Post-Game Grades: Pacers Vomit on Selves in 1st Half, Clean It Off, But Still Stink


The Good: The third quarter. Indiana did that elite defense thing they nowadays employ sporadically and put the clamps on, outscoring Phoenix 25-11 in the period and looking to set themselves up for a big comeback win.

The Bad: The whole first half. A complete no-show, especially on the defensive end and from the bench, which was absolutely wretched the entire game.

MVP: Goran Dragic. The Dragon breathed all the fire early, dropping 21 points in the first half and making the vaunted Indiana defense look like one of those banners cheerleaders hold up so that high school football heroes can run through them.

LVP: Paul George. Dude hasn’t made a long-range shot in days (1 for his last, at least, 15 from 3-point range) and utterly struggled to find good looks at the rim. And when he did, he missed.

X-Factor: Markieff Morris. He was a terror of efficiency, scoring 16 points on 12 shots and making the Pacers spin their heads on both ends.

Defining Moment: With three minutes left, the Suns ran a splendid pick-and-roll out of a timeout that freed Gerald Green. Hibbert helped to stymie penetration and this left Markieff Morris open for a three, which he hit, to put this one just out of reach of a Pacers team that continually faltered down the stretch.


Phoenix Suns 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Indiana Pacers
David West, PF 32 MIN | 8-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +17

Early foul trouble left him sitting early, and though he did some good work trying to play catch up later for his missed minutes, he blew a few shots and didn’t do enough when Indiana needed him to score.

Paul George, SF 38 MIN | 5-17 FG | 2-4 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | +2

Nice rebounding and he did good work shutting down Dragic after Goran’s early explosion, but we’re beyond “Atta boys” for things the team now takes for granted. Make a shot already.

Roy Hibbert, C 38 MIN | 9-17 FG | 8-11 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | -2

Did work. On both ends.

George Hill, PG 34 MIN | 7-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +15

Love the efficiency but the point guard is getting docked for not being able to stay in front of Dragic. Goran has been a beast all year and George is far from the first guy to learn that up close, but his first-half defense was, at times, reprehensible.

Lance Stephenson, SG 37 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 10 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | -7

Get those numbers, son.

Luis Scola, PF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -23

Part of a bench unit that should be ashamed of itself.

Danny Granger, SF 21 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -13

Part of a bench unit that should be ashamed of itself. (Nice blocks though)

Ian Mahinmi, C 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6

Part of a bench unit that should be ashamed of itself.

C.J. Watson, PG 14 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -23

Part of a bench unit that should be ashamed of itself.

Tags: Game Recap

  • Derek Cooper

    I don’t think the offence is good enough to win a championship.

    • thechamp5400

      In the playoffs offense doesn’t matter as much as it does in the regular season. I think, as long as they stay healthy and as long as their defense (1st synergy rank) makes more than up for the “average” offense (13th synergy rank or something like that), they’ll be able to win the East. The Heat already had problems scoring against them.

    • Derek U

      The offence may not be, but the offense is.

    • Joe Betz

      Scola, Watson, and Granger are all jump shooters, but they are all above league average shooters (except Granger this year, but I have faith that will come). The Pacers need PG and Lance to create and finish…Lance is a better finisher around the rim, PG is a better shooter and more athletic…it’s just a matter of putting complete games together, which they have done more times than not this year.

    • ᗪEᑎI ♛

      The only guy i dislike on this team is George Hill.He must be the worst defender and decision maker in all of the NBA.I dont know but Pacers will regret for trading for him and paying him $40 million loosing Collison and Leonard.Dragic is from my country and after watching last night what he did to him makes me puke out that 40 million on him.i agree with you offense must be really good when playoffs come,teams start playing better defense and our problem is turnovers also

      • Ian

        Perhaps you should pick another sport since you don’t know anything about the NBA.

        Yes he struggled against Dragic but the Pacers have routinely ranked as one of the best teams guarding opposing PGs since Hill got here, and he was one of the only Pacers to show up offensively last night.

        • ᗪEᑎI ♛

          ian……….f##k u very much for knowing more basketball

  • Derek U

    Hard one to watch. I’d like to knock Stephenson down to a B+ for being a T:D Hunter. It’s great that he leads the league in TD and almost TD’s…. But he gave up valuable scoring looks in order to facilitate a bench that was DOA and I’m using facilitate nicely… he was hunting for a triple double in the worst way.

    If I was going to grade the coach. I’d give him a D-. Leaving a dead bench unit out there for way too long and waiting till half time to put PG on Dragic… Dragic was getting easy looks all night, could have stopped him much earlier instead of leaving your best wing defender on Green/Tucker the entire first half.

    • E. Hooks

      I don’t see how you can say that Lance was hunting a Triple-Double when he secured it with over 10 minutes left to play with the 10th assist. His points, rebounds and assists came within the flow of the game, aside from the mini-showdown with Chuck ‘Em in the 1st half.
      However, I agree with the knocks on Vogel for this game. Dragic burned us when we played in Phoenix so we definitely should have been better prepared for the PnR. Whatever our initial strategy was, it quickly proved to be failing and PG should have been on Dragic much sooner.

      • Derek U

        I saw a player give up several wide open looks in favor of trying to earn the assists instead of making the smart play (especially when they’re losing). I love Lance as a player and a person, but I HATE HATE HATE when he starts hunting for triple doubles. He starts forcing assists instead of taking good looks, or he’ll force shots in order to score in doubles, or he’ll be over aggressive in securing rebounds instead of getting back on defense / creating the fast break. We all get it, he’s a talented player who can facilitate a team on both sides, but when you’re losing and losing big I’d like to see him play with what the game gives him instead of passing up open looks so he can feed an extremely covered Luis Scola who just ended up missing another shot… Lance should have scored in the 20′s tonight easily. Instead we’ll have the 14-10-10, which he did nothing after that 10th assists, and didn’t try for another rebound after his 10th rebound……

        • E. Hooks

          I’ll give it up to you, you certainly make a case against Lance. And Lord knows we’ve all seen him break out the big scope and hunt for the T:D and it is UGLY. It didn’t seem quite that obviously ugly that night, to me. But I respect that you can defend your point solidly. Salute.

          • Derek U

            You’ll be looking for it now.. Look when he’s short on points or assists. He forces the ball into players hands that shouldn’t be taking the shots or he goes 0-5 trying time after time to take contested shots just to get double digits.

    • ᗪEᑎI ♛

      Right on the money Derek,although I’d give coaching F- Why stop going to Hibbert after that 11-1 run,Suns couldnt stop him instead Vogel puts in the bench players.They went to West/Hill at the end of the game,and not your best player in George or Hibbert and lost.
      Sometimes I wonder if this is the right coach for this team! Last year vs Miami last 2 min,takes his best shot blocker out of the game.I think Vogel is a punk from New Jersey thats all

      • Derek U

        Whoa, I wont go as far as to say he’s not the coach for this team.. Maybe I spent my time rotting away wondering how long it’d take Bird to fire JOB and feel spoiled with Vogel who I’d compare to Carlisle. Has he made mistakes? Yeah, but he’s obviously been learning on the go. His rotation have gotten much better and I honestly doubt he’ll take the bigman out with 2 minutes left in the game ever again.

        • ᗪEᑎI ♛

          decisions decisions decisions well it took him two quarters to figure out that hill cant defend dragic, team was already 19 down.i dont know but there is something that i dont like about him i would take shaw over him thats just me maybe.i dont like the guy :)

          • Derek U

            You can hang onto his short comings, but the one thing Vogel has done consistently is learn from his mistakes. I still dislike his rotations at times but when they’re working you can’t bitch about it. The main issue, is it took 6 quarters technically to realize that Hill just wasn’t going to keep Dragic in front of him…

            I’m a big Shaw fan too, but I still think Vogel is the better coach of the 2, at least has the higher ceiling.

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  • Joe Betz

    What do we know? We know the Pacers starting five, when dialed in defensively, are the best combo in the NBA (see third quarter). We also know that the bench will either win or lose games for the Pacers (see last year). The bench played terribly last night, but I’m confident in their consistency through a 7 game series–and so are you–though you do have to be scratching your head, wondering why Green, Plumlee and DJA are putting up some impressive numbers away from the Pacers. Imagine if Green and DJA had an offensive explosion once…one time…in the ECF.

    This loss falls on the Pacers 3pt shooting. 1 for 15 (or was it 16?) will not win you many games. The only 3? Lance Stephenson during an in-game battle with Green. I can’t fault Lance for trying to facilitate and get the bench involved–he has to attempt to give them looks and create sooome offensive rhythm.

    • ᗪEᑎI ♛

      Who knows maybe there was some bad blood between the Green, Plumlee and the Pacers?Plumlee tried to dunk over Hibbert twice in a row last night maybe that will tell you something.They thought that they would start when they came to Indiana.Plumlee was burried behind the Hibbert,Mahimi and Pendergraph/Ayers now,so he was never given a chance so was green behind Sam Young and where is he now?bagging groceries probably.So why sign someone for 3yrs 10 million if you are not going to play him?It all falls on Coaching/Management poor coaching and managing the team

      • Derek U

        Sam Young is playing foreign ball, something pretty much all bad NBAers do. NBA isn’t the only form of pro basketball.

        Green was just a bad hire. They were hoping his athleticism and spot shooting would translate in Indiana and it did not.

        • ᗪEᑎI ♛

          the reason it didnt pan out because indiana doesnt play fast like phoenix

          • Derek U

            Net’s didn’t play fast, why did he work with D.Williams, but not with George Hill but works with guards like Dragic / Bledsoe?

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  • Joe

    Deep hatred for Green and Augustin…. those two were good two years ago… couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with the Pacers… and now both having another breakout year… disgusting.

    • Derek U

      They wren’t made for this system. Augustin is the furthest thing from a 2-way player and also needs minutes to make a difference. Green, I was very excited for cause of his athleticism, but was almost positive he wasn’t a good fit since the Pacers lack a traditional point guard offense.

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  • Ian

    Lets not get too overworked here. If the Pacers had hit even %33 of their WIDE OPEN 3 pointers, they would have won this game.

    I think it’s obvious the Pacers are in a team wide shooting slump, and I’m wondering if the pressure of battling for the best record all year and playing their kind of defense is wearing them down. It seems like the All Star break can’t come soon enough for PG.

    Also I think they need to dust off some of the other bench players and Vogel needs to be a little more willing to mix and match. Scola was a terrible matchup with the Suns because they are all small and athletic. It’s asking too much of him to play extended minutes against them.

    • AMF1322

      I think you’re right. I was mad as I watched the forth quarter and furious after the game. Then, I watched the box score. With three more 3′s, in theory, Indiana would have won. I wonder which team can win a game with only ONE three point made, or with 7% of 3′s made. Not even Miami or a super defensive minded team like Memphis (damn! they’re trully getting serious with Gasol back). This team might be tired, or just needs to work on its shooting a couple of days.
      But, for me, it’s worrisome that Indiana couldn’t set the pace of the game in both games against Phoenix. I understood that they were on a road trip last match, and was the second game of a back-to-back. But in this one? At home? That’s a problem. Championship teams don’t adapt based on how the other team on the court plays, they make the other teams play the pace they want to. Indiana has failed both times against Phoenix. I’m not so confident right now what would happen if this team has to play the finals against OKC.