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.

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