Post-Game Grades – Pacers Beat Sixers Without Trying Too Hard

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A win is a win is a win, but this game was basically nonsense. The Pacers, coming in as the co-holder of the NBA’s best record at 11-1, played entitled basketball all night. Their energy level on the defensive end and their commitment to executing on the other side were reminiscent of a team that expected to win just by showing up.

It’s honestly hard to blame them. Here they are, a team smacking around nearly all comers that’s on the second night of a Friday/Saturday back to back in a home matchup with an injury-riddled opponent that features a roster of nobodies. All month, they’ve been playing balls-out defense and they are about to leave their families during Thanksgiving week to head west for a grueling road trip. (EDIT: This isn’t true. I can’t read a calendar. They don’t leave until, probably, November 30.)

I understand where the complacency may have stemmed from.

And despite the 42 minutes of lackluster focus, the team did have the gumption to lock it down halfway through the fourth quarter and put this one away. So no harm done.

What you worry about, however — particularly in an Eastern Conference that is looking worse by the day — is that the team starts doing this often. The Wallace/Wallace/Rip/Billups/Tayshaun Pistons teams that made the Eastern Conference Finals every year started to fall into that trap. Their defense was so stellar that they began to play entitled ball, thinking that they could just flip the proverbial switch and hold the opponent scoreless for a stretch whenever they wanted.

Now, I don’t think this will become a problem. And if you look at Roy Hibbert’s line — not to mention the complete barricade he formed in front of the hoop during the game’s final two minutes — you can see that this wasn’t a complete mail-in game. Plus, Michael Carter Williams, especially, wasn’t just exploiting weak effort; this kid balled out tonight. But giving up 23 offensive rebounds and countless layups to a depleted Philly team is not the makings of championship basketball.

Let’s not get carried away. One 8-point Saturday night win that should have been a 20-point laugher isn’t the end of the world. The Pacers are now 12-1 after all.

Still, I can think of better ways to spend my Saturday night then watching what was essentially a televised scrimmage in which the clearly-more-talented side really tried for about six minutes.

Philadelphia 76ers 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Indiana Pacers

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.

David West, PF 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 11 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +24Fantastic line and generally played a bit grittier than most.
Paul George, SF 37 MIN | 6-13 FG | 5-7 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +21Meh.
Roy Hibbert, C 33 MIN | 7-12 FG | 13-16 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | +19Dominant late, and earned all his points. 13 rebounds is nice, but with the number of shots the Sixers missed, he really should have had closer to 20.
George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +17Sick dunk and locked down late, but lots of complacency.
Lance Stephenson, SG 37 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 18 PTS | -1Played well, I guess. Lots of layups.

Luis Scola, PF 21 MIN | 0-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -11Yuck.
Chris Copeland, SF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -16Not sure he should be getting Ian’s minutes again.
Solomon Hill, SF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | +4Sure.
C.J. Watson, PG 12 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -9Whatever.
Orlando Johnson, SG 15 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -8Cool.

Topics: Game Recap

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  • http://azraelsblogaboutwhatever.blogspot.com/ Patrick Talbert

    This seemed like a ‘let’s give the bench a rest’ since all starters played 30+ minutes. The second unit looks like they still need to gel a bit more. I’m hoping that Vogel gives them a tongue lashing at the next practice.

  • djmcba

    Tonight’s game was a perfect example of why some people call for less than an 82 game season. JW is spot on, almost like he has been religously watching pacer basketball for 20 years, in that complacency is a concern but I love having that be THE issue.

    Hibbert is the man; has really taken on DWest’s approach to the game and while PG is the best baller we got, I believe Dr. Hibbert and DW are officially the soul of this squad.

    On a side note, I can’t stand Evan Turner. I was fortunate enough to sit courtside a pair of times last year and he runs his mouth an incredible amount for someone who is arguably a major bust (taken 2nd overall). Love to beat him and while I wish the losses would shut him up, I guess I’ll have to settle for Roy stuffing it back in his grill, Yes’cer!

  • Derek Cooper

    I’m honestly a big pacers fan_but__I do think the swagger is swagging a bit much. Mostly paul and sometimes lance overdribbling+ overly-fancy-dribbling+not even like intensely__like lazily…..__ hopefully when they see the film they aren’t blind to what they actually look like when they occaisionally do that…..I guess anyone that grows their games to the level they sometimes play at probably stuggles with arrogance to some degree….__I mean I can see overdribbling too fancily occasioally if your trying to help your team+ all but when u do it lazily a few times with seeming aimlessness it looks really arrogant and stupid. Jack-assy even. But again 2 of my very favorite players growing up into new territory and all_ probably they’ve grown more this year than the most optimistic pacers fans would’ve dreamed so mostly I’m proud of them.____ok or maybe they’re just tired from back to backing + traveling and they’re really not too full of themselves. Could be that _couldn’t blame’em for that…

  • Joe Betz

    Johnson, D. George, C+ (go ahead 3 late, more assists than turnovers, harassed Turner into an ineffectual night).

    Vogel wanted the experimental second unit to match baskets…that’s it…and offensively they look like they could do it on paper, but every second unit player was out-hussled and could not score in the second half. Vogel mentioned the lack of a scouting report on 3-4 guys as a possible reason for this, which I think is fair, but still, if you don’t get minutes, you would expect to box people out a bit harder. Copeland had another sick block and trailer 3 though…love his shot (~65% from 3 in his last 5 games)

  • brendon

    What was up with that lineup with no center, that’s not pacers ball