Post-Game Grades: Pacers Fire on All Cylinders to Overpower Rockets

We’ll talk more about this game this weekend, but it was the perfect night for Indiana to face a struggling Rockets team. Like Archer, they like to keep it loose … see what happens, and that allowed Indiana, coming off a brutal, demoralizing beatdown by the Magic, to just get up and down the court and use their talent to make this one a laugher.

Once they started forcing turnovers and hitting shots from the outside, it opened up the lane for the bigs to do work, and Houston had no way to stop them. Really, the way the Pacers were knocking the Rockets out of their comfort zone, they probably didn’t even need to score this well, but this may be the most encouraging win of the season in the sense of watching this Indiana team beat a (pretty) good team by dominating them in all facets of the game.

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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 | 8-18 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +14 

West’s role on this team continues to evolve. He has gone from spiritual leader to rock-solid contributor to Mr. Clutch to the team’s only reliable offensive player to a primary facilitator at the elbow. This was his 6th game this year with at least 5 assists. He has 9 games with at least 4 and all have come since November 21. Imagine how many he might have if the team could actually, ya know, score with any regularity.

Paul George, SF 43 MIN | 11-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 5 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 31 PTS | +16 

What more can you say? I’m sure he’s eager to match up against James Harden later this season in Houston. During the All-Star Game, I mean. This stat-stuffing performance should have locked up his spot.

Roy Hibbert, C 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +6 

If someone told the Pacers that they could get 12/9/4 from Hibbert every other game this season for the rest of the year, but it would come at a price of him never scoring more than 15, I think they have to take that. Looked good on offense at times.

George Hill, PG 38 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +6 

This offense is a whole different animal when he pushes the action and forces the defense to keep him from scoring in the paint.

Lance Stephenson, SG 37 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +11 

Aside from that woeful late turnover that cracked the door open for Houston, did his job.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -3 

Played 18 minutes.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 8 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1 

His stats look worse than I recall him playing. Missed that dunk, which was funny, but was a presence out there.

Ian Mahinmi, C 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +6 

Left the game early with a stomach bug, but did his thing in short minutes. Sweet block.

D.J. Augustin, PG 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -2 

Him affecting the game in positive ways is becoming old hat, which is a statement that me from three weeks ago would laugh at.

Orlando Johnson, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -3 

Could be a rotation player.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Jack Wright

    Alternative headline: “Post-Game Grades: Pacers Offense Finally Thrives with Green Out”

  • Derek Cooper

    well the pacers thought a ‘pass-first’ point guard would give the offence a boost_so they went out+ got DA (d.j. augustine_I use initials..) who racked upsome assist numbers with the bobcats last year but not with us. I’m here to speculate why.and why we have fairly low team assist numbers. Several why’s. D.Rose+D.Williams etc. Are big enough one on one offensive threats that they can draw the D to themself in the halfcourt against a setup D +hit the open guy–that’s one way to get assists. (DA isn’t a strong enough one on one threat to get much that way..). Another good way to get assists would be on a unit that can defend rebound+run and has some targets who can finish–this ain’t happening much either. If he had some major matchup advantages to dump it into or draw major attention that would create assist opportunities…(its not there). If the pacers had some bigs that were coordinated athletic leapers that creates opportunities–like when chris paul drives in and draws some attention he can throw it up to deandre jordan or blake griffin for a dunk-high% good way to get assists. On indiana RH DW TH for all their good qualities are not that IM is when we rarely get him in the open court maybe somewhat. In short a point guard who is good at passing(maybe DA is..) doesn’t help our second unit. We don’t have many good assist opportunities on any regular basis. Also our first unit isn’t a good fit for a fast paced game because RH+DW are slow- in a faster paced game u’d expect their defense+rebounding powers to lesson cause if their man beats them up+down the court to rebounds or scoring opportunities RH+DW’s size strength and defensive abilities are useless. That’s why GH for 8 million is a good fit for our starting unit- steady low turnovers scoring threat good d + rebounding– despite not racking up the assists cuz the opportunities for easy assists aren’t there. Tho chris paul would help our offense (for a much bigger $salary) his assists would go down cuz our starting unit shouldnt run a whole lot and we don’t have dunkers or superstars to pass to. Granted with his one on one ability chris paul could probly outdo GH’s 5 apg but still he’d drop off some. I hope the FO isn’t still enamored with the silly idea that a good pass first point guard like jose cauldron or someone would help our offence so much because I really really really don’t think it would. I’m glad if our starting unit runs some opportunisticly cuz GH-PG-LS are good for that even tho The value of RH+DW would decrease in a constant fast paced game. With granger return our starting unit is even less suited to uptempo-ness. However with a few tweaks I think our second unit could do some running. You’d think a team that rebounds +defends so well would get some easy fast break buckets wouldn’t u? If the good assist opportunitie aren’t there a skilled passer doesn’t help.Unless they tried to trade for some highpriced bigname pointguard-and even one of those would have problems with this group-and we don’t want to trade away stuff when our first unit is overall very effective. I have a counter intuitive solution to this enigmatic problem. Well I have a theory anyway_ of course the front office has a much larger base of knowlege more experience and deeper statistical analasis of everthing than me_but I have a theory.(I’ll start a new post since this ones so long…)

    • Jack Wright

      whats the theory?

      • Philip Tarrant

        It’s apparently even longer than the last post given the amount of time it’s taken to compose….

        • Derek Cooper

          Ya I just got tired of writing. And I feel a little silly writing huge things like it might look like I think I know it all- I know other ppl know more I just have thoughts. I’m not composing ahead of time- its just an idea that’ll probly take a long time to write about…I’ll get back to it later

    • Joe Betz

      Hill and Augustin will not get a ton of assists because of the power post offense the Pacers utilize, where the onus is on the big man to make a move and score–something Hibbert could not do at all early but has begun improving. Games where Hill and Augustin have big assist numbers are usually when the Pacers are hitting outside shots, where a quick pass to the open wing player to fire a three gives the PG a dime. That said, DJA was brought in to facilitate better shots for players while being an upgrade to the 3pt presence of Collison. DJA can drive, but as Hollinger noted early in the season, he can’t finish. I think he has done that, finding TH or Mahinmi open on the elbow and delivering nice chest passes to start their shots. To your point about a good defensive team running for easy opportunities, the Pacers have started to do that more, but when you have a post advantage every possession, you don’t want to run too often.

    • Breyzh

      Those are fair observations, but Chris Paul doesn’t need a fast pace to run an offense… Don’t be fooled by the Clippers’ numbers: that’s mostly their bench (and Eric Bledsoe)… I his most successful individual seasons in terms of assists (in NOH 07-10, with David West), the team played at a bottom 10% pace… I will admit that he’d miss throwing lobs on a team like Indiana..
      The same case can be made for a guy like Calderon, who has never been part of a high-octane offense and does very little in the sense of being a scoring threat. He doesn’t really get a lot of “easy assists opportunities” in Toronto either, what with their personnel and all… The kind of “easy” assists that he gets is the kind most quality pass-first point guards get: finding bigs out of pick-and-pops and on trailing fastbreaks, and finding wings when they come around picks or when they cut through lazy defenses. He’s just really damn good at making the right pass at the right time at the right guy at the right place, all that within the offensive schemes (vs creating out of sheer talent, what you think is necessary for a great passing PG).. Calderon is precisely not a gifted player, he’s just a steady and smart floor-general with A+ passing skills, as proved by the fact that he gets great assist numbers on teams that constantly suck.
      I think he’d do great on a team with so many players who can move well without the ball (Pacers).

      For more about how Calderon racks up assists:

      • Derek Cooper

        Hey glad to hear ur thoughts u seem like a fair observer. Still prefer GH with our starters to JC because he’s considered a better defender + I think he can score better+ really most of our starters occaisionally have games of 4 or 5 assists individually LS sometimes PG often lately DW sometimes– and if roys offensive game ever picks back up I think he’ll add a few assists too –basicly I think our first unit should fix themselves with danny coming back hoping roy gets going abit and lance filling in some– I value the offensive balance there and the across the board defensive theme. —as for jose caulderon with our second unit just don’t think he has the targets to be successful there-think they need major tweekage. Another question about jose–he comes from a similar situation to what augustine came from good assist numbers on a bad team. Its like- is he so good to rack up assists without much surrounding talent or is the opposing defense often more relaxed because they aren’t excited or concerned with playing the raptors? Idk its a tricky question. And I don’t know what they might want in a trade for him…guess it’d really depend on that but I think I heard they value him quite a lot lately…

  • Joe Betz

    Good game for the Pacers. Whenever teams can score in bunches, that will always be scary for a Pacers fan, but PG stepped up defensively (minus fouling Harden for a 4pt play), Roy looked good in the post, and, in general, the Pacers looked in control the whole way.

    • Jack Wright

      yeah i was half expecting a collapse but we kept fairly steady

  • dwaink

    sweet win for a Pacer team that really worked for it…that’s the good kind of tired

  • Jack Wright

    PG needs to limit his TOs and play better on the road. if hes able to do better at those, pacers could be a top 4 team in the league by playoff time, assuming granger is able to work back into his old self or something close to it