Post-Game Grades: Pacers Make Pistons' Parents Say "I'm Not Mad, I'm Just Disappointed"

(Guest recap tonight courtesy of @mike_saurus. Grades by me. – JW)

The game was 13-2 at the time I turned to my roommate and told him the game was over.  By that point Roy Hibbert was locked in early and got a few baskets, Lance Stephenson was pushing the pace for easy transition buckets, and the team was active and cutting on offense.

On the other side were the Pistons, so I felt pretty confident.

The offense was crisp and smooth for the first quarter, as the Pacers doubled up the Pistons in the first, 34-17. This happened even with Paul George only taking two shots (plus a pair of free throws), though he found other ways to stay aggressive and involved. His ability to have a major impact on the game even without scoring was just another step in the long-term development of the exciting wing player.

And the defense.

Indiana held the Pistons to 36.6% shooting (15-for-41) in the first half while jumping out to a 60-34 lead. By the end of this one, the Pacers hadn’t trailed for 10 straight quarters.  The offense has improved and deserves praise, but the defense continues to impress and gives this team the identity that it needs to keep the second seed in the East.

The Pacers will need to sustain their efficiency (and I expect nothing less, especially with Granger comes back) to make the increasingly likely Miami match up more interesting then the pesky-but-unfulfilled series from last year; however, I feel confident as I continue to watch these Pacers that the defense alone will keep a top three seed.

Finally, I found it interesting that Tim Donahue tweeted out a list of Pacer teams that had consecutive blowouts that matched and succeeded this current streak. The teams of note were from the ’94, ’95, and ’98 seasons.
Each made it to the conference finalists.
And that list includes the team that played the Jordan Bulls closer than anyone else in the 1998, taking Chicago to a game seven and nearly winning before coughing up the game in the fourth quarter.
I do not want to get carried away, because we are still talking about the Pistons and a down-trodden Knicks team. There will be important chemistry issues upcoming when Granger comes back. Lance has earned the title of “Basketball Player” but still has some mental lapse (as seen tonight when he throw away a foolish through-his-legs pass in transition). And one injury to the team’s starting five would probably cripple progress.
Still, those ’90s teams were some of the most fun teams I have ever enjoyed following, and two games after the All-Star break, I can tell you that this team is now on that list as well.

Pacers Pistons

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 26 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +29 

It doesn’t get much more efficient than that, although he did uncharacteristically throw away one long outlet while trying to spark a break. Then again, he also threw another perfect strike trying to the same and make like 46 slick interior passes.

Paul George, SF 26 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 7 TO | 12 PTS | +29 

Made quite the impact for a guy who took just 6 shots. Had an unreal, two-handed block of a Rodney Stuckey layup that would have made Karch Kiraly proud.

Roy Hibbert, C 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +31 

If this is post-break Roy Hibbert is the guy who will be around for the rest of the year, things are seriously looking up for this team. The numbers don’t blow you away, but he didn’t play like a guy who was struggling. Instead he was diving on the floor and being a positive presence in the paint on both ends.

George Hill, PG 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +31 

Quietly continued to have a fantastic under-the-radar season. Looked very confident on his three-point attempts.

Lance Stephenson, SG 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +28 

An absolute monster in transition. Basically the Raiders of the Ark boulder when he gets his momentum going.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +10 


Jeff Pendergraph, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9 

Nothing too notable but no … Pendergaffes … either.

Sam Young, SF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +2 

I think that windmill the other night sparked something inside of him. He was really looking to drive and score in garbage time.

Gerald Green, SF 13 MIN | 1-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6 

Did that cool dunk thing he does, but pretty telling that he can’t even score in a game in which the whole fourth quarter was the equivalent of the last pick-up game of the run when nobody is really trying anymore.

Ian Mahinmi, C 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +10 

Did his Mahinmi stuff.

Ben Hansbrough, PG 5 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -9 

Bro’d out.

D.J. Augustin, PG 15 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10 

Made arguably his prettiest pass of the season on a lookaway, over-the-top pass to Tyler, who got fouled. Then later tossed a nice lob to Gerald for the oop. He also didn’t hesitate to take it to the hoop in transition. Looks like he believes in himself again.

Orlando Johnson, SG 23 MIN | 5-5 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +4 

Had all his points in the first half while not missing a shot. And, yeah, I mentioned D.J.’s confidence? Well … this guy? Now THAT’S confidence. Pulp is basically out there shooting the ball in the same way Rick Ross walks around without a shit: He cares not what you think and knows he’s a boss. RUUUHHHHHHH

Tags: Game Recap

  • Philip Tarrant

    Hey, I’m all about this team right now. I know we can’t keep up these blowouts as the competition has been of the roll-over kind as we drive a steamroller over their prone bodies, but we have been playing some competent basketball. Gerald Green, however, has been the biggest waste of money since Albert Haynesworth (their comparative sizes and contract sizes notwithstanding).

  • Shelby Townsend

    Orlando Johnson was the most impressive player tonight. This dude is poised to be a star if he keeps shooting like he does. I love yelling “OR-LAN-DO!!” at the top of my lungs every time he hits a three too.

  • jk31

    Can we plz get realistic grades? I know it’s cool that we rolled over the 2nd team in a row now, but that’s not the meaning of giving grades…Especially Green should get an F…Took the most shots from all bench players and 90% of them were very bad ones…

    • Jack Wright

      amen. and PG deserves like a C+. He was turning the ball over and trying to force it too much offensively

  • Jack Wright

    I loved how Hibbert looked tonight. And I have one small request: Can we please stop whining and complaining after every single foul called on us? Whine occasionally, but not every damn time. That’s a bad look for us.

  • Will

    It really doesn’t get much better than these shellackings. I’m ready to see Granger go to work…hopefully there’s not much change in the chemistry and flow.

    • Will

      btw: Anyone else notice the scoreboard above is from the Knicks game? Oops!

  • kemosabe

    Pulp is a terrible nickname. Really hope that gets squashed quickly. Realistic teammate grades would be better than A+. Just because as a team they did well, doesn’t mean individuals necessarily did. Give the team an A+, but give indivduals some real grades, please.

  • Derek U

    Loved the “pulp” write up, lol. made me chuckle.. Kind of a terrible nickname, but it’s a nickname….