Post-Game Grades: Pacers Can't Shoot, Execute and Choke Away a Game to Celtics

Collapse-tastic, this was.

It’s not like the Pacers played a particularly good game. Their revolting 32-for-88 (36.4%) shooting, including 6-for-27 (22.2%) from behind the arc, is literally the only stat you need to tell you that.

But they should have won. They once held a 14-point lead in the second half and were still up 9 with just over four minutes to play. Then they did that whole thing they do where they don’t score for a like 10 straight possessions. There were a few offensive boards involved here, so it wasn’t technically 10 possessions without scoring, but they missed their final 7 shots while turning the ball over 3 times in the final 4:20.

Not really much more to analyze than that. Just one big WELP, really.

Simply despicable execution down the stretch as the Celtics had more energy and kept forcing the Pacers to react to what they were doing in all phases of the game. It led to Boston out-scoring Indiana 11-0 down the stretch.

The only other thing to do is to take you hats off to Doc Rivers for running a stellar play on the Celtics final possession. The designe was wonderful, bringing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the wing area on the left side of the floor for what looked to be a sure two-man game that would aim to get Pierce a look and leave KG as the release valve. Or so Doc would have you believe. Instead, there was a back pick set for Jeff Green, who scurried free to the hoop for an easy layin. Well, actually, the Pacers even got some semblance of help down low, but Green converted anyway, leaving just 0.5 seconds left so Indiana could toss in a hopeless lob.

No dice.

Ball game. Boston wins, taking a 2-1 series lead over the two-seed that they may very well face in the first round of the playoffs.


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 39 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 16 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | +5


Praise him for a double double if you want in a game with a million available rebounds, but probably one of his worst games in this calendar year. Wasn’t useful late.

Paul George, SF 44 MIN | 7-22 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | 0


Take a few more shots why don’t ya.

Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -3


Was marvelous early to the point that I texted Tim Donahue saying “Who’s this tall guy the Pacers traded for?” Played his great in-paint defense throughout but never got going again offensively after a fast start.

George Hill, PG 37 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +4


Salvaged a blah game with two huge triples and a leak-out dunk that should have been the final push Indiana needed to win. Also had that swell near-full-court pass to PG for the breakaway.

Lance Stephenson, SG 35 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -4


Feels like he had a bigger impact on the game than his offensive numbers say, what with the highlight plays and the Raiders of the Lost Ark boulder transition pushes. That and five steals probably earn him the game ball on a team that deserves neither ice cream nor orange wedges after this choke job.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7


Did nothing.

Sam Young, SF 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -2


Had that one monster post up on Courtney Lee.

Ian Mahinmi, C 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +1


Filled in.

D.J. Augustin, PG 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6


Had a good foul. Don’t recall much else.

Orlando Johnson, SG 13 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +2


Starting to really like this kid. Maybe coulda been helpful late. Unless he shot at the wrong hoop, literally couldn’t have done worse than, as did the players on the court, help the team score zero points.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Nik Petrovic

    VOGEL: for the love of god read this because you NEED to learn this. you look like the Andy Reid of the NBA tonight. this is NBA 101 yet I see our Pacers funk it up so often. When the game is TIED and you have a great defensive stop and get the ball back with 45ish seconds on the clock you have to MANAGE THE TIME. the strategy is simple, I’ve heard Kobe say it about 10000 times: TWO FOR ONE. you have to end your possession with about 30 seconds on the clock. Even if you don’t get the “best shot” you at least don’t leave your opponent the LAST shot. the STUPIDEST thing you can do is DELAY, STALL, DRIBBLE OUT THE CLOCK and force up a shot with 25 or less on the clock. I can’t remember the last time I yelled so hard at my TV. how do they blow the end of the game??? was there not ONE player on the team thinking “gee if we don’t score on this play then boston is going to shoot at the buzzer? and if they make it we don’t get a chance to score again???” VOGEL please please please don’t be the Andy Reid of the NBA. Learn some clock management. This was pathetic and so embarrassing..

    • Ben Meeks

      Exactly what I was thinking. It was aggravating to say the least.

    • Joe Betz

      If nothing else, I was surprised the Pacers didn’t call a timeout to try to draw something up, two for one or not. Terrible final possession.

      • Nik Petrovic

        two terrible final possessions is still better than one.

    • NLP

      Frank is an unbelievably overrated coach, he will win with plus talent and get exposed the second he doesn’t have the talent edge.

      • Stretch Four

        This is a pretty lame overreaction and hyperbole. He has the top-rated defense in the league, he’s greatly overachieved with Granger out + DJ and Gerald Green underperforming, and he’s made great adjustments to the rotation (starting Lance, playing OJ over Green).

        I agree that he blew the two-for-one, but I think he’s still learning and getting better everyday. He has a tendency to let his players play through tight spots more than I’d like. But just because a coach makes a mistake, or has weaknesses overall, that doesn’t call for an overall putdown like that. There’s only a handful of coaches I’d rather have, and I think he’s such a good fit for this team personality-wise.

        • NLP

          I’ve been saying that about Frank way before tonight’s game. He was the perfect motivator to take over for JOB and lift a down young teams spirits but he isn’t the coach that will lead us to the promise land.

          We have tons of talent and its borderline elite at the top tier so anyone would be winning with this team! Franks poor X’s and O’s cost us far more games that he wins drawing up the exact same plays over and over again.

          • Jack Wright

            I’m with you 100% here NLP.

          • djmcba

            I have to say that I thoroughly believe anyone saying Frank is not a good coach is an absolute moron.

            Where were the pacers expected to be without Granger? Certainly not here…and we don’t have the most talent in the league; we don’t have a top 15 nba player (yet). Frank (and Brian shaw) have done a tremendous job developing our team.

            Frank is widely considered the front runner for coach of the year. That said, his major weakness is drawing up plays – an area that Doc Rivers, a highly veteran coach thrives. Hopefully Frank took notes.

          • NLP

            Granger is our 4th best player at best and is one of the more overrated players in the league himself, If Danny wasn’t the big fish in a small pond getting to jack all those shots he would be just another guy in the league. We’re actually are a better team without Danny than with him with the emergence of PG thanks to actually getting the ball.

            If Frank was a good coach he would have figured out the bench by now rather than just leaning out West, PG, Hill and Roy to win every night. I bet coaches Rivers, Pop and Thibodeau would roll with out bench but Frank can’t get it to work.

            If you put Frank coaching on a even talent level and he will get out coached 9 out of 10 times. This team has so much talent Frank can’t even find a way to get them all shots and our guys who never get much PT on the bench could play on most every team in the league.

          • djmcba

            That solidifies it – you are just of below-average intelligence.

            Tyler Hansbrough is a beast on the low-block.
            The Charlotte Bobcats are a quality defensive team.
            Frank Vogel is a bad NBA coach.
            The Pacers are better off not having one of their 4 best players.

            Not sure how you find the opportunity to develop all these asinine beliefs as I am sure being President of the High Schoolers For Hansbrough Club is a major time commitment.

          • Jack Wright

            To add to what NLP said: Our turnover problem has yet to be resolved. That’s on the coach. We also might be the worst clutch-situation team in the league. Much of that–most of it, probably–also falls on the coach.

            Most people do not realize how talented of a team we have. People who think we are overachieving are just flat wrong. We didn’t overachieve last season, and we aren’t now. We have possibly the most efficient starting lineup in the league–not because of great coaching, but because of great size and numerous scoring weapons–and a bench that shouldn’t be nearly as bad as it usually is. We’re giving away games left and right. We’re also winning plenty of games, but our schedule has been cake.

            Vogel needs to tighten the screws of this team, now. Limit the turnovers. Pick up the pace that the bench plays at. Call timeouts when we need them. Keep the ball out of PG’s hands in last-second situations. Incorporate Lance with the bench unit more often. Win more nail-biter games. Draw up some plays that work.

            We need to be more dominant at home, because if we want to beat the Heat in the playoffs, we’ll have to win all of our home games (plus steal one on the road). We shouldn’t be fooling around with the 2-seed this deep into the season, Granger or no Granger. We should’ve had the 2-seed locked up weeks ago. This team has tons of potential, but so much of it depends on Vogel.

          • djmcba

            Turnovers aren’t on Vogel. Our offense was horrendous for the first 1/3 (if not a little more) of the season. Vogel encouraged the team to play looser, move the ball around, and it has resulted in a better offensive output. I absolutely agree that as of late we have gotten sloppy with the ball – you can’t put that all on Frank – but I agree he needs to tighten the screws on that front.

            I highly doubt that you or anyone was definitively claiming (knowing we were without Granger) that it would be no contest for us to get the two seed at the beginning of the year. I am not saying the Pacers aren’t talented, they absolutely are, but to say their performance is “not because of great coaching,” is misleading. It may not be the sole reason, but it is large factor, hence the attention Vogel is getting for coach of the year.

            Frank is a damn good coach and a great defensive coach. His obvious area of weakness is drawing-up plays – and lately his clock management has been, as I believe someone initially put it, Andy Reid-esque. That said, blaming our clutch, last-minute issues solely on Frank is erroneous. His weakness in this area is magnified by the fact the Pacers don’t have a clutch go-to guy you can trust down the stretch. It’s much easier to draw up a play (or not draw up a play and say LeBron, do your thing like Spoelstra did last night) when you have a LeBron, Carmelo, Paul Pierce/KG. Kevin Durant, ect., etc. Last night, Doc’s drawn up play worked so flawlessly because of the level of attention we were paying to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, not Jeff Green.

            You can’t lay all the praise on the players and all the blame on the coach. Last night Vogel got out-coached at the end and the Pacer players got outplayed – they both failed. Most of the time when you see a team go for a 2 for 1 it isn’t the coach – it is a player who seizes the moment and as i’m sure you notice, the entire team walked up the floor on the final offensive possession with no sense of urgency. When that happened, Frank should have immediately called a time-out, but it shouldn’t have happened.

            You can’t blame the coach and absolve the players.

          • Jack Wright

            Frank is being considered for coach of the year–(I haven’t really heard this, but I assume it’s probably true)–because ignorant people around the country think that he has our team overachieving, which, as I said before, is not the case.

            And to the rest of what you said, in my opinion it’s the coach’s job to have his players ready for those close end-of-game situations. The team should always be prepared to handle those situations, both while they’re happening and before they happen. The team wasn’t prepared, and Vogel failed (once again) in preparing them in the actual moment.

            There’s no reason why we should be so bad in clutch situations. We have multiple weapons that we could utilize, but instead what usually happens is PG (the one guy who shouldn’t be taking those last-second shots) usually is isolated and either turns it over or throws up a brick.

            I guess I’m not blaming Vogel for 100% of our suckiness in the clutch. But I’ll lay 80% of it on his shoulders.

          • Jack Wright

            Oh and turnovers are absolutely on Vogel.. Of course they are!

          • NLP

            Frank isn’t going to fix anything you ask for because he doesn’t know how, everything about our offense is elementally and if the starters have a bad game we lose because Frank can’t find a way without them.

            A good coach doesn’t have this team with a 13-16 road record with losses at both the leagues worst home teams. A good coach knows how to make the bench work with this much talent on the roster especially 60 games deep into the year.

            If Frank was a good coach we would be better than 3-8 in games decided by 3 or fewer points. Those 8 defeats are tied for the league league and only Orlando has fewer wins with that many losses and they are the second worst team in the league.

            If Frank was a good coach we would be better than 15-17 vs teams .500 and better, Last year Frank only had us 15-20 in the same situation which is a big red flag IMO showing he has a hard time without a big talent gap.

            Frank is never going to win us a game by out coaching someone but he will cost us games by getting worked over by another coach.

          • lil-bang

            This is a question I have wondered for a long time, are the play calls that bad, or is the execution that bad? none of us are in the huddle so we don’t know. Its the players and coaches fault…Do Lebron, Carmelo, Kobe get special plays drawn up for them? No they just get the ball and get to shoot. Someone just needs to step up and want the ball when the game is on the line and get the job done…Danny is the only guy on the team right now(well if he was healthy) that I honestly think wants to do that…Also who wouldn’t just rely on a jumper, who would try to get the foul line if that is what it took. If Paul George wants to be ‘the man’ on this team he needs to work on being the ‘the man’ on offense late in games and say give me the ball, I’m going to shove it down their throats instead of being lazy and not attacking the basket

          • NLP

            Wow you are one dumb son of a bitch, and the king of hyperbole as well a product of an incestuous relationship which would explain your lack of IQ and common sense.

          • Joe Betz

            King of hyperbole? After this rant, I think you take the crown. The Pacers shot below 40% from the field, had several turnovers, and were still in a position to win the game, which they did not do. The final two possessions could have been better, and we can blame the coach for those two plays, but not for the Pacers general inability to hit open jump shots some nights.

          • lil-bang

            NLP you’re the one who comes out with the stats saying West and George need more shots, so how can you use that against Danny?

          • lil-bang

            Pacers bench:

            Stephenson(except this year)- would not be in the league anymore if Larry Bird didn’t stick with him

            Green-could be somewhere else, but even the horrible nets last year didn’t really try to resign him

            Hansbrough T.- part of possible trades from Bobcats and memphis last couple season, could be somewhere else doing what he does here, maybe a little more PT but not much

            Hansbrough B.- wouldn’t be in the league if it weren’t for Pacers front office

            Mahinmi- would be somewhere else doing what he does-has a ring

            Augustine-Bobcats didn’t want to resign him but would probably be a backup somewhere else

            Pendergraph-every analysts was shocked the Pacers signed them for what they did and thought it was a risk

            Young-no one picked him up when we released him

            Plumlee and Johnson- doubt either one of these guys would have been drafted as high as they were

            To say our bench players would get more PT somewhere like Boston, Chicago, or San Antonio is a little stretch (unless the had the flood of injuries they have had this year), I like the Pacers bench, but Vogel has done the right thing about letting the starters play 35-40 minutes a night…because that’s what it takes to go far in the playoffs.

            Took the Heat starters over a year to get use to playing with each other…so how do you expect the pacers bench to get use to each other so quickly? one that got completely changed and also taking one away to put in the starting rotation with Danny out

            Vogel has done a good job figuring out the rotations of the lineup with Danny out.
            To say that Vogel is a bad coach I think is way wrong, but he does need to improve on somethings-play calling, time management, but he is young just like these players, so they will all make mistakes.

    • Will

      At first glance I thought Nik Pekovic was spending his time being injured moonlighting as a Pacers fan. My bad Petrovic. I’m with you though. I was thinking exactly the same thing. Call a time out, set up a high percentage, quick hitter. Give yourself a chance to tie or win the game with a guaranteed final possession (barring a missed box out, etc). Felt confident throughout the game, however. Ending sucked. They’ll learn…I think.

    • Ian

      2 for 1 is one of the biggest peeves of the stats crowd. It’s been shown that pretty much ANY shot in order to get a 2 for 1 is better than nothing, and a lot of teams don’t know to push it (it shows that maybe the smartest player in the NBA, Chris Paul, is an expert at getting 2 for 1s).

  • NLP

    Since Hansbrough gave us 19-10 on 13 shots filling in as a starter back on February 13th when West was out he’s taken just 10 shots in non garbage time situations over 8 games and most all of them have been jumpers with a couple coming off his own rebounds and defense and just 4 FT in the last 6 games in non-garbage time play.

    If we have no plans to use him at all anymore why didn’t we take whoever called us about him up on the trade offer since there is no shot in hell he will be back in 2013-14 anyway. With the PF depth we have and no PT for it seems like we dropped the ball big time there by failing to at least getting something rather than nothing for him.

    In games where Tyler takes 2 or less shots and fails to get to the line at 5 or more times the Pacers are 3-6 and have been outscored in 8 of 9 games by a total of 154 points. The lone game the Pacers won the bench battle saw the Lakers only net 5 points while we had 20 and Ian lead the way with 11 playing 30:03 for Roy who fouled out, the rest of the guys shot 2-of-19.

    Random shooting numbers:

    Much like the trend of his other seasons Tyler is shooting 31.5% in games under 5 FGA, but is shooting 48.5% when getting over 5 FGA. Lance is now shooting 42.4% in games where he’s taken 10 or more shots, and much like Tyler is shooting 34.4% with less than 5 shots but in the 5-9 range he’s rocking a 52.6% clip.

    Ian is the somewhat the opposite of Tyler as he’s shooting 42.8% on 5 or more shots and that’s with that great 6-for-6 game he had earlier in the year, but is at 52.1% when getting 4 or less shots which is likely a benefit of being accustom to the role over his first four years of getting limited shots. While DJ has been bad all the way up the ladder but somehow has managed 47.2% in a small sample size 4 games at 8 or more shots attempted.

    Paul George is at 36.0% when taking less than 12 shots this year and 47.6% when he tops 18 shots and 41.2 in the 12-18 range. Roy is at 36.4% when taking more than 14 shots. West shoots 45.3% when he gets under 15 shots and when he takes 15 or over it spikes to 51.5%. Hill shoots 41.3% when he reaches 15 or shots or more and 47.0% with 14 or less.

  • Joe Betz

    The Pacers have given away ~5 games this year. The gap between Miami and Indiana looks wider each time the Pacers don’t find a way to win games they should have won….

    • Nik Petrovic

      lebron just attempted and made his first and only true* game winner as a heat player tonight. that’s what i would be worried about, after 9 years, he is no longer afraid to shoot with the game on the line (even if it was a layup)

      *tied or trailing with 10 seconds or less to remaining. (i.e. no real chance at a two for one if missed)

    • lil-bang

      That doesn’t even include how many they almost gave away…

    • Ian

      Maybe but the stats don’t play that out. Our margin of victory is way worse than the Heat’s (and worse than several teams out west). We remember the close losses but not the close wins.

      • lil-bang

        Most of the close wins the Pacers have against good teams are ones where they are blowing them out and nearly let it slip away.The Pacers haven’t stole a game against a good team this season, they need a game like the Knicks game last season…which they nearly did vesus the Clippers, but couldn’t close out the comeback.

  • lil-bang

    Well even though they don’t have Vogel’s grade on here tonight…I give him an F…this is the reason I wanted his grade on here so maybe people would be able to see what Vogel is good at and what he isn’t good at…I think everyone knows now that Vogel is bad at play calling (unless his players are just that bad at execution).
    Plus his time management at end of games…games where the Pacers don’t need a bucket and just need to run out the clock, they fire quick shots…games they need to get one or two more buckets to seal it, they dribble out the clock and don’t do 2 for 1′s…

    I know alot of people don’t think the Pacers need Danny, but he alteast has the balls to drive to the basket and get to the foul line when the game is on the line or atleast get a decent shot at the basket, something PG hasn’t learned yet. It also seems like Paul George’s offense disappears at the end of the fourth quarter in close games, its his out coming party this year, and this is the number one thing he needs to work on. If you want to be the man, be the man.

  • lil-bang

    Pacers biggest weakness has shown up the last 2 games. They can’t put games away. In the playoffs a loss like last night will change a series and pretty much end one against a team like the heat. They have had this problem for years, look back at the bulls series 2 years ago…they have to fix this to even get past the second round of the playoffs.

  • lil-bang

    Maybe I’m missing it on the schedule but I believe the Pacers are down 2-0 in the series with the Celtics and only play them one more time

  • Jack Wright

    The only reason i’m okay with PG taking 22 shots on a night when he couldn’t make jack sh*t is because whenever he passes, the ball ends up in the opposite team’s hands.

    And this game shows how important it is to have a great (or at least good) coach. Step it up, Vogel.

  • Jack Wright

    and whoever’s in charge of keeping track of turnovers apparently doesn’t know how to count. PG had 3 TOs in the first quarter alone, and I know he had more throughout the rest of the game. And this happens just about every game.

    I’m just really frustrated with the team right now. We looked so good after the All-Star break but have completely regressed since then. That’s our 3rd straight piss-poor home performance.

  • dwaink

    Pacers played terrible again in this game, no one knows how to finish around the rim(coaching problem) and yet they had a chance to win this game. Seemed like the bench was just cold, hell everyone was cold and we had a double digit lead for a decent amount of the game(coaching problem) and still let it slip away. The Celts are a team we are very likely to face in the playoffs and from the out come of this game…i don’t like our chances(coaching problem), it isn’t that we can’t beat them, it is that we don’t know if we can put them away(coaching problem).

    Love this team, see them deep in the playoffs with a solid chance at the finals, but someone is going to have to figure out how to win games when no one has the hot hand, and that is solid play calling. This team better drop some consistency(read that “nads”) fast or we are going to collectively be pulling our hair out in the playoffs(player problem). All that said…GO PACERS!!!

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