The Good – The final 29 minutes. Following the break, Indiana completely shut down Detroit, holding them to 26.1% shooting (12-for-46) after half time. Detroit was able to get to the line some, but in this stretch the Pacers still outscored the Pistons — in Detroit, a place they flew to from Philadelphia late last night — 71 to 44. Two huge factors: going 16-for-16 from the charity stripe and grabbing 13 offensive boards (on 35 missed field goals). Domination.
The Bad – Everything that came before that. You don’t need to be a mathematician to realize that if the Pacers were so good after the half, they were inversely atrocious prior. Indiana shot just 36.4% in the first half and trailed by 19 when the second quarter buzzer sounded. It was the making of an embarrassment sandwich that would have completely erased all the positives gained in the two wins over Boston and Philadelphia.
MVP – Paul George. He played every second of the game after half time and looked a helluva lot like the guy we saw early in the year. He couldn’t find his stroke from deep (hitting just 1-of-6 threes past halftime), but he made 5-of-6 two-pointers, and made all 9 of this free throw attempts. It was more than that though. He just played very measured basketball, passing up catch-and-shoots that he usually has decided to launch before even getting the ball in favor of subtle ball fakes that allowed him to probe the defense and make a play, often for someone else. He even looked more in control while securing rebounds and ball-handling. Just looked like the best player on the court because he undoubtedly was more so than by default like he has in recent months.
LVP – George Hill made just 1-of-7 shots and tied Luis Scola for a team-low 2 points. Without C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan available for the past six quarters he has been asked to do a bit more than is fair, but that is no excuse for this performance.
X Factor – Andrew Bynum. Basically the monster of the midway at this point. Yeti. Mothra with a taste for Krispy Kremes. However you wanna classify him, the recently lethargic gargantuan human now looks like he was torn from Rampage, scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 boards in under 20 minutes tonight. He made just 6-of-18 shots, so there’s something to work on, but 3 of his boards were offensive so he was staying active and getting extra looks for himself even after misses.
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|David West, PF 36 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +16Hit arguably the two biggest shots of the game (back to back jumpers late in overtime) to seal it.|
|Paul George, SF 46 MIN | 9-19 FG | 10-10 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 30 PTS | +17After the break, he was the guy all Pacers fans hope he can be. Not quite his November Neo phase (Mr. Anderson would have ended this in regulation), but this was some high-level basketballer-ing|
|Roy Hibbert, C 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +13Huge free throws late after Lance Stephenson got him the ball rolling to the hoop and he faked Josh Smith into the rafters. Then the next play, he swatted Greg Monroe and made sure to have the ball bounce off Monroe’s hands out of bounds. They don’t get to OT without these clutch plays.|
|George Hill, PG 34 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +2Yikes.|
|Lance Stephenson, SG 36 MIN | 5-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +1Played pretty well. Hit a giant 3 late.|
|Luis Scola, PF 17 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8Wasn’t good but make the only shot he hit tonight at an opportune time to tie the game as Indiana clawed back into the game.|
|Evan Turner, SF 30 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +2If he can play like this all the time he’s worth three Danny Grangers. Gaining some nice chemistry with Bynum.|
|Andrew Bynum, C 20 MIN | 6-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -5He has had more impact in two games than I expected him to all season.|
|Rasual Butler, SG 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | 0Took a hard fall and hit a trey. Not a bad day’s work.|
Tags: Indiana Pacers