Post-Game Grades: Pacers Win in Brooklyn, Reach 7-0

The Pacers have now won their first seven games. That rarely happens. Another thing that rarely happens? Winning four games in five nights, which was another accomplishment achieved this evening. And that last victory? It came in Brooklyn, one off the four teams in the East that analysts believe can make the Finals. (Sorry, Knicks.) Indiana has yet to play Miami, but they did also beat one of the other four, knocking off Chicago earlier in the week on the second night of a back to back.

In short: This team is realer than Real Deal Holyfield. And all you Bookers and Joes know how I feel.

Beast mode. Be afraid.

Another super impressive part of tonight’s win? Indiana trailed at the half — which, as Tom Lewis pointed out, made this the sixth game of the year when they’ve been down at the break.

But the starters hit the court running in the third, outscoring Brooklyn 28-21 while shooting 57.9% (11-for-19) in the period.

The Nets wouldn’t go away, however. They fought the entire fourth, and Paul Pierce was going mano-a-mano with Paul George. It helped that he got a three-pointer to drop after it bounced on the rim five times, and Brook Lopez made an unthinkably difficult flailing layup. But that’s the NBA, and it left the ball in the hands of George with time dwindling and the Pacers up just 3. In a play that probably won’t be remembered, George made a colossal blunder to throw the ball away, and this left the Nets with a chance to tie. They got a great look for Joe Johnson, but he couldn’t knock down the triple. After a West rebound and two free throws, this was another win in the bag for the Pacers.

It was a fitting 96-91 final in that it preserved Indiana’s claim to have yet to give up more than 91 points in a game this year.

Now, they have seven wins. They have the league’s best defense. They have David West back to midrange assassin form. They have the best rim protector in the NBA in Roy Hibbert. They have Lance Stephenson developing into a legitimate stud who shows up every night. They have reliable reserves at the one and four spots. And, of course, they have Paulmighty.

These guys are good.

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

Indiana Pacers 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Brooklyn Nets

David West, PF 33 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +9

Best game of the year for Mr. West, and he set the tone early, forcing Nets defenders to fear his mid-range assassin game. Knocked down the two FTs to ice the game, and secured a crucial jumpball late to give Indiana an extra possession.

Paul George, SF 36 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +5

Had the awful turnover late, but his game was virtually flawless otherwise. His demeanor and confidence are off the charts right now, but he still is rarely forcing things. He was aggressive to take jumpers coming off a screen or to iso his man near the elbow, but nothing was forced.

Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 7-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +4

Absolutely bodied Brook Lopez for most of the game. Flung a few hook shots at the iron, but several were with the clock winding down. He doesn’t seem to have bad games anymore.

George Hill, PG 31 MIN | 1-6 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +8

Couldn’t find his shot. Still looking a bit rusty. Managed to draw a foul on a three-point attempt that helped out at least.

Lance Stephenson, SG 39 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +10

Made good decisions, and has officially reached the point where he can drop 15 and 7 without it really standing out. Several nice finishes at the rim and, per usual, pushed the ball well in transition, with one dish to C.J. Watson for a triple on a break looking particularly nice.

Luis Scola, PF 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4

Did his thing, had a nice block late.

Solomon Hill, SF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Not much run.

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

Can’t recall anything he did.

C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -3

This guy is perfect for this team.

Orlando Johnson, SG 14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3

Did fine in his time.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Jeffrey Wolfe
    • Derek U

      Don’t be that guy.

  • Earl Malmsteen

    I was concerned about Brooklyn being a powerhouse in the East this year, but they looked really old and slow to me in this one. They got pretty good bench performances from some scrubs and hit a lot of tough shots and still got decisively beaten at home. A lot of that has to do with the Pacers’ D, but I just have a hard time seeing them sniffing anything higher than a 4 seed, even if they stay healthy. They really don’t concern me now at all against the Pacers esp. when Hibbert is in the game. I think they are going to have a really tough time creating offense if their opponent doesn’t have to double Lopez, because they really don’t have anyone quick enough to get space, and they have 4 good iso players but no great ones at this point in their careers.

    • Rob Lime

      Pierce and KG both look like their game really declined this year. KG may catch fire, but his shooting looked horrible.

      • Derek U

        too much offense on one team. They should be funneling the ball thru D.Williams and Lopez while letting everyone else find their shot as it comes. Instead their trying to force the ball in PP’s hands like he’s 30. The truth is, he’s just gotten old.

        If Kidd starts to coach like his salary suggest, he’ll figure that out.

  • Earl Malmsteen

    I was really impressed with Roy Hibbert’s game tonight too on Lopez who is probably the best offensive center in the game. Wish he could hit that running hook a little more reliably but he’s earning his money on D. This is a completely different team with him on the bench. If you could capture Roy’s defensive impact in a stat like PPG/RPG that everyone is familiar with besides just blocks, he would get a ton more attention. He doesn’t need to get 20 or even 12 points a game to be the most important guy on the floor.

    • Rob Lime

      I know – Lopez usually kills us. Roy is blocking everything and as far as his O – better than last year at this time! Jumpshots looked good.

  • Joe Betz

    Agree on grades, but give CJ a plus for his timely 3 to give the Pacers cushion and timely steal to take away an easy 2 late. But again, the second quarter hurt the Pacers, flipping a two point lead into a two point deficit, with Brooklyn’s reserves outplaying and sometimes out-hustling the Pacers. Vogel likes Mahinmi out to protect the hoop, which he has done fairly well, but I’m not sure the pros (rim protection) outweigh the cons (turnover prone, not a scoring option). Against teams with bigger reserves, it makes sense, but with smaller squads, I want to see this lineup in the second quarter play together, if even for a few possessions before a starter reenters, at some point in the future:

    Watson
    Johnson
    Granger
    Copeland
    Scola

    Defense takes a nose dive in the front court, but against smaller second units, four players who can hit threes plus a crafty bailout option late in the clock is intriguing offensively. That, and Vogel said he was supposedly flirting with a zone package to mix defenses at times…

  • Derek Cooper

    Concerning their 2nd quarter letdowns: watson fit in well with the starters while GH was healing+ seems like a great fit as a 5th option on offence with the starters….if watson started at point GH could maybe fit better +look for his own shot more with the second unit as a 2nd or 3rd scoring option depending on if lance is out there. Scolas obviously a good veteren presence and big scoring threat__lance is a threat but has looked mostly erratic as the 1 option when he’s with the reserves. Maybe GH would help stabilize things. Of course id still imagine GH getting some mins with the starters+ getting more mpg than watson__this could also allow GH some time at both guard positions. Or to disrupt the overall flow a little less just sub in watson for GH really early……otherwise it seems GH’s scoring ability is lost and wasted with paul+lance getting more shots and roy+david need theirs__+watsons been alittle better three shooter/spacer by last years stats….____as joe pointed out a few comments below__mahimni isn’t a scoring threat and turns it over alot_maybe the scola+copeland at the 4+5 positions would improove things overall__maybe swapping GH and watson could help the offense a little without giving up mahinmis rimprotection__or maybe granger will come balance things out__I’m curious if frank shakes things up a little tonite_I know he said he was looking at it it’ll be fun to see what happens any which way I guess :)