Post Game Grades: Pacers Crush Celtics

Indiana 106, Boston 79. That sounds about right.

Sure, this is the NBA, and on any given night, any given blah, blah, blah…

But, the truth is, this Boston team is simply not in the Pacers’ weight class. They play hard, and Brad Stevens is growing into an excellent coach, but…They lack size. They lack skill. They lack savvy.

That was true one month ago, and it’s even more true today. And when the Pacers add a player the caliber of Danny Granger – and his shot is going – it’ s just not fair.

The Pacers throttled Boston’s anemic offense – forcing them to take 43 of their 84 shots from between the paint and the three point line. That’s 51% vs. a league average share of 28% and a league high of about 34%. Couple that with holding Boston to 10-for-22 from the restricted area and only 13 free throw attempts, and you have the recipe for the Celtics’ 79.2 points per hundred possessions tonight.

oversmall

For the second game in a row, the Pacers thrilled a full house with dominant play. From a 23-23 tie at the 8:49 mark of the second quarter to the 4:30, the Pacers orchestrated a 48-21 shellacking…this despite missing six of their 12 free throw attempts during the stretch. From that point, it was just settling the final score…

Well, that…and chasing (and catching) Lance Stephenson’s third triple double of the season.

That last part was both good and bad. It reached the high water mark with a little over 11 minutes left in the game. Stephenson brutally – and I mean brutally – crossed over Courtney Lee before draining a 20-footer. It went downhill from there, but it was pretty much garbage time for both teams.

Lance played sublimely for most the first 37 minutes. His game was almost perfect, and he was involved in my favorite part of the game. After Boston tied it at 23, the Pacers went on a 9-0 run over the next 1:40 or so. In that run, four of the five Pacers on the floor made buckets, and the fifth – Lance – had three assist. It was the epitome of what this team does.

Lance (and the Pacers) chasing the triple double in the fourth was not, but, whatever. If that’s the worst that can be said about this Pacer team, then it’s going to be a very special year.

bosind1222

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 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +12

Relatively quiet night for Mr. West, but contributed to the offense with 6 assists, and to the general physical advantage the Pacers had over the Celtics just by being Mr. West.

Paul George, SF 28 MIN | 9-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | +11

Was a perfect 6-for-6 in the third quarter, scoring 18 – including 11 during a 19-7 Pacer open that more or less removed all doubt about the outcome.

Roy Hibbert, C 26 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-4 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +12

Finished with a double-double, doing most of his work early. More effective at exerting his size advantage this time around against the diminutive Boston frontline.

George Hill, PG 27 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +15

Like West, a quiet night, when not much was asked of him. Busted a three to make it a 19-point first half lead, didn’t let Jordan Crawford get off.

Lance Stephenson, SG 35 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +23

I suspect this grade will piss people off. It was an A++++ game up to and including the point where he utterly destroyed Courtney Lee on a crossover. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists, playing almost perfectly to his role. From that point, however, it was bad. He missed 6 of 7 shots hunting for his third triple double, and was just generally Bad Lance. It’s not the end of the world, but he deserves to be dinged for it.

Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +12

So reliable. So effective.

Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3

Defense! Defense! Defense! Picked Kelly Olynyk’s pocket on one occasion, blocked his shot on another. Exactly what the Pacers expected, when they signed him…except…not really.

Danny Granger, SF 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +17

Has been a huge addition to the Pacer bench. “Either way you shake it, man, Danny’s going to have an advantage out there,” David West said. “There just not many small forwards that are as good as he is. I really don’t know what else to say.” Neither do I.

Ian Mahinmi, C 22 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +15

With a healthy Danny Granger joining Luis Scola on the second unit, we’re beginning to see Ian be allowed to play the role envisioned for him. He’s posted three good games in a row.

Donald Sloan, PG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3

Garbage time

C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +12

Hit shots. Played defense.

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

Garbage Time

Rasual Butler, SG 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0

Garbage time

Topics: Game Recap

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  • Josh Baker

    #AVALANCE

  • Ian

    It’s a little old fart to get worked up about Lance chasing the triple double. He actually said in the interview as he went off that he told Vogel to take him out whether he made that last 3 or not because he was exhausted. His teammates wanted to get him the triple double just as much as he wanted it, you could see it by some of the passes they were making. And the pass he made to get his 10th assist to Scola was pretty spectacular. I just hope if the Pacers win the title that Simon will be willing to go over the tax to keep Lance.

    It’s amazing how good Danny looks out there. I guess after all this time I expected him to look like a cripple, slow and awkward but it doesn’t seem like his off court time has done anything to him except make him rusty. Knock on wood of course the injuries we have seen this year are scary. But it just makes me so happy to see Danny out there playing and you can see it in his face too how happy he is to be out there.

    David West is right, a 25 minute a night Danny at the previous healthy level is an amazing addition to the bench. His last full season PER was 18.7 (which was his 2nd lowest in a 4 year stretch). That’s significantly higher than JR Smith’s 6th man of the year 17.67 and higher than Jamal Crawford’s career high 18.5. Danny not only is a very good player when healthy but he also presents a terrible match up problem for opponents.

    Fingers crossed its maybe the best time ever to be a Pacers fan. Even the 90s Reggie Miller teams always seemed a longshot to beat the Bulls/Lakers. Again, the Derrick Rose and now Lopez injuries have me really nervous but if we can avoid losing a major player for the playoffs, man…

    • Jackson

      We will find a way to keep Lance without going over the tax. Copeland is moveable and if we move him we should have enough to sign Lance

      • Ian

        Probably. Mahinmi might also be a possibility. But we will lose Danny no matter what. So we’ll need some players for the bench. Copeland hasn’t played that much this year but we’d really have to hope that either S. Hill or O Johnson figure something out by next season or else we’ll need him.

    • Philip Tarrant

      I actually have to agree with Tim about Lance. I don’t think that it’s the end of the world that he was chasing the triple double in a game that was essentially over, but it certainly is a bit tacky. It reminds me of the score running-up that the Patriots did that resulted in Brady’s (defunct) TD record or the same tactics that caused Brees’ passing yardage record (hope Peyton kills that as well). Everyone loves seeing a record broken or other statistical anomaly, but it’s a bit meaningless if it’s not in the pursuit of winning the game or otherwise helping out your team. That being said, I love how electric Lance is and the energy he brings every second he’s on the court. I just wish we’d pull the plug before it gets so sloppy out there.

  • Realist

    It’s quite possible Granger is still the best shooter we have. That story about him beating PG and GH in a shooting contest rings true. Assuming he can stay healthy, I hope his percentages can flourish now that we’re not looking to him for volume. It’s a bit easier to shoot 40%+ from three when you’re just taking open looks in the second unit rather than having the entire (somewhat crappy 2007-10) team look to you every time the shot clock is running down for 40 mins a game.

    Lance helps, too. =)

  • Jack Wright

    what a sexy team we have

  • 15points126seconds

    i firmly believe we’ll find a way to keep Lance, but this is most definitely Danny’s swan song. I hope we’re at least able to send him on with a ring in hand. I was at both games on Fri&Sun, and it was good to see the crowd show him love. Frank said it best- some nights he’ll look bad (no offense on Fri) and other nights like an all star (4/5 on 3′s tonight!) but IMO DG is the best midseason pickup any contender will get this year

  • 15points126seconds

    i’ll bite about the Lance grade- I loved his performance. the crowd loved it. his teammates loved it. And we all wanted to see him get the TD. Tonight we saw the best of lance: 9 of his points plus all of his rebounds &assists came within the natural flow of the game. He forced up some shots in the end, but in a blowout in which he was a key contributor, why not let him have the perfect ending to his night? A+

  • AMF1322

    Glad to have Mr. Donahue back writing the post-game grades. Also, Danny is showing to be in pretty good shape. He might be rusty in ball-handling and the timing of some of his movements, but his shooting and a good part of his deffense are there, and that’s good enough for a sixth man. Imagine how great will this bench be once Danny gets on 80% of what he was.

  • tonyroma

    I truly believe fan support and the ultimate success of this year’s team will determine whether Herb decides to go over the luxury tax threshold or not. If this market financially supports the Pacers — meaning ticket prices WILL go up and deals will become more scarce — then there’s the strong likelihood that it will be business as usual for Bird, within reason. This team has the chance of being the most prolific Pacer team ever and Herb Simon hasn’t waited and watched patiently for 30 years to let this potential dynasty crumble over a few million dollars. Mel would never have let him.

  • lil-bang

    Love to see DG back and busy. If this teams stays healthy, I would be stunned if they weren’t in the finals.

  • thechamp5400

    LUIS SCOLA, PF 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +12

    So reliable. So effective. Much Wow.

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