stretch Four

    The good news is that the starting unit seems to getting back on track. Yeah, Hibbert is still missing everything on the offensive end, but I honestly think he might be the best defensive big in the league so far this season. Or maybe I’m just biased, but he’s at least in the top 3 right?

    This is probably an overreaction, but if the bench continues to struggle I’d like to see not just a little bit of Ben Hansbrough, but also a little bit of Orlando Johnson, Jeff Pendergraph, and Miles Plumlee. We’re getting 3rd string quality play out of DJ, Gerald, and Young. Hansbrough is 50/50 on his games where he’s 2nd string quality and 3rd string quality. I’d just be curious to see if any of these guys could catch fire considering how bad our bench is currently. Especially since Plumlee and Johnson were 4-year players in college. Isn’t that the point of drafting these guys: so they can help out immediately despite their low ceiling?

  • Zach Winningham

    It was brutal that Lance missed that free throw at the end, if he had made both then George Hill ties the game with a breakaway layup/dunk or possibly even an And-1, instead of awkwardly not knowing what to do. Andre “Unexcitement” Miller would have probably just beat us at the buzzer anyway I guess.

    • Jack Wright

      yeah i really wanted him to hit both. when did we suddenly start sucking at free throws? we’re normally good

  • Aaron Huston

    Should start a pool to see who wins on guessing when Roy actually shoots 50%+

    • NLP

      The fact that he has yet to do it in a season before this year and he’s currently at 38% puts my guess at the first week of 2013-2014 season. Even if he shot 55% over his next 400 shots he would only get up to 49% on the year.

  • Realist

    Josh McRoberts for OJ Mayo. *shakin’ my head*