Post-Game Grades: Pacers Dominate Hawks to Take 2-0 Series Lead

george hill 2

Indiana is just better than Atlanta. Not necessarily the cities (though probably) but the professional basketball teams in those places.

This was a strange game in many ways, but there was nothing odd about the outcome. When the Pacers playing really well, the Hawks just can’t hang. Atlanta has a few very good players. But they also have several below-mediocre guys who are getting minutes. Unless something exceptional happens, they will continue to have trouble winning.

Unfortunately for them, there was too much normalcy tonight, and the outlier plays for the positive were mostly on the Pacers’ side of the ledger. There was the Roy Hibbert dunk. The Roy Hibbert three (that didn’t end up counting). The Gerald Green dunk. The other, football-route-catch Gerald Green dunk to end the third quarter. And there was D.J. Augustin hitting back-to-back threes.

Too much Indiana, even with Lance Stephenson heading to the locker room for a while after a hard landing gave him a hip bruise (following a bad call that claims he committed a charging violation). And too much Georges. Paul and Hill were both marvelous.

As he does, Kelly Dwyer broke down the game adeptly and summed it all up pretty well.

Indiana is outhustling the Hawks, and the team’s execution (especially in plays directly following a timeout, a credit to Pacer coach Frank Vogel) is clearly superior. The Pacers won’t be able to bottle the 220 points they scored in the first two games of this series to use later, but they know damn sure how to get to those digits.

In short, the Hawks can’t hang with a well-executing Pacers team.

Things may change in Atlanta. Home court can do that. Indiana aint great on the road. It’s also just tough to beat a good team three times in a row. Are the Hawks a good team? Probably. No better than that. But probably good.

Still, it’s looking a lot like the Pacers should be able to win one of the next two games in Atlanta and have little trouble closing this one out in five or six games.

As we expected.

ATL IND

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 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-7 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +3

 

Non-factor on offense.

Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 11-21 FG | 4-7 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +24

 

No triple double this time, but still the best player in the series thus far. Got it done, dropping near 30 for a team that will often need him to do just that.

Roy Hibbert, C 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +18

 

Ivan Johnson will be survived by Anthony Mason, under-used hair clippers and that guy who runs the grill shop where he bought his fronts.

George Hill, PG 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +23

 

Making shots, taking names.

Lance Stephenson, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +2

 

Didn’t play much after falling hard on a drive and bruising his hip. Could be a lingering issue for a while.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +23

 

If he plays this way all playoffs, the Pacers ceiling rises.

Jeff Pendergraph, PF 15 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2

 

Didn’t like what he brought to the game tonight.

Sam Young, SF 8 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9

 

Some nice minutes. A wonderful steal.

Gerald Green, SF 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11

 

His approach to the game is often off-putting to watch, but he made shots tonight. And that dunk. Oh my, that dunk.

Ian Mahinmi, C 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8

 

Garbage time.

Ben Hansbrough, PG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8

 

Garbage time.

D.J. Augustin, PG 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2

 

Hit back-to-back threes. They were big for a bench run that was sorta shaky but able to match Atlanta through shot-making.

Orlando Johnson, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

 

Garbage time.

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  • djmcba

    Good:
    Frank Vogel getting praise for plays after timeouts
    A Dependable Pendergraph – Dependergraph
    T.Hans locked into successful Psycho-T mode
    Gerald Green finding the net
    The George’s

    Bad:
    It’s only Atlanta

    • Realist

      <3 Dependergraph

  • Philip Tarrant

    I really don’t know how you didn’t like what Pendergraph brought to the game tonight. He was great in the minutes he played providing much more than you’d expect out of a 3rd string center and more than an average backup as well. He was active on both ends of the court, knocked down a timely jumper, kept balls alive on the offensive glass, and had a nice putback. I think the dude deserves a little higher than a C+ for that type of game when he only played 15 minutes and (I felt) made easily as big of an impact as Psycho T (who you gave a B?).

    • Phil McGee

      Fully agree.. Wasn’t happy to see JP taking Mahinmi’s minutes at first, but he changed my mind quickly. I guess Vogel knows a thing or two about the guys he’s paid to know..

      • Derek U

        Ian has been playing like garbage as of late. Nice to see Pende getting some minutes, he’s been fantastic in the pick n roll defense that hte Pacers have been struggling with.

    • Joe Betz

      Agreed. Also, Tyler missing three free throws is not good at all. He has to be a +75% shooter in the playoffs, because that’s his game: get fouled, try for the and 1, and make free throws. When the second unit needs points, Tyler’s ft’s need to drop.

      Hopefully Ian’s benching will bring his game up, like it has with Green’s and Pendergraph’s. Gotsta have production from the second unit bigs to win big games

    • djmcba

      Feel like jwade is trolling all the people who get bent out of shape about game grades with the pende grade…

      • Philip Tarrant

        quite possible haha

  • Tanay Ghosh

    Pendergraph a C+ and Sam Young a B-? You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me!

  • TheFather

    If you didn’t like what Pendergraph brought to the game tonight then I have to assume you didn’t watch much of it.

    • TheFather

      Of course someone would not have to watch this game to know that 8 points and 7 rebounds in 15 minutes is stellar for a guy who has just earned the backup center responsibilities.

  • Zack

    I’m hoping the comment about Pendergraph and the C+ is a joke. It is a joke right? How could you not love what he brought to the game? 8 points on 4/6 shooting, 7 boards and great hustle in only 15 minutes? I’ll take that every game from a backup big.

    • Derek U

      That’s what I’m trying to figure out. His PnR defense was great, kept them out of the paint and take the chance on jump shots.

      Then I see that Sam Young B-… yeah…..

  • Paul Hill

    Ya know I just could not give Hibbert an A- when he cost the team points and fouls due to walking up the floor and sometimes not even bothering to walk to the other end! It became more apparent being there than watching on TV where just don’t see the times he doesn’t even try. Yes, I know he got 3 blocks and influences a lot of plays but it is really frustrating when you think how really good he could be if he had his head on straight.

    • Paul Hill

      Perhaps he got the A- for the monster dunk. As much as I loved it that does not counter all of the walking up and down the floor.

      • Derek U

        or the fact that he was efficient, and controled the paint, that’s why he got an A. You’re talking about like 4-5 plays. You can’t expect a 7’2″ 250 pounder to run the break every play. I want him to play 30 minutes, not try to play to Atlanta’s pace and play 25 and forcing plays.

        • Paul Hill

          He had a good game just not an A. As far as the 4-5 plays he didn’t bother running the floor … how many points is that? We may need those 4 or 6 points in the next playoff game. There are plenty of 7 footers that run the floor. Kevin Garnett for one and Cody Zeller for two. I’m just saying if he can find what it takes to run the floor he will help the Pacers and himself individually achieve greater results.

          • kxd

            Cody Zeller isn’t running the floor with NBA big men yet, and he’ll have a huge adjustment period at the next level. He won’t be anywhere near great soon if ever. And I like the guy. Just being honest about my opinion.

  • evawheel

    I agree with everybody here. Your Pendy grade is just silly.

    The bench easily played their best game of the season. I’ll wait until the next couple of games to say they’ve turned the corner but I honestly didn’t think they had it in them.

  • Derek U

    Not sure of the Pendergraph grade. 7 boards, 4/6 shooting, was solid in the pick n roll defense, hit a couple great jumpers, and that putback he tossed in there. Not sure if you were watching the same game. He’s been playing great as of late being the swing big. Was playing center with David West in there, West got into more foul trouble moved over to PF and played alongside Roy.
    You give you Pende a C+, but have the nerve to give Sam Young a B-. All I can really say is WTF. Glad you aren’t being lazy just giving everybody A’s or everybody F’s, but seriously, c’mon.

    • Derek U

      I mean, damn. I know the box score doesn’t really show the game, but when you compare the grades from Tyler, to Pende, to Young.. How are you grading. I did watch the game. Young was terrible per the norm (Why do you bother touching the ball? You try to turn it over, take terrible shots, and at times make me question who is the better dribbler, me or you), Tyler played hard but when you say “If he plays this way all playoffs, the Pacers ceiling rises” So going 2-6, and 1-4 from the FREETHROW, the ceiling rises? 6 boards is nice, but I expect him to hit his easy shots, and his freebies. 6 rebounds is nice, but when 3 of them are offensive, and 2 of those offensive are likely his own shot……

      re-grade pende homie, re-grade. Makes your other grades look worthless.

      • NLP

        JP should have a higher grade and no doubt better than Sam but tying to knock Tyler to get JP higher is comical when Tyler came in and saved the day in the first half with West on the bench with fouls.

        Tyler was a +23 in the that game and was tied with Hill for second on the teams behind PG’s +24 the next best bench player was +11 and JP was just +2. West went out in a tie game and Tyler can in and played with the starters and built a 8 point lead by the time West came back in.

        The missed FT were bad for Tyler but he did get to the line, And while the 2-of-6 shooting looks bad on paper but the two misses were tip shots shots the first of which he was credited for a shot because the ball hit the backboard fighting for a rebound and the ball wasn’t even near the rim the second he kept alive leading to a three pointer and none of these 3 offensive rebounds were off his own miss and he also added in a pair of assists and a steal.

  • Ransome Marshall

    He must have mixed the analysis between Pender and Hans. Simple mistake other analysis spot on.

  • Ian

    Utterly mystified (like everyone else) by the Pendergraph comment/grade.
    I am mostly worried that Atlanta and Indiana are two teams that both play better at home. If the Pacers have any kind of letdown they could EASILY drop game 3.

  • dwaink

    Go Pacers!!! and don’t get hurt anymore!

  • NLP

    I’m just glad we found a team who we have a better bench over.

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