Post-Game Grades: But, Seriously, Pacers Rally to Beat Hornets

I wanted to try really hard to bail on this game, but the truth of the matter is that there was nothing else to do, and I was too lazy to try really hard. Despite my first version of these grades, I ended up watching the whole game, which really came down to the Pacers showing up and being absolutely dominant for one quarter, then making plays down the stretch.

There were two key junctures of Indiana’s 81-75 victory. First was the third quarter, where the Pacers outscored New Orleans 24-7, while holding the Hornets to 35 points per 100. It allowed the Blue-and-Gold to completely erase a 17-point halftime deficit, despite missing five of their eight free throw attempts.

The second came over the final 3:40, where Indiana finished the game on a 16-5 run. Lance Stephenson chipped in 4 points – including a crucial put back of a Paul George miss and a layup set up beautifully by George Hill. Hill himself has become the kind of player that is capable of making big contributions, even when he was struggling. The mark of a valuable player.

And then, of course, was David West. West scored eight of the Pacers’ final 16 points, including a classic mid-range fadeaway to give Indy a 79-75 lead with under 15 seconds left. By the time, West and the Pacers were done, they were four games over .500, only percentage points behind Chicago for the Central Division lead.

While that’s an articulate statement on the Pacers’ progress in December, so are the last two games. In both, there became a point where it was obvious that the Pacers were just the better team. New Orleans did a better job of hanging around, but once the game was tied again, it was Indy’s game to win or lose.

And that is nice progress, indeed.

So, now…give me a hard time for the first grades.

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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 | 11-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 25 PTS | +14

Anthony Davis is going to be an excellent basketball player, but for now, he just could not handle West. Twenty second half points, including 8 in the Pacers’ 16-5 run to close out the game.

Paul George, SF 38 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-5 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | +7

Struggled with first, foul trouble in the second half, then clearly tired legs late, but was only Pacer who showed up before half time.

Roy Hibbert, C 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +5

Got 5 blocks, but pretty badly outplayed by his opposite – Robin Lopez. Still, more good than bad.

George Hill, PG 39 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | +8

First time in something like 8 games where he was held to less than 15 points, but delivered late with key buckets and a couple key assists.

Lance Stephenson, SG 34 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +14

He’s established himself as a solid 5th starter. Made a huge put back play late, and Vogel trusted him in the 2-4 PnR that led to West’s game-sealing bucket.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -8

No shoving matches tonight, so hard to notice him.

Sam Young, SF 21 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

He played, reportedly.

Ian Mahinmi, C 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +1

Made a couple of defensive mistakes, sequentially, in the first half, but made up for it in the second with back-to-back blocks.

D.J. Augustin, PG 7 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 PTS | +2

The backup point guard situation for the Pacers is dire.

Ben Hansbrough, PG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6

Really, really dire.

Topics: Post-Game Grades

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  • dwaink

    what a third quarter….that was some stellar defense…and some lousy play on the NO teams part. wonder what the mordern era low is for team points in a quarter? If u asked Bobby Knight he would say “we missed some shots and they made some”…not a perfect game…anyways really glad they woke up and won this one as it would have been a terrible loss. Ben Hansbrough really took a shot on that moving screen last game, bet he messed up his rotator cuff bad, was surprised to see him in at all. i saw DJ on the bench at one point in the game and his head wasn’t even in the arena, gotta wonder wtf is going on with him?

    • NLP

      I was shocked Ben was back playing so soon after them calling it a shoulder sprain. I think the only thing worse than losing your job due to injury is losing it playing hurt and it hurting your standing in the eyes of decision makers with poor play at less than 100%. But we need a better option than he or DJ honestly.

      • Philip Tarrant

        Yeah, Ben looked fairly bad out there last night. You gotta assume he came back too early from injury. With the way DJ has been playing (minus the game before this one), I don’t think Ben is gonna lose the backup PG position just because of some rest…

      • Jack Wright

        Agreed; DJ and Benny are both liabilities at backup point. I’m not sure how I feel about Lance there, either. Just yet, at least. We’ll see.

  • http://twitter.com/qandrews9428 Quinn Andrews

    I thought your D- for DJ was super harsh. He definitely made a positive impression on the game in 7 minutes. I would have given him a B.

    • NLP

      When West was locked in like he was in the second half its not hard to pick up some dimes giving it to him and watching him hitting jumper after jumper. D- may be harsh but a B is way to high I think a C- is about right since he was 0-for-3 and split at the line.

  • NLP

    West has saved us in about half our wins it seems like and is playing his way off our team unless he wants to take less When Danny comes back are we going to run Lance as the back up PG, as he may be the best passer on the team. Ian, Tyler, Green, Young and Lance would be a nice change of pace unit IMO.

    I wish Frank would start using Tyler more at the end of the 3rd when we are in the bonus, he’s the king of getting loose ball fouls and we lose those FT when most of his time comes starting the 2nd and 4th with only his run at the end of the 1st ever coming in a bonus situation. His FT rate has taken a massive dip since Frank started going with West the whole 3rd while still getting fouled a ton off the ball.

    Stat of the night was New Orleans had just 3 more fouls total but we took 11 more FTs, its crazy they only got to the line 7 times

    West and Lance’s games tonight shows how hard it is to be a bench player with limited shots as West was 2-for-9 at the break and Lance was 1-for-4 at the breaks but as a starter they keep getting the ball and turn it around over time with West going 9-for-11 in the second half and Lance tossing in 4-of-6. If you come of the bench just the slightest bit cold you aren’t going to have a shot to fix your night unless you get legit 6th man PT.

    • Jack Wright

      Again, now is not the time to worry about whether West will be on the roster next season. We need to quit talking about it and quit thinking about it, because this season is now, and I want to win a championship. West does, too, and I think he likes it in Indiana.

  • Ian

    Where was Gerald Green? Was he hurt?

    • Philip Tarrant

      I know he got an inactive before the game, but didn’t hear why.

  • Jack Wright

    One of those games that’s either a really nice win or a really bad loss. Glad we won. I’m definitely developing some confidence in our team again, based on the fact that I still half-expected us to win the game even when we were down 40-20.

  • steppxxxxz

    i thought ben H was fine. What was dire????

  • Timmy

    Well, I liked your first grades at the time-gave me a good laugh. Only someone suffering the effects of the zombie apocalypse on the 21st would have disagreed with you at that point in the game. I had flashbacks to the bad-old-days of the Herb Williams’ era. Good to know that I’m not the only one who has reactions devoid of any reason. It reminded me of the Colts’ game against the Patriots this year. Violate the 3rd Commandment, turn off the TV, turn it back on, watch silently in disgust; repeat. Anyway, I’m not sure why you gave D.J. a D- and Sam a C.

  • lil-bang

    Got the job done against the Cavs, and against the soon to be Pelicans. Now let’s seem them get up 2-0 in the series against the Bulls tonight. Hopefully this weather will keep all the bulls fans away, but who knows with this ‘blizzard” around, I might be the only one there. Go Pacers!!!