Post-Game Grades: Pacers Mount Epic Fourth-Quarter Comeback to Beat Cavs

The Pacers started the game off looking like they were ready to end the two-game losing streak, going up 20-8 with 6 minutes left in the first quarter. Then the Pacers got outscored 76-44 over the next 30 minutes while shooting 30.4% and allowing the Cavs to shoot 59.6%.

It got so bad that I was starting to think that the Pacers might not even hold on to the third seed. The way they were playing, I thought they’d lose on Friday to the Nets, lose to the Knicks on Sunday, lose to the Celtics on Tuesday and maybe beat the Sixers, but already be locked into the fourth seed.

Then, towards the end of the third quarter, Frank Vogel got himself ejected from the game to try and inspire his team. It didn’t look like it was working going into the fourth quarter. The Pacers were playing as bad as they had all game long.

Then, all of the sudden, the Pacers started scoring some points. Then they started scoring some more points. Then they started getting a lot of defensive stops. Before you know it, Indiana went on a 17-0 run and cut a 20-point deficit down to 2.

The comeback was led by George Hill (the guy that always stops the bleeding) and great defense. Over the final 8 and a half minutes of the game the Pacers outscored the Cavs 29-6, on a 2-for-15 shooting performance from Uncle Drew & Co.

Kyrie Irving is one of the best fourth-quarter players in the NBA. Last year, for example, he led the league in clutch points per game (this year he ranks third). So it was good to see a Pacers team that has struggled recently in clutch situations force Irving into some pretty bad plays.

He got trapped right past half court with 50 seconds left and threw a lob which Lance Stephenson easily picked off and got to George Hill for the and one. And Jeff Pendergraph may have won the game when he slid over to thwart an Irving drive, drawing a charge that stood up to additional official scrutiny as the refs went to the monitors to ensure that Pendergraph’s foot was outside of the restricted area.

This was a nice win, but hopefully the Pacers can turn it into something and play some full games against the Nets, Knicks and Celtics. The Knicks, which dominated the Wizards tonight, might already have the second seed locked up by the time the teams meet Sunday, but a Pacers win against them would send a good message going into the playoffs.

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

Apparently still has the hops for an oop. Didn’t score too much late but had a nice block on Tristan Thompson and played good defense in general down the stretch.

Paul George, SF 33 MIN | 4-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +3

Played horrendous the first 3 quarters, thought he was playing his way out of the discussion of most improved. But he hit some big shots late, especially that 3 with 30 secs left.

Roy Hibbert, C 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | 0

Got off to another good start but didn’t get a lot of playing time late because of Pendy’s effectiveness. Also jumped on Pendy’s back after the game.

George Hill, PG 38 MIN | 9-15 FG | 8-9 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +14


Lance Stephenson, SG 33 MIN | 3-7 FG | 7-8 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7

Can we get Mike Woodson to do whatever he did to JR Smith on Lance? Imagine a consistent Lance.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 17 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-8 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -8

Typical Tyler game. Couldn’t make many of his free throws, though.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | +23

Drew the charge making Uncle Drew look like a young blood. Played top-notch defense for the entire fourth.

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

Got an offensive rebound which led to the DJ 3.

Gerald Green, SF 9 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -4


Ian Mahinmi, C 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -12

Had some nice offensive rebounds, didn’t make his free throws. (Also is it illegal for NBA players to wear wide receiver’s gloves with Stick em’?)

D.J. Augustin, PG 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | 0

Made a 2 then a 3 in the 4th which started the comeback. Was bad earlier in the game.

Orlando Johnson, SG 9 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -11He played?
Frank Vogel

His ejection, I guess, sparked the comeback. At least put Brian Shaw in position to play Jeff Pendergraph, whose pick-and-roll defense in the fourth was critical.

Tags: Game Recap

  • lil-bang

    I won’t lie, turned the game on driving home, heard they were down 20, changed the channel. Got home looked at my phone to see what the final score was, tie ball game. Turned to my wife who knew they were down 20. Told her, “Game is tied, F me, why did I look at this before it was over, Pacers are going to lose now”…I thought for sure I put the jenx on them, but they pulled it off. Amazing game Pacers, wish I would have listened to the rest of it.

    Appropriate time to put the Vogel grade in…wish alot more people were on here to discuss it. Wonder if they would have came back if he hadn’t been ejected? Didn’t watch the game really so I can’t comment on it, but would be interesting to know if Vogel would have run the same lineup or was this just Shaw being a genious?
    Side bar-Wonder how the Lakers would have been if Shaw was their coach this year? I would say not sweating to make the playoffs.

    • Derek Cooper

      Eh probably different nba assistant+head coaches would have alotta different lineups+ideas probably all4 pretty good reasons_ do u need hibberts rimprotecting or pendergraphs pick+roll defense more in a given situation?_ always a gamble based on a coaches observations+ interpretations +understanding of things__I’m glad JP got the call I’ve been rooting4him2get more mins. But overall its hard not2think vogals done well with the injuries+ bench issues+all even tho I have different opinions than him often_ the players seem2like him and he let’s them have a voice in decisions (I’ve read) so I think that’s worth a lot.

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  • dwaink

    can’t lie got so dejected in the third I quit watching, from that display(first 3 quarters) figured we would go 0-4 against whom ever our first round opponent is. PG has got to stop slinging the rock instead of passing it, coach V should have set his azz midway through the second…he was a liability
    why is this team so up and down?

  • DanDakichSUCKS

    doubt we lose another game this regular season. we got huge momentum from that comeback. knicks are on the verge of losing. only a matter of time, and it will be against us. We’ll finish the regular season with a record of 53-29. BOOK IT.

  • Guest

    Hill for president. Shaw for head coach. Vogel for assistant VP coach to the new coach/Jeff Pendergraph hype crew member.

  • dwaink

    espn’s dime

    5. One-On-One … To Five

    Five questions with Pacers center Roy Hibbert:

    Q: How close are the Pacers to where they should be heading into the playoffs?

    A: I’d say we’re getting there. Toward the end of the [regular] season, we all need to start peaking and buckling down. I think we’re gradually starting to do that.

    Q: I was watching NBA TV that night that you guys were way up on Atlanta at home and let them get back into it and then you went on the air [in a postgame interview on NBA TV] and ripped the whole team for not playing hard enough. How did that go over?

    A: I talked to some of the guys [afterward], some of the coaches. I think they were pretty happy with how I wanted to be a leader. … I just want to win so bad. And we have the capability to do it. We’re a better team than we were last year. I just don’t want us, as a team, to have any hiccups.

    Q: But I’m sure you know that pretty much all of us on the outside are already writing Miami into the Finals and saying no one in the East can touch ‘em. How much of an annoyance is that?

    A: They are the best team. They’re the king of the hill right now. They are the best team and went on an incredible streak. But there are other teams out there that are hungry to go out there and compete with them.

    Q: I know the season didn’t start off for you personally how you wanted, but how do you rate the state of your game right now?

    A: I’ve gotten past that. If I can’t score, I’m just going to be a defensive presence, block shots, get rebounds. Just be an all-around team player. … My teammates have been rallying around me, but I just want to take good shots and be a complete player. Don’t force things.

    Q: Was that part of the problem early? Trying to force things or pressing because you signed a big contract [in the offseason]?

    A: I had a wrist injury and it was affecting my touch. My wrist was a real big problem. I’d shoot [the ball] straight and it would be off a little bit to the right. But we got that fixed and I’ve been shooting a higher percentage and playing a little bit better. The confidence is there.

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