Post-Game Grades: Pacers' D Doesn't Show Up in Loss to Hawks

Mr. West was in the building. The NBA’s best defense so far this season, however, was not.

Atlanta won this game by scoring easily throughout, particularly in the first half when they made 24 of the 39 shots they took. A whopping 17 of those makes were assisted, so this wasn’t just the case of a few guys going off and making tough shots.

Things were no better at the end of the game. Roy Hibbert, deservedly so, received a benching for the whole fourth quarter. The Pacers actually mounted a marginally valiant comeback, cutting an Atlanta lead that was once as large at 18 down to 3 with under six minutes to play. But the offense dried up and the Hawks were able to exploit the giant defensive void in the paint to score enough buckets to put Indiana away.

For the game, the Hawks posted an offensive rating of 122.5 points per 100 possessions. The Pacers were really good themselves at 112.4, but it was simply a matter of Atlanta being way too comfortable getting good looks at the hoop.

And now, as Chris Goff pointed out, the Pacers have fallen to 1-9 this season against teams that are currently (as of Saturday morning) above .500.

Pacers Hawks

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 32 MIN | 11-18 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 29 PTS | -13

Another excellent night for a guy who might just be working himself onto the All-Star team.

Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 18 PTS | -16

Line is incredible and he played well generally. A few botched plays late and some generally shaky-looking command of the game in the fourth, however, marred his otherwise good evening. But it was also his three-point play that cut the lead to 3.

Roy Hibbert, C 21 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

The worst statistical game of his career. I presume. There’s also this, from @MikeWellsNBA: “Roy Hibbert declined comment after a game for the first time in his 5-year career.”

George Hill, PG 33 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -19

Made a really terrible pass late and picked up a technical at a most-inopportune time. But shot well.

Lance Stephenson, SG 32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +3

Did some iso-Lance stuff that wasn’t pretty at times—particularly when he launched a long three for no reason in the fourth—but did what you want him to do. Had to exit to the locker room late, unfortunately, when he took a Tyler elbow to the head. Most impressive thing may be that he can play a game like this and not blow me away anymore. The growth this season can’t be overlooked.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 24 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +5

Elbowed Lance in the head and knocked him out of the game, but played well otherwise. His defense left something to be desired late, but nobody should really expect West and Tyler to be paint stoppers.

Gerald Green, SF 25 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -5

Bad Gerald.

Ian Mahinmi, C 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -3

The team’s best center this evening.

D.J. Augustin, PG 15 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +10

Back-up point-guarding.

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