Post-Game Grades: Pacers Try Hard But Don't Lose to Hawks

Well, that certainly was a basketball game. Not as in “that was some game.” Just, that was a game. It’s rare that you see both teams embarrass themselves this catastrophically within 48 minutes of on-court action, but that is what went down tonight in The Fieldhouse.

The Pacers could do no wrong early.

Even though David West, George Hill and Lance Stephenson all sat our with injury (along with Danny Granger in his assigned seat on the sidelines), the team worked over the Hawks like a sparring partner. DJ Augustin, Gerald Green and Tyler Hansbrough all stepped into the starting unit and played well.

It was tied after the first quarter.

Paul George got it rocking right away in the second, throwing down a casually brilliant dunk in the half court. The run out had begun. Behind the majesty of Jeff Pendergraph and Orlando Johnson off the deep bench, Indiana started to disarm and then brutalize Atlanta.

Pendergraph had a quick 8 points on his first 4 shots. He was finishing alley-oops from Ben Hansbrough. Overall, he scored 12 points in the second quarter while Johnson nearly matched him with 11 (on 5-for-6 shooting). Orlando was hitting back-to-the-basket, turnaround fadeaways from 18 feet.

That type of quarter.

It was a 15-point lead at the half. (Although it could have been more if not for a few last-second blunders heading into the break. Thanks, Freddy Foreshadowing.)

The pedal didn’t leave the floor.

The Pacers continued to onslaught and added 7 more to the lead by the time there was 12 minutes left. It was 85-63 and seemed to be all over but the Hawks’ crying.

But that would have been way too easy.

Instead, Indiana coughed the ball up for an astounding 10 fourth-quarter turnovers as the Hawks continued to cut into the lead. But make no mistake: This wasn’t some instance of Atlanta’s best players catching fire and ripping off the nets.

Nope.

Those guys didn’t even play.

Ivan Johnson, DeShawn Stevenson, Shelvin Mack, John Jenkins and Mike Scott each played the entire fourth quarter. I watch an altogether unhealthy amount of NBA basketball and I’m still not 100% sure who Mike Scott is.

Much like the Pacers, however, that didn’t stop him from posted 5 points and 5 boards as his Hawks cut the once-28-point lead to 4.

What in tarnation was going on here?

Ultimately, the Pacers Mister Magoo’d their way into a few buckets (nice shot, Gerald Green) and the backups of the Hawks’ backups couldn’t convert a late bucket. So the Pacers won.

Stranger stuff has happened, I’m sure. I just can’t really recall it right now.

For instance, there were the Ben Hansbrough to Jeff Pendergraph alley oops. With an “s.” There were two. There was also a sequence in which Kyle Korver converted a four-point play after hitting a three plus the foul and then Orlando Johnson made a four-point play on the ensuing possession. I’m almost certain I’ve never seen that before.

So, sure, it was just a weird game.

But there is no excuse for that meltdown. A win is a win is a win so whatever. Still. C’mon. That’s really not a good look. No matter how many starters are taking the game off.

IND ATL

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 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +5

Third-quarter beast. He and Roy were attacking the paint like the Hanson Brothers.

Gerald Green, SF 23 MIN | 6-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +6

Took one of the most-questionable shots any NBA player has launched this season. But he made it: a wide-open three in the final 30 seconds with the Pacers up 4 and more than 20 seconds left on the shot clock. But he made it. Indiana up 7. He got a game-icing steal not long after.

Paul George, SF 42 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 13 PTS | -5

Had 4 of his team’s 10 fourth-quarter turnovers, and it felt like more. Wasted several other possessions working on his dribble-around-for-18-seconds moves. Was lazy on defense, swiping for steals and getting beat on cuts. Finished the fourth with a team-low plus/minus of negative 16. One of his worst quarters as a pro.

Roy Hibbert, C 37 MIN | 8-17 FG | 1-1 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +16

Starting to look like the Roy of last year again. But better on defense — and more respected by the officials who often give the benefit of the doubt on belly-to-belly contact at the rim.

D.J. Augustin, PG 36 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 6 PTS | +13

Wasn’t good individually and shot poorly, but ran some good offense and came up with some key plays late with good hustle on both ends of the floor. Then again … he was on the court for a lot of the meltdown.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 22 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +1

The best game he’s played in the NBA. Probably by a wide margin.

Sam Young, SF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +11

I need to just come up with a “Sam Young” grade. Not a lot to say ever.

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

Like that WR in every football movie that becomes all-pro after getting stick ‘em.

Ben Hansbrough, PG 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Didn’t miss a shot. Threw two alley-opps. Was Ben Hansbrough otherwise.

Orlando Johnson, SG 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | 0

Pulp can move, baby.

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