Post-Game Grades: Indiana Dominates the Boards Late, Wins Game 4 to Even the Series with Miami

There were a lot of clutch buckets, and the offense was very efficient overall. The Pacers shot 50% and only turned the ball over 12 times against a Heat team that usually doesn’t surrender those numbers.

But this was defense and rebounding more than anything.

That’s Pacers’ basketball.

They started right after the tip. The 11-0 lead looked to be excellent offense, and George Hill in particular started the game more ready to play than anyone. But the core of that start was defense.

Here were Miami’s first six possessions: Turnover, missed layup, missed jumper, missed jumper, missed jumper, missed jumper. That right there set the tone. That gave the Pacers all the confidence they needed following a Game 3 first half in which Miami tallied 70 points.

Then it was grind it out.

They relinquished most of that lead before the half, entering the break up just one.

That was a moment when this could have fallen apart. Indiana controlled the first half, and it felt like they should have walked into halftime up around eight. By the time Miami went up six points almost five minutes later, it looked like Indiana’s quest to make the Finals might be falling apart.

Nope.

They fought right back — and then some.

The Pacers scored the next 10 points and, again, were in the driver’s seat.

Around that time is when this game started to be, in the eyes of most onlookers, more about poor officiating than about great basketball. The fouls piled up and the frustration boiled over, with Indiana coach Frank Vogel picking up a technical foul after his All-Star Paul George was whistled for a loose-ball foul.

Still, the Pacers won the quarter and entered the final 12 minutes with a seven-point lead.

Against Miami, that is nothing to feel too secure about, but it was a good position to be in.

Then came the shot-clock violation. Or, the “shot-clock violation.” Roy Hibbert missed a shot off the iron with a little over eight minutes to play, and the Pacers got the offensive rebound. Tyler Hansbrough even finished the play with a bucket. But … it was waived off. The timekeeper didn’t reset the shot-clock and no official on the floor overruled that call.

Miami ball.

What?

Yup.

It was only two points. But it was a huge momentum swing that killed the good vibes that Indiana had been playing with ever since falling behind by six early in the third. They had been up nine. The game had seen the the Pacers out-play the Heat by 15 points since they trailed by six.

It was a big kick to the crotch.

But they didn’t let it be an excuse.

It definitely took them off their game, and that nine-point cushion was erased in just over three minutes. Miami even pulled ahead. It looked like “woe is me” time. Another questionable call — a George pass that appeared to go out of bounds off Ray Allen that was awarded to Miami — made it even worse.

They could have gone into Eeyore mode right then and spent the offseason upset with the officials and themselves for not responding to the adversity better.

That alternate reality never played out, however.

Instead, they made clutch play after clutch play down the stretch. It was great to see them respond so well.

Paul George started off the late dominance with a grown-man drive to the hoop to finish plus the harm.

Tie game.

Ray Allen would proceed to hit a miracle three and LeBron James would add another soon after, but the Pacers just kept scoring and kept grabbing offensive boards.

The Heat actually played pretty good defense at times late in the fourth on Indiana’s first shot attempt, but the bigs stayed active and kept getting their team extra looks at the hoop. They weren’t to be thwarted a second time.

With six offensive rebounds on 11 missed FGAs for the Pacers in the final period, the Heat had no way to contend. Roy Hibbert was an unstoppable monster — missing a hook shot then following up his own miss with a layup plus the foul — and Lance Stephenson made two huge buckets in isolation —  a pull-up jumper over Dwyane Wade and a drive for a short jumper in the lane.

That was all it took.

Amid the play-making and buckets, it was fitting that they closed the game as they started it, however.

Miami’s final four possessions: turnover (Lebron illegal screen that fouled him out), turnover (Wade travel), missed jumper, missed jumper, missed jumper.

Yup. Defense and rebounding.

“They got all the loose balls and long rebounds in the fourth quarter,” said Erik Spoelstra after the game.

Overall, Indiana out-rebounded Miami 17-8 in the final 12 minutes while holding LeBron and company to 7-for-19 (36.8%). That’s what they do and that’s what they did.

Series tied 2-2.

The poor officiating (add LeBron’s offensive foul and Wade’s travel to the list, along with other questionable calls and reviews) will be a major story line nationally. And that’s a shame. Because the players on the court (and not just Indiana … Allen hit an amazing three and LeBron hit a clutch triple himself) were doing marvelous things in between the whistles and the controversy. (UPDATE: Wade didn’t walk, LeBron did illegally screen.)

Ultimately, however, it doesn’t really matter.

Because if this series continues to be as gritty, well-played and entertaining as it has been, nobody will really care about this game anyway. It will just be one of the first four that set up the best-of-three yet to come.

It should be fun.

Miami Indy

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 39 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +6

Went 3-for-3 while playing all 12 minutes in the third quarter as the Pacers won the period. Seven second-half boards. Mr. West was in the building.

Paul George, SF 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | +3

Was not aggressive enough early and got into foul trouble while seeming to be taken out of his game by the (poor) officiating. Had a huge and-one late though and made his FTs.

Roy Hibbert, C 40 MIN | 10-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | +5

Monster. Need to take back anything I’ve ever said about his inability to finish strong and play like a 7’2″ guy. He has been the biggest player — and not just literally — for the Pacers in this series. Had three huge offensive boards in the fourth, including one on his own hook shot miss that he laid in while getting an and-one, a foul that was LeBron’s fifth.

George Hill, PG 39 MIN | 4-13 FG | 9-10 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +4

Don’t be fooled by the shooting percentage. He was the heart and soul of the attack in many ways, something best illustrated by a clutch defensive board when he dove on the floor, secured the ball and called a timeout. Played all but 33 seconds of the final 24 minutes, and scored 7 points in the games first two minutes to set the tone for a Pacers’ win. Made free throws.

Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 9-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +14

He is the proverbial X-factor. It was his inspired play that was the most instrumental in closing out the Knicks last series and he brought it again tonight. Aggressive drives and good defense. He had three of the biggest plays of the game: fadeaway 3 to end the third, his pull-up jumper with 3:30 to play and a drive/finish with a minute left to put Indiana up 4.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +1

Gave some good minutes in the first half at a time when the Pacers’ bench often backslides.

Sam Young, SF 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +7

Some of his finest work. Stepped in to guard LeBron when George found himself in foul trouble and did a nice job throwing timely double teams at James when he was off ball. Had a nice little dunk.

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

Missed a few rotations but did a good job inside most of the time. Not much production but had a presence.

D.J. Augustin, PG 18 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -9

Similar to Mahinmi. Nothing big stat wise but his assists show that he was able to be a factor in what was at times a stagnant offense.

Frank Vogel

Orchestrated some good adjustments that didn’t allow James to dominate on the block like he did in Game 3.

Tags: 2013 Playoffs Game Recap Pacers Vs. Heat

  • Andrew Sparks

    You gave Vogel an A. I was curious of what the analysts would say about Hibbert not being in at the last 15 sec of the sec 2nd 1/4 of this game. Low and behold
    they commented, resorting back to game 1 in final seconds of that game. I
    agree with just about everything that has been said in the dissection.
    That being said, earlier this week I read a poll about “who is the
    better coach, Vogel or Spoelstra”. Spoelstra won by 1%. Cheers to the
    rest of the nation about not knowing a god D^%$# thing about basketball.
    Vogel deserves an A+ for sticking to his guns.

    • Derek U

      he took him out at the end of the half, and end of the 3rd I believe. The bigman has to rest, and can’t afford tacky fouls with 30 seconds remaining. He wont make the mistake at taking him out at the end of the game when the game is on the line, I can tell you that much.

  • Eric

    Hey Jared great stuff as usual. Would you ever consider adding a short grade for the opposite team aswell?

  • Daily Mail

    Uh, dude, you gotta broaden the grading scale. Just because a player made important plays doesn’t mean they deserve an A. Paul George played a bad game on offense, and while his D on Lebron is important, he was not a B+ tonight.

    • Realist

      He got a B, not a B+

      The grades all around are generally skewed higher when the team wins and lower when the team loses.

      Although we’ve only had grades for the wins this series, so that’s kinda disappointing.

    • wesmont

      Paul George was an F for much of this game.They gave him5TO’s,he forced the action and passed poorly or lost the ball,what felt like a dozen times tonight.I cringed every time he had the ball on offense.With Miami unable to stop West or Hibbert there is NO excuse for Paul George blowing so many possessions.I give him a C-because of his D on LBJ.

      • Realist

        Yeah, his turnovers are brutal, especially when he has so little production. But 12/8/3 and 2 blocks wasn’t a complete egg. B or C is about right.

        • Realist

          Chris Bosh wishes he had those numbers. :p

  • Pingback: Won’t Back Down: Pacers Deny Heat in Game 4 to Even Series 2-2 | The Darko Index

  • Nathaniel Bogan

    I don’t know if I agree the lebron and wade calls were questionable… especially the lebron call. he clearly stepped on lance’s foot and was moving the whole time. Other than that, I think these are pretty fair grades.

  • Tanay Ghosh

    Can’t help but notice how posts come up pretty early when the Pacers win, and don’t seem to be up for a long time on days when they lose. :)

    #PacerPride

    • Derrick McKey fan

      Agree. Coaching grades are also a bit inflated.

    • lil-bang

      Yeah, what determines if they do the post game grades? Haven’t seen any in a few games.

      • http://www.8points9seconds.com/ Jared Wade

        Happenstance, guys. Been flying around the country going to games and have a 9-5 job as well. When it comes down to either grades or actual analysis of what happened, the more trite stuff usually falls by the wayside first. We try hard to get it all covered, but real life and not dying of sleep deprivation have been factors of late. We regret not getting grades up for every game.

        • Paul Hill

          I didn’t realize you had a day job. This is a great site and appreciate the grades when you can. I don’t always agree with them and enjoy your thought provoking statements.

        • lil-bang

          I assumed that was the case. Thanks Jared and Tim.

        • Tanay Ghosh

          There’s a reason we’re posting here and are in a position to make observations. And the reason is simply that we enjoy the mostly great work on this site, and it’s a brilliant platform to understand our team better.

  • Jesse

    PG was so frustrated with himself yesterday. He needs to to be focused and poised for the next game. I don’t think the Pacers win in Miami with another dud game from him. And wow, was it fun to watch Hibbert take over at the end of the game. His confidence is soaring right now. It’s hard imagining him getting down on himself again.

  • Ian

    There were several calls on LeBron that normally aren’t called, but you could say that about the whole game. West got called for that same screen in game 3 if I recall, and LeBron got away with a hack on George Hill that was credited as a clean steal. Finally George got many of the same ticky-tack calls that LeBron did. The only reason he didn’t foul out was because he only played 30 minutes while LeBron played 43. Also, are they ever going to fine Battier? What’s the point of having fines for flopping when everyone in the world (including his own teammates and the announcers) acknowledge that he’s flopping and nothing is done?

    Wade’s travel was clearly a travel and the fact he looked sort of hesitant made it easier to call. Typically players that make forceful, confident moves are less likely to get called for the walk.

    The officials were truly awful in this game. All the pointless reviewing, the blown 24 second call, etc. I don’t think any neutral fan could say they favored one team over the other, they were just awful all around.

    • Jack Wright

      yeah.

  • lil-bang

    What happend to the Paul George from round 1? The one who looked at who was guarding him and said “oh you’re smaller than me, I’m dunking on your face” In this series that would pertain to Ray Allen, which George appears to be afraid of. He must be either really tired and getting a littly lazy not attacking, or not feeling confident. Regardless the Pacers need that guy back to win this series

    Also when Wade has 5 fouls on him with 5 minutes left…attack him on the offensive side, he is either going to foul you or give you the easy bucket…

    Agree with most grades: A for Vogel is good. Got an T that I feel was due for some Pacer with the way that game was going so I’m glad it was him. Didn’t agree with him taking Hill out in the first. Hill was cold the first half once he took him out, let the hot hand ride out coach…

    PG I would have given a C, if you noticed the Pacers were controlling that game until Paul was starting to sling the ball all over ther court, plus passing an inbound straight to Lebron out of a timeout “C’mon Man”…Lance and Hill should be the only ones bringing it up.
    GO Pacers!!!

  • dwaink

    yeah I think wade walked before the whistle, then he made that weird move and the ref said “oh I missed that walk lemme make it up”…wtf was up on that shot clock debacle, that was just pathetic and could have easily swung the game away from the Pacers…what, one more monitor trip was too many? Pacers ….all….played again, no moping around by Lance and while PG didn’t show up until the second half…at least he showed up.
    great win Pacers, but now the real work comes, Miami has not lost back to back games yet…it is time to break their spirit…don’t just win this next game in Miami…dominate it, move that Miami team around the court like they are helpless to stop u…and if u let yer heads wrap around it, they are helpless to stop u when u all give it everything u have on every damn play…break their spirit, bring em home and crush the bastards…then hang on to yer hats cause the Spurs ain’t playin’

    I almost wish coach V would say…don’t say another damn word about calls to his players, then tell the refs, my guys aren’t going to say shit this game…u may have to Tech me out of the game cause I am going to do all their talking for them…and Pacers players just play on(like the beasts u are)

    • Jack Wright

      yeah i’d like that too