Post-Game Grades: Bench Shines As Pacers Wax Magic

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In many ways, this was just the age-old  story of “good team visits terrible team and breaks their soul early.” That’s the headline. But the takeaway for a team that is trying to make sure it is playing at its peak as the playoffs near is that the bench played really, really well.

Sure, it is just the Magic, but it doesn’t matter: Reserves accounted for 50 of the team’s 115 points.

The bench players, namely DJ Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough, really need a few games of success for the postseason hit so they can have some confidence that they can perform.

The team’s starting lineup is impeccable. They beat almost every opposing starting lineup they face and that alone could be enough to get Indiana to the Eastern Conference Finals. More likely, however, the Pacers will need to get some good production, at least in a key game or two, from the bench player.

Tyler doesn’t need to average a point per minute, but he will likely need to drop 15 in one second round win. Augustin doesn’t need to have a first-rate shooting percentage, but he will likely need to stick three big threes some third quarter.

All year long, there has been a lot of evidence that we shouldn’t expect these types of things to happen. But now, especially with the emergence of Orlando Johnson, the consistency of Ian Mahinmi, the defensive reliability of Sam Young and the potential lift from Danny Granger, it looks like there may be reason to think the bench can help as much as it hurts.

One excellent performance against Orlando proves nothing, but it does help minimize some of the horror-show reserve play we saw so often in the first half of the season.

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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 26 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +15

Rarely will West shoot worse than this.

Paul George, SF 27 MIN | 8-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | +17

This is the player who is a problem at both ends. Most impressive of all, he stuck 4-of-5 treys on the road, where he is 31.6% on the year.

Roy Hibbert, C 27 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +19

Lots o’ blocks.

George Hill, PG 22 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +15

I’m really enjoying the way he is taking control of possessions late in this season. Between that in the half court and Lance/PG’s ability to push the ball for easy hoops, this offense is really rounding into form.

Lance Stephenson, SG 28 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +20

Would have been almost as efficient as it gets had he made his freebies.

Miles Plumlee, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3

Got a board. (I’m gonna be honest on all these bench guys: Flipped over to see if Deron would break the three-point record so barely caught any 4th quarter action.)

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 20 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +8

There he is.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6

You know the Pacers are having a good game when you see #FirstHalfPendergraph.

Sam Young, SF 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +6

Sammy stuffing that stat sheet.

Gerald Green, SF 5 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +6

Best shooting night of the year?

Ian Mahinmi, C 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +7

Ian’d it up.

D.J. Augustin, PG 26 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS |+14

Really nice work while I was watching. Got some really, really good play out of the bench unit. And loved that Vogel left him and Tyler in there for a long stretch in the second quarter while they were balling out. Build that mental muscle memory of success.

Orlando Johnson, SG 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +9

Odd bad shooting night from the kid, but still liked the way he attacked.

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