Post-Game Grades: Deer Hunting

For 24 minutes last night, you had to wonder if this was going to be one of those games that the Pacers were going to end up regretting. They were leading – barely. Milwaukee had pounded them on their defensive glass, with the Bucks collecting 15 offensive rebounds. Indiana was very much in danger in a win that they really needed.

Then this happened:

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After hitting their first shot of the half, the Bucks missed their next 16 attempts, and the Pacers were helping them reach their epic levels of futility. The third quarter defensive performance may have been Indiana’s most dominant of the season. That’s saying something for a team that will basically lead the league in Defensive Efficiency wire-to-wire.

The 102-78 victory was built in a 28-11 third quarter. The Pacer D held Milwaukee to 3-for-21 shooting in the quarter. At one point late in the third, Milwaukee had only mustered a paltry 24 points per 100 possessions. That means they scored one point every four possessions, or made one basket every eight.

They ended the quarter with a 6-point “flurry” over the last three minutes, but still, the Pacer Defense had held the Bucks to 44 points per hundred in the quarter. By the 7-minute mark of the 4th, the run had extended to 44-20 in the half. From there, it was all over except for the shouting.

Chicago will prove a much sterner test tonight, but that kind of defense will beat anyone. Anywhere.

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.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 27 MIN | 8-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +20

Another start. Another double-double.

Paul George, SF 35 MIN | 7-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 20 PTS | +25

20, 8, & 6, and he made it seem relatively easy.

Roy Hibbert, C 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-6 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 7 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +19

Blocked shots. Lots of ‘em. That’s his job.

George Hill, PG 27 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +17

Quiet night offensively, but earned praise from Coach Frank Vogel post-game for his defensive effort on Brandon Jennings (1 point on 0-for-12 shooting in the 23 minutes he was on the floor with Hill).

Lance Stephenson, SG 27 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +17

Had trouble keeping track of his guy defensively, but hit the glass. Side note: if he plays 20 minutes per game over the last 13, he will have played 4 times as many minutes as he did in his first two seasons – combined.

Miles Plumlee, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0

Garbage time.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 21 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +4

Contributing when he gets the chance. Mid-range game is becoming solid.

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

Garbage time.

Gerald Green, SF 16 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +7

Quiet night, but a beautiful assist on a Pendergraph transition dunk.

Ian Mahinmi, C 18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +5

Also, doing his job.

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

Garbage time.

D.J. Augustin, PG 17 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +7

Hit his shots. I’ll take it.

Orlando Johnson, SG 14 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1

Not much, other than that vicious block.

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