Post-Game Grades: Pacers Make It 3 Wins and No Losses Against the Bulls

Playoff basketball is here, as evidenced by the Pacers’ 97-92 win over the Chicago Bulls Sunday night.

Indy has picked up 5-1/2 games on the Bulls since January 31st, now holding a 4-game lead for the Central Division. With the Knicks falling to Miami this afternoon, the Pacers are also one game up in the race for the second best record in the East.

Chicago was injured, but you can never take anything for granted against Tom Thibodeau’s teams. Before the game, Coach Frank Vogel said, “Our message to our is, ‘Back-to-back means nothing to (the Bulls). Injuries mean nothing to this team. Recent struggles mean nothing to this team.’”

Really, Chicago is one of the best-coached team in the game today.

And speaking of well-coached teams, your Indiana Pacers are right there with Chicago. Frank Vogel won his 100th career victory tonight.

I expect to look forward to many, many years of battles between teams coached by Tom Thibodeau and teams coached by Frank Vogel.


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 36 MIN | 11-18 FG | 9-9 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 31 PTS | 0


Coach Vogel in his post-game comments: “He leads our team in will.” He just plain leads the team. He’s the rock on which this team is built.

Paul George, SF 45 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | +9


Not a terrible game, per se, but he was definitely passive. The grading curve is getting steeper for the young man.

Roy Hibbert, C 35 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +11


Another good game at both ends of the floor.

George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 6-6 FG | 6-10 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +13


The free throws were troubling, but he was so big most of the night. He’s been a secondary cornerstone to West this season, playing probably the best ball of his career.

Lance Stephenson, SG 34 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +11


Thought he got a little squirelly at times tonight, but he’s still light years ahead of where most of us thought he would be.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +7


The bench …

Sam Young, SF 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4


… did not …

Danny Granger, SF 8 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1


… (Sat out the second half for the second game in a row. According to Coach Vogel, the training staff isn’t concerned. I am.) …

Ian Mahinmi, C 12 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -8


… fill me …

D.J. Augustin, PG 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8


… with …

Orlando Johnson, SG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5


… warm fuzzies.

Frank Vogel


Win #100, against only 64 losses. Well done, young man.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Philip Tarrant

    I really hope that the Hibb we’ve seen the past half week is the one that plays for the rest of the season/contract. His D has been a cornerstone all year, but he’s finally looking confident in his post game again. This is the Hibb we need for a playoff run. David West needs a 2 year extension after this season. That man is a MAN. I don’t know where we’d be without him.

    • Jack Wright

      he’ll be back

      • Philip Tarrant

        He better be. He’s been the leader of the Pacers’ resurgence. I liked the signing at the time, but that 2 year contract was a steal considering the value he’s given both on the court and especially in the locker room.

  • NLP

    This isn’t going to go over well but It wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if Danny was out for the rest of the year. Since he’s game back our bench went from clicking where any of the 5 guys could beat you to one of the leagues worst! Tonight we get 8 points on just 2 made hoops losing the bench battle 31-8 to a team who is without Taj Gibson’s 6.9 PPG off the bench and with Marco Belinelli’s 7.9 and Nate
    Robinson’s 11.2 points off the bench forced into the starting 5 for Hamilton and Hinrich.

    In the month and a half since Green lost his spot in the rotation Johnson, Tyler and DJ have all taken turns sparking our bench with Pendergraph jumping into the act from time to time when called on along with Ian. But if you take away the 4th quarter garbage time and those top 3 have been froze out of the offense unless they go get it themselves off the glass or a steal, and the bench results and been pure garbage over that time.

    Even with the garbage time buckets added in the 5 games since Danny game back out bench is shooting 33-for-94 35.1% and that’s with some major help from garbage time!

    • djmcba

      Definitely agree the return of Danny has really disrupted the bench. That said, i think we need a healthy Granger to truly do damage in the playoffs (and boosting his trade value for the offseason wouldn’t hurt either).

      Hopefully his knee gets back to full strength soon or he shuts it down so the second unit can have some cohesion heading into the playoffs.

      • NLP

        I think he will hurt the core-four starters as well unless he would take a back seat and play the Lance role. West needs to shoot it 14-20 times a night, PG needs to get the ball about the same and with Roy starting to play like an All-Star again he needs to be fed the ball in the post at least 10 times a night all while finding a way for Hill to get his too.

        Lance no doubt would make the bench better since he would pass and everyone out there would have a real shot to go off any time we play but him leaving the starters will hurt them by losing his play making ability and willingness to take a back seat. I just don’t see enough shots to fit Danny back in with them. Last year in the playoffs PG only got 8.6 shots a game even with the added PT while Danny was just at 15.8 thanks to a game with 6 shots when he had to leave early, meaning 16.8 in the others.

        This is Paul’s team now and West runs it for him and Hill chips in crunch time and Roy controls the paint, we moved on without Danny and learned to become a great team without him. If he want’s back in he has to be willing to play the 8.6 shots a game starter not think he’s the go to guy anymore.

        • Derek Cooper

          Wow. No easy answers__no safe bets for vogel u know. tricky business…hmm but we do still have plenty of time to sort this stuff out tho__glad the playoff don’t start tommorrow (:

        • Jack Wright

          Neh, we can’t give up on Granger already. If he’s playing like his old self by the playoffs, that’ll be huge for us. And I don’t subscribe to the West-must-get-this-many-shot-attempts-per-game, PG-must-get-this-many, etc stuff. Just play basketball.

    • lil-bang

      Don’t quite agree with the Danny statement. NLP you are no doubt a Hans homer, now you will see I’m a Granger homer… He has went 8-18 in the last 3 games. Also have you noticed that he is putting Danny out there alot with the whole bench unit? Everyone knows this bench is struggling. Vogel hasn’t put the whole bench unit out there all season until the last couple weeks. Why do it with Danny when he is just coming back, the only reason I can think of is to just have Danny let it fly and not take shots from the starters? I know that is the end goal is to have Danny or PG on the court at all times, but that bench doesn’t move the ball and sure as heck can’t give Danny an open look right now. Those first couple games when Danny shot horrible it was partly because he was with the whole bench unit and he was taking difficult shots(ones that he makes when he is heathly-ex. the shot he made against the Warriors where the crowd went nuts). The Pacers need some scoring off the bench, but you don’t need that much if you have 4 previous All-stars starting (with a Hill being a stud as well). They will get plenty of shots each if Vogel gets the rotation down once Danny is heathly and up to speed.

      PG: Hill 36 min / DJ 12 min
      G: George/ Granger/ Stephenson 96 min total however it needs broke down
      F: West 36 min / Hansborough 12 min
      C: Hibbert 34 min / Mahinmi 14 min

      Pacers average 80 shots a game: That could give each position 16 shots a game. With the rotation the Pacers have, pretty much all bench shouldn’t even need to shoot (exactly what the Heat do). So the argument that our our starters won’t get the shots they need is wrong. Its’ really all on the players to get the ball to the hot hand every game and not be selfish. If Danny shows he is a ball hog, then they should trade him, but right now we haven’t seen enough to say “It wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if Danny was out for the rest of the year”

      Plus Stephenson is getting torched on Defense, Danny is alot better than he is when he is heathly. I don’t agree with Mike Wells on his matchups-Lebron (and Melo for that matter) have already proven he can eat up PG down low, Danny is a little bigger. Danny on James and PG on Wade is better than PG on James and Stephenson on Wade…

      • Jack Wright

        I wanna start seeing Lance on the floor more with the bench unit. DJ, Lance, OJ, Hansbrough and Mahinmi.. See what those guys can do together. See if we can get Lance to set the tone by running the floor and maybe the bench can start getting some buckets.

    • Josh Boeke

      I have to disagree. It’s WAY premature to say what Granger will and will not be for this team. He’s had a couple bad games and a couple good games since coming back, but he certainly hasn’t played enough minutes in any of them to attempt speculation on what his role may or may not become. He’s said himself many times that he’s only about 65% right now, that the playing time is part of the rehabilitation process and not an indication that he’s fully healthy.

      He still has 20+ games to get back to 100% and though you may have forgotten this, a 100% Danny Granger is a dangerous weapon to have. Say what you will about his usage rate, he’s never been an inefficient player (his PER last season would still be higher than Paul George’s this year) and his ability to make 3s as well as create his own shot can only help (and he’s a career 85% FT shooter, something we could have used against the Bulls). Granger cannot really be blamed for the bad shooting from the rest of the bench, they’ll figure out how to exist together, chemistry takes time.

  • Jack Wright

    PG deserved a C+ at the highest. His turnovers are becoming gruesome to watch. He also missed several bunnies.. He needs to stuff it with authority, not softly ask the rim to please let him make one.

  • Ian

    I’m happy with him on my team, but this is not the first time George Hill has struggle with clutch FT. And you could see it in his 2nd FT of the last two that it was mental. I had no confidence when they put him on the line, unlike when West went to the line.
    For those criticizing Granger, geez, give him time. He hasn’t played competitive ball in like 10 months.

    • Josh Boeke

      I agree, the way West was hitting FTs (9 for 9) I’m a little surprised they wouldn’t just let him ice the game.

  • lil-bang

    Vogel’s grade was perfect, (only because it was his 100th win) Pacers still seem to still struggle to get those last couple buckets late in games against good teams to close the deal, and I believe all of that comes to play calling and execution. That game should have never even came down to even Hill’s free throws, yet it did because the Pacer’s can’t find good shots if a team really locks down in the last couple minutes. This is really my only concern come the playoffs. Pacers are going to be hard team to beat 4 times, but coming down to the last couple of minutes of a game, the worst seems to come out in the Pacer’s offense. Luckly the best comes out in their defense.
    Thib’s knows how to draw up a play like no other, something Vogel needs to learn from.

  • Jesse Worker

    I think Lance’s grade was too high. Mostly just irritated by when he tried to pay back Bellinelli or whomever it was by backing into him (and drawing an offensive foul). A few of those PG turnovers should have been credited to the receiver, particularly one where West fumbled it out of bounds. He did seem passive after the 1st quarter though. Based on Doris/ESPN’s coronation of Noah, I thought he had 40 pts and 20 rebs.

    • Josh Boeke

      That was pretty hilarious. Doris must have been told to gush about Noah (the Bulls play another game on ESPN this week), it was funny through the 2nd quarter but when we made it to the 4th and she was still talking about him it really became a bit much (without of course mentioning his rather pedestrian 14 pts and 10 rebounds on 6 of 13 shooting). Oh, and did you know that the Bulls had JUST flown in that morning?! Forget the fact that it would take me longer to drive to the stadium from my house in Fishers than to fly from Chicago to Indianapolis, Doris really wanted you to know.

  • dwaink

    don’t know if it was just chi defense or another one of those low spots on this roller coaster ride, but this team looked terrible. they won of course but it was touch and go through the whole game and some of the player groupings that coach V threw out there were just scary. if DWest(and in some part GHill) hadn’t pulled our fat outa the fire again this would have gone down as a loss.comeon Pacers lets get some consistancy going before the playoff wind up in our lap. there were so many wide open layups because the man that went to help in the lane’s man was not covered by someone else that we nearly lost. is it just me or is the only one on this team that can really hold on to a basketball(hand strength?) DWest? never seen so many slapped free balls, one handed tips gone awry…dudes get a grip on that frickin ball, i always thought Roy’s problem was his feet(and fouls becuse of not moving fast enough to be in the right position prove that out), but it is his flippin hand strength, big fella(lurv ya madly) pretend that bball is yer paycheck and grip that fool thing….

    • Josh Boeke

      Just a bad game… that we won. Wouldn’t over think it.

      • dwaink

        yeah any landing u can walk away from…:) i think my thoughts on this bear closer inspection, makin the trek into town for the Lakers game :)…i fully expect Roy to grab Dwight by the cojones and flip em to the sideline…at least twice in that game…show me dat grip big fella!!! go Pacers!!!

    • Jack Wright

      I share all your feelings there dwain

  • Rex

    Interesting fact I saw today..Pacers are the only team that the Heat haven’t beaten at least once this season.

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