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

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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.

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