Post-Game Grades: Paul George Scary Good in Statement Win Over the Miami Heat

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Indiana defeated the Miami Heat 87-77 Tuesday night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It’s a regular season game in early January, so the effects are little more than palliative, but there are still some things that shone through tonight.

First, the Pacers defense is as serious as a heart attack. Coming into the night, Indy was #1 in the Association in defensive efficiency, allowing fewer than 96 points per 100 possessions overall. They were also the best at home, allowing fewer than 94 points per 100. Miami’s 109 points per 100 was third in the NBA, and their 105/100 was fifth best away from home.

The Pacers held the Heat to a season-low 77 points, and only 93 points per 100. After falling behind 51-44 with 8:23 left in the third, Indy allowed only 26 points over the final 20 minutes.

Second, Paul George is not kidding around.

In a contest against the two best wings – arguably best players – in the game today, Paul George took a turn as the best player in the building.

In a 12-minute stretch from the 8-minute mark in the third to the 8-minute mark in the fourth, the Pacers hung a 33-9 drubbing on the defending champs. Paul George – by himself – outscored Miami 17-9 and almost matched their six rebounds with five of his own.

It’s difficult to tell what the crowning moment of the night was for the third year player out of Fresno State. Was it the pull up three to extend the lead back after Miami started to dig back in? Was it the post up on James, where he stuck a turnaround 15-footer in his mug? Was it the game long defensive effort on James and Wade?

Doesn’t matter. It’s all good.

It’s only the regular season. It’s only January. But…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pacer play as well as Paul George has over the last month.

It’s just plain scary, at this point.

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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 | 6-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -3Struggled to get his shot to fall down the stretch, but still played well. And that three in the third…Suh-WEET!
Paul George, SF 44 MIN | 12-27 FG | 1-3 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 29 PTS | +5Oh, my goodness, me. Oh, my goodness, my.
Roy Hibbert, C 29 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -10Hibbert had 14 rebounds. Nine of them were offensive. Five of them were of his own misses. He was 3 of 12. He was 2/3 outside the paint. He was was 1/9 in the paint, including 1/7 inside the restricted area. His defense is crucial, but he actively hurts the Pacers offensively.
George Hill, PG 23 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | -7Had the flu. Played like it.
Lance Stephenson, SG 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +3Scored early, missed a lot of shots late, but played well overall. Vogel was asked if he was happy with Lance taking four shots in a row down the stretch. After hedging a little bit, he said, “We want the open man to take the shot.”

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +16Got to the line, but wasn’t much of a factor.
Gerald Green, SF 22 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +7I think this might be the first time that I thought he played relatively well when he wasn’t shooting well. Second quarter block was not of this Earth.
Ian Mahinmi, C 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +17Poor first half stint – missing his looks and fouling. Strong second half as the bench played well tonight.
D.J. Augustin, PG 25 MIN | 0-2 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 4 PTS | +17I don’t know if this is permanent, but it’s the fourth game in five that DJ has been an important contributor.
Orlando Johnson, SG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +5Stole some solid minutes in the second quarter, picked up two assists, including an oop to Gerald Green.
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