Post-Game Grades: Thunder Demolish Pacers in OKC

postgamegrades_inpost

Call it a schedule loss, call it a bad game, call it whatever you want: the Indiana Pacers walked into Oklahoma City on Sunday night and were outplayed in every possible way.

Only three Pacers scored in double-figures and Paul George’s 32 points masked what was really one of his worst games of the season.

He finished the first half with only 6 points on very poor shooting, and most his second-half outburst came after the game was well out of reach.

Roy Hibbert had his block-streak broken. David West grabbed a paltry 2 rebounds. George Hill was outplayed by Russell Westbrook to almost comical proportions.

I suppose we can take solace in the fact that by any metric, the road trip was a success. Nobody got injured, the Pacers went 3-2, and they beat two very good teams in tough environments.

Still, this game hurts a little bit. Hopefully, this will rally the troops for Tuesday’s big game against Miami, not discourage them into a little two or three game funk.

Indiana Pacers 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 Oklahoma City Thunder

Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at Twitch on twitter (@Twitch8p9s) who filled in today.

David West, PF 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -14

West was as bad in OKC as he was good in San Antonio

Paul George, SF 36 MIN | 9-17 FG | 10-11 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 32 PTS | -19

Umm, at least he got to the foul line a lot?

Roy Hibbert, C 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -15

Roy actually made some nice moves in the post…and other than that, was pretty invisible.

George Hill, PG 31 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -14

Yikes. Hill deserves an F, but I’m giving him an INC just because he didn’t really seem to show up at all.

Lance Stephenson, SG 26 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -16

Lance actually played ok, and he was the one Pacer that seemed to have energy in the first half. Unfortunately, foul trouble and frustration derailed what could have been an acceptable performance.

Luis Scola, PF 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -6

What? Scola played last night?

Solomon Hill, SF 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -3

Garbage Time

Ian Mahinmi, C 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -10

One of Ian’s worst games of the season. He looked lost at times, and worse on offense than he’s looked since he was a young buck on the Mavericks.

C.J. Watson, PG 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -7

He tried to rally the troops in the second quarter, but Reggie Jackson abused him.

Donald Sloan, PG 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3

Garbage Time

Orlando Johnson, SG 18 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7

I’ll be honest, I’m starting to have Sam Young flashbacks whenever Orlando Johnson gets the ball on the wing. OJ has only connected on 7 shots in his last 11 games. And when’s the last time he made a 3-pointer? He’s actually only made 8 all year – and most of those looks are wide open. Danny Granger can’t come back soon enough.

Topics: Game Recap

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  • ᗪEᑎI ♛

    George Hill is garbage period

    • Jack Wright

      Hill is an asset in apprx. 2 out of 3 home games and 1 out of 4 road games. Several times last night he had an open shot at a point in the possession when the best thing he could do was take the shot, but he kept hesitating and then would pass it off, leading to a really bad shot attempt by someone else. I don’t dislike Hill, and I used to be an ardent supporter of his, but those days are gone.

      Oh yeah.. At one point in the 3rd quarter after we had cut it to a 15-point deficit, we had a 3-on-1 fast break. Hill missed the lay-up, leading to a Thunder fast break in which Westbrook nailed an open 3. The game was officially over at that point. A comeback would’ve been very conceivable with the momentum, the deficit only at 13 and all the time remaining, not to mention that we’re just a better team than the Thunder. I could sense Quinn Buckner cringing hard at the outcome of that play.

      • Realist

        Slightly off-tangent-rant incoming.

        Hill – he just needs to shoot a bit better, firstly. He is on a bit too much $ (slightly), but the whole starting five is about to be (next year) on too much. We are paying PG about $3 million this year and Lance about $1 million – which is freaking ridiculous. While our core should remain solid for the upcoming years, the above is why we really need to win the title this year, imo.

        Ideally, if we were trying to divide up the salary cap “pie” fairly and on merit (rather than every man and his agent after the best contract he can squeeze out of Bird/Simon), and leave enough for some bench pieces, I think I’d want something like (feel free to correct me):

        PG 15/year (actually on slightly more next year)
        Roy 12/year (actually on about 15 a year)
        West 10/year (actually on 12 a year)
        Hill 6/year (actually on 8 year)
        Lance 6/year ?, though this still unclear, I guess. Might deserve more.

        Sounds like PG left a little money on the table, which is awesome.

        Roy is amazing obviously, but he still kinda screwed us just a little the minute he signed the Blazers offer sheet.

        West has been ballin’ for us these past two years, but he also makes it harder for us with that pay increase for the next three years, well into his 30′s.

        Hill’s deal is not ideal, and we basically gambled on _not_ giving him that $6 mill/year extension when he wanted it, and when we chose him over Collison, had to pay the markup.

        Now, you can’t blame anyone for trying to get themselves extra dollars, but that’s always part of the opportunity cost, I guess. As badly as Hibbert wants to win, for example, surely he knows that him making $15 mill a year instead of 10-12 hurts that bench that we all know kinda sucks. David Falk doesn’t give two f*cks about Indy’s bench, I promise you.

        [Aside: Kobe Bryant = $24 mill a year, AHAHAHAHAHA, good luck with ring #6 there buddy]

        The salary cap game is half the battle in the NBA, now more than ever.

        People hate the Heat, as they should, but when LBJ/Wade/Bosh take less money to play together, and also encourage the ring chasing vets to play for less, they are playing the salary cap game well, damn well.

        Wanna know why the Spurs are so deep? Tim Duncan = $10 mill this year, Tony Parker = $12.5 mill, Manu = $7 mill. It’s not complicated.

        CLIFFS:
        1) Hill, shoot better, buddy, get the peeps off your back.
        2) Indy, win the title this year, and nothing else matters. kthx

        • Jaret Binford

          We aren’t over the cap. We have the best team in the league. Paying these guys is the right thing to do. You are never going to get EXACT value on a player’s salary.

          For instance, G-Hill may not perform up to his salary in stats or win shares. Conversely, PG’s media pull and jersey sales make him worth more than what we are paying him.

          I have heard figures that Lebron actually should make 80 million in salary for the amount of revenue he generates for the league and that Kobe should be paid 40. Sure they get endorsements and a lot of side money, but I am talking about their salary based on revenue generated.

          My point is that these players make their teams a lot more money than they are paid. So looking at Indy’s situation where we are under the cap and have fielded a YOUNG contender (not the case with the Spurs big 3) makes me think we got a STEAL!

          • Jack Wright

            Do agree with you here, though. We got the best team in the league because we’ve made the best decisions.

    • Jaret Binford

      Would rather have Hill than any other PG in the east that is currently healthy. He Defends his position. Westbrook is a force of nature, but the guy fits our system and plays both sides. His offense is inconsistent sure, but he shouldn’t be carrying the offensive load. Every Pacer had a shit night tonight. G Hill gets the blame, a lot of fans want a true point guard when that would completely go against our entire offensive scheme. Mark my words, its G-Hill that gives us the advantage against Miami. Just look at how Miami destroys conventional pgs with their swarming defense and then breathe a sigh of relief that our offense is built around Lance or PG starting the play with the occasional G-Hill.

      Bitch about IAN, get mad at Scola, take it out on O.J. or whoever else had a terrible game, but leave G-Hill alone. Literally the night before, he gave us 12 to put us so far ahead of San Antonio they had no hope of coming back.

      • Jack Wright

        Disagree with most of that. Not every Pacer had a shit night… PG didn’t. Roy played decent. Lance made some plays. West knocked down some shots…. Just because we lost and just because there are some poorly-graded performances listed above doesn’t mean everyone had a shitty night. Hill was flat out the worst player on the court, and he was 100% a liability. And that’s fairly typical of Hill on the road.

        • Jaret Binford

          Every player not named Paul George got a C- or lower. That is why I said every player played like shit.

          • Jack Wright

            Yeah I didn’t think our starters (excluding Hill) played as bad as Washburn graded them.

      • 15points126seconds

        Lol talk about reactionary…
        I disagree with both of you, haven’t you been watching? I’ve been one of the biggest ghill supporters for a while, and while he’s got great chemistry, community/locker room presence, and been an occasional clutch guy for us, the fact is he is inconsistent and definitely overpaid. For some reason, his game doesn’t travel well, and we need it to when our offense stagnates as it is prone to doing. This applies largely to lance to some extent too, but he provides other things even when he’s off statistically. Hill is really a prototypical caretaker 1, more of a 2 in a 1′s body actually, but without the consistent jumper to space the floor. It’s disappointing because when he’s on, we’re damn near unbeatable. Lance is a wildcard, hill is the card we need to show up everyday- both sides of Betty ball.

        But anyway the point I wanted to make was, Hill was actually a major point of weakness in the Miami series. Chalmers and Cole to great success would often trap, press, hard show on pnr and really suffocate hill so that he would be forced into a turnover or really delay our chance to initiate the Offense until late in the shot clock. There’s s a zach love article I believe

        • 15points126seconds

          Sorry wasn’t able to edit above.
          Basically we need hill to show up on both sides of the ball every game, we depend on (and pay) him too much for him not to bring it overnight. He’s the least talked about member of the starters, but is every bit as important. Some days (SAS) it’s there, other days it isn’t.

          There was a zach love article about how the pacers were taking too long to start their offense and a lot of that fell on hill’s shoulders. He needs to improve his composure and his fg% against hyper aggressive teams like Miami. I feel safer with the ball in his hands than lance’s…most of the time

  • Donald Hermann

    It’s tough to take a lot from losses, Orlando Johnson would do himself well to get into a gym and work his shot out, and mix up his pregame warmups some to find a way out of his funk. No joke this reminds me of Danny Granger’s yearly early season shooting slumps. Gotta find your way back to the + column if you want minutes when Danny is back.

  • Ian

    I’m glad people are finally starting to realize we are not ‘better off’ without Danny. The Pacers still really need another scorer who can pick up the load when others are misfiring. I thought Copeland would have been able to do that but he clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the coaching staff, and just guns when he’s put in the game.

    George Hill is an excellent player but he’s really struggled in some games this season. He missed a bunch of wide open mid range jumpers which could have kept things close early. It was also clear that the Thunder were fine with Lance taking 3s and you can see why. His shot is still a mess.

    My biggest worry with this team is rebounding. The Pacers led the league last year as everyone knows, but this season its pretty routine to see them get out rebounded (they have dropped to 9th), and especially disturbing are the games where their opponent shoots a higher percentage AND is grabbing more offensive rebounds. I think this has to do with PG less focused on rebounding and Mahinmi has declined in nearly every stat this year including rebounding. Tyler was obviously an outstanding offensive rebounder, but Scola seems to have been doing about the same.

    • 15points126seconds

      What is going on with the rebounding? Idk if it’s effort, awareness, luck, or something else but that’s something that needs to improve!. I was pulling my hair out with some of the orebs SAS and OKC were getting

      And lol I don’t get the granger trade bait. It’s really not even about loyalty, but smart management IMO. Dudes value has never been lower to another team, but if we’re looking to make a move for shooting help,isn’t he the best one available? If he can take solo/pulp’s minutes and be productive again… (On that note , is this a drose injury/bad bulls pr situation? 3 weeks minor calf issue turned into 6 weeks without explanation. I am really worried about the lack of information, we could’ve used him in this trip)

  • Derek Cooper

    Eh-shrug__spurs game started 830 ended what like 11 then okc started at 7__20 hrs later in another state_ plane trip_hotel settle in_game plan off + def plans for okc__drive to game…? Shower + eat food some time…and then a title contender at their place__kinda tough._____when the starters looked totally tired in the mid 3rd kinda wanted the 2nd unit in there trying to coast at like 20ish behind and let the starters rest til a few mins into the 4th+ then let em have 1 last shot at it___ians playing too many mins. I think he needs to play some like 8 or 10 a nite to keep him fresh and used to playing_I understand his rim protection is important in the playoffs especially against miami but scola needs more time I think…he’s a little slow but he hustles+makes winning plays_u can count on him to be focused and competitive_really think he’s earned some more mins+ ians played out of some mins.

  • Jack Wright

    Fine little road trip overall. That was still a winnable game last night midway through the 3rd, but it just wasn’t happening with how lights out the Thunder were shooting.

    We’ll crush the Heat tomorrow IF Lance plays well. If he’s ballin, we win by 15+. If he’s struggling, it’ll be a battle. I’m telling you people, Lance is the difference between this team being really good and this team being unbeatable.

    P.S. I didn’t think PG had a bad game at all… Not sure what the comment above is about. Zero assists, sure, but who on earth was he supposed to pass to last night that was gonna make a shot.

  • AMF1322

    After Indiana lost to Chicago, I made a ‘prediction’ saying that this team may arrive to March with 49-11. And I said the matches I expected that this Pacers might lose. Well, in that calculation, @LAC and @SA were loses, and I already calculated the @POR and @OKC games as loses. I’ll refresh that statement.
    As the season developed a little bit more, we’ve seen how some teams are actually pretty worse than expected (BKN, NYK, CHI Rose-less, MIN), and I only find some teams better (like ATL, NO, DEN). Luckly, the teams worse were expected to be tough teams, and the ones that got better (well, NO lost Anthony Davis, so there it goes the improvement), are not exactly a threat.
    So, let’s go back to the standings untill March. I try to say ‘that’s a pretty tough team, let’s asume the Pacers lose that one’ to calculate this. With this being said, Indiana should lose 6 games (vs. MIA, @MIA, vs. HOU, @GS, @ATL twice). By the way the Pacers have been balling, I believe they will beat HOU, GS will not be easy (Pacers face LAC at home 2 days before, two pretty tough games for George Hill), and I think they won’t lose both games against ATL (I get the second one, an back-to-back game when they’re coming from a 2-day-rest from playing Minny AT HOME, but the first it’s pretty winnable). But also, this team has a road trip against the Gay-full (seriously, not a joke) Kings, the Brian Shaw’s Denver (Roy will eat Hickson alive), and the impredictable Suns, after the GS match. Those 5 games are not a nightmare, but with all of them on a road trip, expecting a 3-2 it’s not bad.
    Finally, I have to remark how good Indiana looks to the point where we can say that this team will be already in the playoffs for March. Just look at the schedule and think how many of those games the last season Pacers might have lost. Now, it seems that, if this team has an off-night, it’s against a really good team on a back-to-back game, like OKC or CHI, or against a team that they can beat anyway (like, a little bit, against Utah).
    Last, I promise: this team, specially it’s backourt players not named Paul George, needs to start practicing outside shooting. GH, Lance, OJ, and even C.J. have to get better from downtown in order to not put too much pressure on PG’s shoulders, and even give the starters more rest. They have at least 6 days in Indiana. Time to shootaround.

    • 15points126seconds

      lol, i know I’m drinkin’ the Kool-Aid, but… dare i say it…we are on pace… for… 71 wins :D.
      OK OK, obviously theres no way we’ll get there, but the fact is after Houston and Miami next week we don’t have another “tough” matchup (in which we aren’t the overwhelming favorites) until Feb at home against the Blazers (or arguably @home against the Clips in Jan). We’ll definitely have a couple bad shooting nights against a hot team, but the way Vogel runs this team with every player buying in to the “all in for the next game” mentality, I’m confident we’ll get the #1 seed. Just worried that Frank might turn into Thibs and overplay our starters so we’re gassed and/or injury prone by May (remember the healthy ’11 62-win bulls team that swept the heat in the reg season but lost in 5 in the playoffs?)

  • ConRich

    1) Why did Paul George have one of the worst games of his season? He scored 32 points on 17 shots, actually scoring more efficiently than Kevin Durant. He had three steals. He only turned the ball over once. His defense wasn’t the best, or his rebounding, but overall a solid game.

    2) I’m honestly not that worried by this loss. It came at the end of a 5-game road trip, on the second night of a back-to-back, when we played a great team the night prior. We’ve only lost three games: all against good teams, all on the back end of a back-to-back, and all away from home. Not bad at all.

  • Realist

    Granger back Friday!…. maybe

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