Post-Game Grades: Improved Raptors Hand Sloppy Pacers First Loss of 2014

To say it was the perfect storm for Toronto would be treating the Pacers’ performance far too kindly.

Sure, the Raptors, particularly DeMar Derozan, hit a lot of really tough, well-defended mid-range jumpers that are typically inefficient and undesired. And of course, four questionable foul calls derailed what could have been Roy Hibbert’s best offensive game of the season. But this game was there for the taking – and the Pacers repeatedly chose not to take it by turning the ball over at breakneck speed.

There were few positives. The new bench unit looked to be slowly rounding into form as Danny Granger, who had 9 points in a very quality first half of basketball, and the rest played extremely well in the second quarter. Paul George threw down a few nice alley-oops in the Air Canada Center, dunks that have rarely been seen since Vinsanity was at full force.

The rest, offensively at least, was flat-out awful.

Indiana turned the ball over 23 times, allowing 32 points off of those turnovers. In all, the passing was just flat-out dreadful. Indy only assisted on 16 of their 32 baskets, finishing with an assist to turnover ratio that would make the oft-maligned DJ Augustin blush. They were also out rebounded by a Toronto team that, well, let’s just say isn’t known around the league for its ability to clean the boards.

Perhaps the combination of back-to-back games sandwiched around New Year’s Eve was just too much to overcome. Either way, the Pacers deserved to lose this game, and they did so in ugly fashion.

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Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at Jon Washburn (@Twitch8p9s) who filled in for Jared and Tim on Twitter.

David West, PF 31 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -19West played most of the night without Hibbert, his partner in crime on offense. As a result, he had few open jumpers and even less space to work in the low block. Still, he was mediocre at best.

D+

Paul George, SF 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 12 PTS | -21Take out the three highlight dunks and there was a lot to hate about PG’s game tonight. He didn’t play terrible defense on Derozan, who hit a lot of touch shots and shot below 50%, but he also didn’t shut him down when Indy needed him to be their defensive stopper.

D-

Roy Hibbert, C 21 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | -4Every time he was in the game, he changed it.Too bad he missed more than half of it.

INC

George Hill, PG 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -14In the words of Jared, “Meh.”

C-

Lance Stephenson, SG 34 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -10You would rather have “Bad Lance” – the guy that submits some idiotic plays because he’s making things happen than the “Was he even out there tonight Lance” that showed up tonight.

D+

Luis Scola, PF 20 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -5Played well in the first half, but was a train wreck in the fourth quarter when the Pacers needed him to provide a spark. He still gets a passing grade because he’s only a bench player and shouldn’t be relied on to win the game.

B-

Danny Granger, SF 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +3Employee #33 (copyright Mark Boyle) played well on both ends of the floor tonight, earning one of the only positive plus/minus grades for any Pacer that played meaningful minutes. One has to wonder if he would have been better than either Lance or George down the stretch tonight.

B+

Ian Mahinmi, C 22 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +1Played really well defensively, but earned my wife’s ire with his free throw shooting and overall offensive game.

C

Donald Sloan, PG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Club Trillion tonight.

C

C.J. Watson, PG 17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +1A non-factor.

D+

Rasual Butler, SG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1Garbage time.

C

Topics: Game Recap

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  • Earl Malmsteen

    1. Terrible game for everyone, just as bad as the blowout in Chicago. PG and Lance both seemed a step slow on defense, a lot of Hibbert’s fouls were dumb even if questionable, West/Scola looked hopeless and confused on offense, PG’s midrange shot and decisiveness has evaporated, on and on and on…

    2. Not that it would have mattered to the outcome, but it would have been nice to see the refs call a single moving screen on Amir Johnson or Valanciunas. I think I saw probably 7-10 clear moving picks that were relevant to the play and weren’t called. I know everyone is doing it but I can’t recall seeing it this bad.

    3. The offensive rebounding seems to be due to positioning. The Pacers seem to rarely have their big guys even in position to possibly get offensive rebounds. Not sure if this is part of the plan or why it’s happening, but it seems like the problem is scheme more than effort.

    • Ian

      Pacers are not an offensive rebounding team, their focus is transition defense. Bigger problem is keeping the opposition off the boards. This happens when they rotate due to penetration. They are most vulnerable with Hibbert off the floor because it becomes much harder for the defenders to stay at home during penetration.

      Hibbert needs to treat each foul as precious. This doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be aggressive at all, but it does mean that he shouldn’t be driving to the hole from the perimeter, ever, and he shouldn’t be reaching for blocks.

  • Ian

    You could sort of see this coming. Cleveland outworked the Pacers for the first 3 quarters of that game too. Paul George looks complacent, and more and more his defense suffers when he’s not getting his points.

    Being on the road for the second half of back to backs is hard, but the Pacers need to find some way to get some energy, especially since they are mostly a young team. The have routinely come out lifeless in these situations and their worst losses this season (Bulls, Thunder, Toronto) have all come out of these situations.

    This is the sort of game that Miami can lose because they’ve won a title and they are going to take the night off occasionally, not so much for the Pacers who haven’t won anything yet.

    In this one, as well as the game against Miami, Roy just picked up a lot of stupid fouls, reaching when he didn’t need to, and those charges were unnecessary as well. It’s nice he wants to be aggressive, perhaps its the offense’s fault for putting him in that situation.

    It’s painful that the Pacers still haven’t come up with an answer for the turnover problem. In addition to the lazy passes and lack of court awareness, they had a ton of offensive fouls in this game, I remember at least 5. That again speaks to me of general laziness on the Pacers part. They were reaching and clearing out and pushing off so often last night.

    I guess we should give Toronto credit. They are on a hot streak, really wanted to get to .500, and have already beaten the other top teams in the league. I think it would have been easier to take if the Pacers hadn’t lost it in such horrible fashion, with all the turnovers and a 4th quarter meltdown.

    • Ian

      I just went and checked the play by play, and the Pacers committed 11 offensive fouls/charges. 11! That’s got to be an incredibly high number.

      • lil-bang

        You will see this offensive foul trend if you look back through this year and last year. 11 of 23 turnovers were offensive fouls. Not sure what other teams average on their offensive foul turnovers, but man it seems like almost half of the Pacers turnovers every night are due to those.

  • Filazafer

    I have no idea why you gave Scola a passing grade just because he is a bench player. Wasn’t he a starter just last year? He was awful and I’m not sure why he was in the game at the end. I would have rather they went small and gave Granger a chance. And shouldn’t you mention the freethrows? 13 out of 20? I have a feeling the Pacers were partying on New Year’s Eve. I hope so because they certainly looked hung over.

    • Jaret Binford

      Have you watched the pacers this year? Did you see the game? Scola was in at the end because Hibbert couldn’t stay out of foul trouble and Ian couldn’t either or was being a goof. We have been going with the D West and Scola combo in those situations. When D West was not playing well and we gave Scola more min. Scola was in at the end of the game because everyone else sucked. Danny was already gassed giving more min then he has to date. We leaned on him heavy in the first half. Playing him more is a risk for injury with little to gain. Scola didn’t play well during that 4th stretch but not poorly enough to pin a horrible team night on him.

  • Jaret Binford

    Jon, can you please put a space/new line between the stat line and your comments. I know its a little thing, but it drives my OCD-self nuts.

  • Joe Betz

    Is this the first INC ever? Totally deserved. If Hibbert plays his normal minutes, the Pacers win.

    • Ian

      True, but it was Roy’s own fault. Every once in awhile it seems like he just gets careless and racks up fouls, much like he did against Miami. Maybe 1 of his fouls could have gone the other way, but most of them were his fault, either charges, or bad block attempts.

  • Realist

    MIA lose at home to GSW, okay.
    SAS lose at home to NYK, lulz.
    OKC lose at home to BKN? o rly

    Starting to not feel so bad about losing @TOR on a segababa.

    • Ian

      LOL I was thinking the same thing. Portland of course scored over 130 against Charlotte. Lillard and Mathews combined 11-12 from 3, which is insane. It almost seems unfair that the Blazers jump from below average to one of the best teams in the league overnight, considering what a struggle its been for the Pacers to recover from the Brawl. But then again, using ‘unfair’ and ‘Trailblazers’ in the same sentence after what happened with Roy and Oden, well, I guess they sort of deserve it.