Post-Game Grades: The Pacers Best Loss of the Year is still a Loss. Thunder 104 Pacers 93

This season wasn’t supposed to be about moral victories – if you believe in such things. Therefore, the fact that the Pacers went toe-to-toe with arguably the best team in the NBA on their home floor offers little succor to either the Pacers or their fans.

The 11-point margin in the 104-93 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder is a little bit misleading. The Pacers definitely made it interesting, getting up off the canvas twice to fight back into the game.

But, in the end, they were done in by their fatal flaw – they simply can’t score reliably.

The first half was one of their best offensive performances of the season, scoring 56 points on a Thunder D that entered the game ranked 10th in defensive efficiency. However, the Pacer offense we all know and loathe showed up for the third quarter, scoring 19 points on an offensive efficiency of 82 points per 100.

Indy opened the 4th with a 6-0 run, and were within three with about 5-1/2 minutes left, when an 8-0 put the game out of reach – at least of this offense.

In the final 3 minutes of their losses to Denver on Friday and Oklahoma City tonight, the Pacer offense has missed 9 of their 10 field goal attempts and scored only 6 total points. That’s a pace to score 48 points over a 48 minute game.

So, while this was an entertaining game, it comes to the same result. The Pacers’ best loss of the year is still a loss, and their offense remains punchless – especially when it’s needed the most.

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 38 MIN | 10-16 FG | 1-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | -3

Was a general beast for most of the game, but managed only two 4th quarter points and (worse) only two 4th quarter shots. OKC had success removing him from the offense by fronting him when he was trying to come up to set the screen at the elbow – much like Miami with Battier last May.

Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 5-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | 0

Poor shooting night, but still produced 17 points & 8 boards, Gave an admirable defensive performance, but Kevin Durant is just that good.

Roy Hibbert, C 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -1

This is Roy Hibbert’s offensive game right now: Couldn’t convert on the block against the 6’5″ Thabo Sefolosha. Utterly annihilated at the rim by the 6’3″ Russell Westbrook. Still plays defense, but he’s barely a net positive right now.

George Hill, PG 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | 0

Scored some points. Didn’t shoot well. Unsurprisingly, unable to guard Kevin Durant in the post.

Lance Stephenson, SG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +4

Another solid performance from Lance tonight.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -8

Pointless…and I don’t mean scoring-wise.

Sam Young, SF 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -11

Not good.

Gerald Green, SF <span class="thn-reaction-player-line">23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -15

Really, this is more or less what you want from Gerald…perhaps with a little more explosiveness.

Ian Mahinmi, C 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -10

Played well until the fourth quarter, when he oddly got 5 shots (making only 1). Mostly, that’s the sign of a good team (OKC) forcing shots to the guy they want taking them, but strange that he played 8 4th-quarter minutes to Roy-with-only-two-fouls 4.

D.J. Augustin, PG 9 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -11

Had perhaps his best two plays of the season on his scoring drives. Wasn’t a disaster. Big step up, but not something I’m counting on.

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