Post Game Grades: Pacers Drop Pivotal Game 4, Series Headed to At Least Six Games

The Pacers came out of the gates looking like a completely different team than the one that didn’t show up in Game 3. They took a 21-14 lead 9:30 minutes into the game by pounding the ball inside to Roy Hibbert and David West.

Then the Game 3 Pacers’ disappearing act ended. They allowed the Hawks to end the quarter on a 7-0 run, including a completely unacceptable Devin Harris layup with no time left on the shot clock.

The bleeding continued into the 2nd quarter, which the Hawks turned into a 15-1 run. Allowing a 15-1 run at any point in a game is going to make it very difficult to win no matter how well you play the rest of the game. The Pacers started settling for long-range shots and not even attempting to get into the paint. At one point I was sure I was watching a three-point shootout between Kyle Korver/Josh Smith and DJ Augustin/Gerald Green. (Advantage: Hawks)

That is not Pacers basketball.

Pacers basketball is setting the pace despite what the other team is attempting to do. When they don’t succeed in setting the tempo, they attempt to do things that this roster just isn’t built for. Misses on threes lead to long rebounds and easy transition chances for the opponents. In Games 3 and 4, the Pacers attempted 25 and 23 three pointers, respectively. They averaged 19.7 three-point attempts per game during the regular season.

This game showed how bad Gerald Green can be at times. When he finally hit a three in the second quarter, he followed it up on the very next possession by failing to get around a screen on defense that left Korver open for an uncontested three (which he drained). I fail to understand how Orlando Johnson has yet to get any (significant) minutes in this series.

At the end of the first half, the Pacers trailed 59-40. Between the 2:30 mark in the first quarter to the end of the first half, the Pacers got outscored 43-19. In that span they attempted 11 of their 24 shots from beyond the arc, with only seven attempts in the paint.

A tweet by Andrew Perna of Real GM (after the game), summed up the Pacers defensive failings so far in this game — and series.

They came out of the half with a completely different intensity, however.

The defense was completely locked in, and they were able to cut the lead to seven after a 22-12 third quarter. In the period, they held the Hawks to an insane 15% shooting.

Here’s a look at how dominant the Pacers D can be when it’s at its best.

Hawks 3rd Q game4

Unfortunately, the offense is still suspect and wasn’t able to capitalize completely.

Throughout the entire 4th quarter, the game was within reach for the Pacers, but they showed why they’re still a young team. The Hawks missed a ton of free throws, and the Pacers didn’t take advantage of it. Paul George, who had his moments in the quarter, tried to do too many things down the stretch, and the team allowed too many open threes and offensive rebounds.

Now Indiana has a must win Game 5 coming up at home.


Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me (@a928man), Jared (@8pts9secs) or Tim (@TimDonahue8p9s) on Twitter.

David West, PF 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -2

What is going on with him? He looks like he isn’t 100% in the game which is completely uncharacteristic for him.

Paul George, SF 41 MIN | 6-16 FG | 6-8 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | -7

Tried to do too much late in the game. Made a couple threes then missed two, one of which he completely tried to create on his own. He’s not that kind of player yet …

Roy Hibbert, C 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +1

Foul trouble limited what he was able to do. When he was in during the second half he was contesting every shot the Hawks took at the rim.

George Hill, PG 41 MIN | 4-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -5

Ouch. Can we start Lance at point instead? His hip seems to really be a problem; he’s missing everything.

Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +4

Wow. Good morning Lance. 8 assists? Lot’s of energy in the 2nd half.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -10

More or less a non factor.

Gerald Green, SF 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -14

Where is OJ?

Ian Mahinmi, C 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -7

Very solid minutes with Roy n foul trouble.

D.J. Augustin, PG 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -15

Man has DJ been good this series. Starting to hit his threes.

Topics: 2013 Playoffs, Pacers/Hawks

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  • djmcba

    Damn these have been two frustrating games. PG put it well after the game saying their play is night and day when playing home and away which it shouldn’t be.

    This is starting to remind me of the beginning of the Granger era. While this team has showed a ton of promise and PG looks to have a much higher ceiling than Danny, the reality of playoff basketball is showing that they maybe aren’t who we hoped they were (yet).

    Still think we get it together back home, but the lack of moves at the deadline and lack of Granger is starting to show itself as a debilitating cap to this year’s potential.

    Go ‘cers – only game that matters is the next one.

  • planecrush31

    pacers suck,the worst 3rd seed that came to the playoffs

    • Realist

      Dallas (3) were 2-2 with Portland (6) after blowing a 20 point lead in Game 4 in 2011. They turned out okay.

    • Buster78

      Considering the other 3 seed, Denver, is down 3-1 to a Golden State team missing its only all-star (and needed a last second layup by a 37 year old point guard for their one win), the Pacers might not even be the worst 3rd seed in this year’s playoffs

    • lil-bang

      Well if they suck then so do the other 22 teams they had better records than this season, and also the 25 other teams they had better records than last season.

  • Jack Wright

    1. Where is D-West at?

    2. PG’s shooting over four games: 24 / 61 (39%) …Ouch.

    3. Hill’s shooting in the home games: 14 / 22 (64%) …Nice.

    4. Hill’s shooting in the away games: 5 / 23 (22%) …Little scared on the road, Hill?

    5. Keep shooting, Augustin. Just don’t ever drive it in. I’ve never seen a worse finisher at the rim.

    6. Pendy or Mahinmi?? Flip a coin.

    7. Green or OJ?? I’ll take the guy who knows how to play basketball. Which isn’t Green.

    8. Can we play some defense, please? Holy shit..

    9. Stay out of foul trouble, Roy. No more stupid reach-in fouls 20 feet from the basket.

    10. This series we’ll end in 6 games. A win at home will give us the confidence to go finish it off in Atlanta. But there’s a distinct possibility that nerves and pressure will cause us to lose tomorrow. If that happens, we’re toast in game 6. That’s my prediction.

    • lil-bang

      I prefer Mahinimi. If you’re a really good team you shouldn’t have to change your style of play based on another teams style of play. We have won with Mahinimi alot this season. Seems like the Pendy thing was a last season thing to try out and it kinda worked, but I don’t believe it should have been taken over and used every game for this series so far. Make ATL beat our style of play. Let’s not lose trying to play theirs.

  • lil-bang

    I won’t lie, I think Hansbrough’s defense has been the best against Horford and Smith, especially compared to PG’s. Tyler doesn’t give them any space, PG over emphasizes on one side and rely’s on some help when he is getting Iso-ed, which never works out. West is doing a decent job, but I think Tyler has done the best. He may not be greatly effective on the offensive end, but he slows down the game some and gets to the foul line.
    And for the love of God if Josh Smith gets another free open dunk not in transition I will just have to call this team the dumbest one in the league. Dude is atrocious at the line and yet he gets a hand full of uncontested dunks or put backs every game. Hack a Smith. Pacers win that ball game if they keep that doing that the last 4 minutes, trading 1 free throw for 2 the last 4 minutes and they overcome that 5 point defecit they appeared to be the stonewall number.

    This game is big. We will see how the team plays under real pressure.

    Man up for Pete sake West. Haven’t see the big bully yet this whole series. Hopefully your tank is full, but right now you’re playing like the old tired man who stands back just inside the three point line and looks to pass the ball or set screens.

  • Ian

    Is anyone really surprised by this? The top 5 seeds in each conference had winning records on the road… except the Pacers and the Nuggets. And look, both teams are struggling in their series. The Hawks and Pacers essentially had the same road records this season. The Pacers are a different team on the road and have been all season.
    97.6 PPG, .438 FG%, .371 3P%
    91.8 PPG, .434 FG%, .322 3P%
    Amazingly, over half of this is accounted for by Paul George:
    H 19.3 PPG, 6.9/15.5 FG, 2.7/6.4 3P, 446 FG% .424 3P%
    R 15.6 PPG, 5.6/14.3 FG, 1.6/5.5 3P, .292 3P%
    The rest is mostly Lance:
    H 10.1 PPG, 4.1/8.8 FG, .9/2.7 3P, .465 FG% .356 3P%
    R 6.6 PPG, 3/6.6 FG, .6/2.2 3P, .453 FG%, .292 3P%

  • planecrush31

    Pacers GM does not want to win that’s the fact or nobody wants to play
    in Indiana one thing or another.Never tried to bring in someone like
    Jamal Crawford or Rudy Gay or maybe PG like Eric Bledsoe or someone
    decent.Infact traded for scrubs Mahimi and Hill.Giving up Kawhi Leonard
    and Darren Collison was a very bad trade everyone knows it.And getting
    Gerald Green was stupid,I never considered him to even be a back up
    basketball player when he was drafted by Boston thats why they got rid
    of him.Now the Indiana fans will realise what All star Danny Granger is to a team that can not score,Paul George is not ready to be a leader of this team yet.Relying on inconsistent defense to win games will not work.If the Pacers lose game 5 they are in trouble,history says winner of game 5 will always win the series.