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

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.

Topics: Game Recap

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  • dwaink

    would that this was game 4……we would be talkin repeat :)

  • Josiah

    If this game didn’t book PG’s ticket to Houston next month, then people are more obsessed with big-market stars than previously thought. Holy s#!t balls.

  • Realist

    With the way David West drills step back 20 footers, it’s not at all surprising to see he has 3 point range.

    Hibbert had another one of those games where you wish he would just grab it and stuff it, instead of bobbing up and down on his toes and slappin’ at it. We’ve learned to accept this though, I guess. As long as he keeps anchoring that D.

    Paul George ever since that 0 game in Golden State…. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Still, no Granger, no Hill, full strength Heat. Our defense = as serious as a heart attack is right.

  • http://twitter.com/StretchFourNBA Stretch Four

    There are many things I could say, but I will say this: I am very excited at the prospect of having a core of George Hill/Lance Stephenson/Paul George/Roy Hibbert over the next 4+ years. Still so young and already one of the better teams in the league. The Pacers should be a good team for a while, especially if PG continues his ascent.

  • http://twitter.com/wdeeit Will

    PG is a problem. The Pacers are a bigger problem. Keep it rollin’!

  • lil-bang

    Dwade 9-16
    James 10-20
    Bosh 5-10
    Rest of heat 4-22
    Remember when everyone criticized the Pacers for having just an above average group of starters and they couldnt go anywhere with it…Well the Heat starters shot over 50% and still got beat by 10…

    • Joe Betz

      Exactly. Will Ray Allen miss all of his 3s every game against the Pacers? No. But the Pacers will have games they shoot above 40% and above 75% from the line, so it evens out. This year’s team is better–the Heat are the same team + Ray Allen, who, like anyone, can have off nights, especially against the Pacers perimeter D. I love how Wade and James talked about “adjustment” in a series after the game. The Pacers have a better defensive second unit now, and are better defensively overall, so it will be harder for Wade and James to throw up 40 pt games in the playoffs to win.

      • http://twitter.com/StretchFourNBA Stretch Four

        Not to mention we were missing Granger and Hill!

  • Ian

    Yes Hibbert’s offense was annoying, but those 9 ORB matter. The Pacers won because they had 23 more FG attempts than the Heat, and destroyed them on the boards.

  • Ian

    So I was looking at PG’s stats this season and I noticed something rather shocking. He’s a completely different player at home and on the road.

    At home he’s literally one of the 10 best players in the NBA. I am not kidding:

    16 games, .480 FG%, .495 3-pt%, 8 rpg, 3.2apg, 20.8 ppg

    On the road, offensively he’s a mess:

    19 games, .367 FG%, .247 3-pt%, 6.9 rpg, 4,1 apg, 13.4 ppg

    I think most players play better at home, but this gap is insane. Now admittedly the Pacers played a lot of road games early before PG hit his stride, but if he could close this gap in performance, he’d be a perennial all star.

    • Jack Wright

      he definitely needs to play better on the road

  • Tenacious D.

    Vogel for coach of the year. How did he coach them out of the shambles they were at the beginning of the season and then unleash this? I’ve never seen anything like it. As far as I can tell, every other team in the league that is missing its leading scorer from last year is in the tank or seriously hurting. We keep getting better.

  • Jack Wright

    we’re only 2.5 games behind the knicks now. its becoming more and more likely to me that we’ll be facing the
    knicks in the 2nd round (that assumes we at least leap-frog the hawks for
    the #3 seed, which i think will happen). getting the #2 seed might be crucial for us, because we’re much more likely to beat the knicks in the playoffs if we have home-court advantage. so basically, it’s time to start (or continue) winning lots and lots of ball games. i don’t wanna miss the chance to shock the heat in the ECF… so we need that #2 seed

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  • Joe Betz

    Granger gone has equaled the gradual climb of Lance and Paul. With something like 10-20 more games before Granger is back, we should assume they will continue to grow. Hibbert, though…so sad offensively near the basket this year. Mahinmi makes up for Roy’s bad offense somewhat…at least more so than Lou did last year. Again: the Pacers upgraded their athleticism, especially at reserve 5 and 3, and are starting to play entire games. When Granger returns, that will really be scary Pacers basketball. But, it might mean the Pacers need every game before the playoffs to adjust and rebuild chemistry.

  • Joe Betz

    Some final words about Hibbert: he has the potential to have great offensive games (as seen most recently against the Bucks), but most nights hurts the Pacers offensively, unless he can get offensive boards of his own/ others’ misses. Hibbert’s consistent defense and possible offensive explosion in the playoffs is something to watch for and I think why he earned the contract he signed.