The Good: I thought the Pacers once again came out after halftime with improved focus and a better commitment to executing their offense with some precision. They ran many good sets, but Roy Hibbert muffed three easy shots and George Hill muffed a few others. Blame the players for missing or the coach for continuing to let them embarrass themselves out there, but the actual ball and player movement was creating better looks than I’m accustomed to watching. The ball just wouldn’t go in.
The Bad: It doesn’t get much worse than holding your opponent to 15 points in a quarter — and still getting outscored. Indiana’s offense in the second period was revolting.
MVP: Jeff Teague. The kid is very good. Say what you want about the refs, but hitting that miracle 3-pointer was amazing, and he did plenty of other things to make it a bit disingenuous to only call this a Pacers’ collapse. The Hawks are playing a lot of good basketball, and nobody is more responsible than their floor general. It stands in high contrast to the Pacers’ rudderless approach.
LVP: Should just rename this section “Roy Hibbert of the Game.”
X Factor: Refs. There were two wrongly called out of bounds infractions (Lance losing one that never left the court, which led to a Kyle Korver 4-point play, and Jeff Teague stepping out before he hit his prayer 3 late). Look, Indiana was probably going to lose no matter what, but there were a lot of points involved here.
|David West, PF 37 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -6Looked tired at the end of the third, when he recorded 2 of his 5 misses from the floor on the night. Had one awful turnover that I recall being at a highly inopportune time, but I guess they all felt that way. Scrambled around on D pretty well by and large.|
|Paul George, SF 36 MIN | 3-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -16I’m taking his legitimately excellent defense for granted at this point and miss me with your boards against a team that bricked 22 threes. Long rebounds were all over the place. Fact is that he took altogether too many bad shots and made too many bad decisions in the fourth. Maybe it isn’t fair, but since the untimely deaths of Hibbert and Hill, he needs to do more with the ball. Zero points in the first half. Unacceptable.|
|Roy Hibbert, C 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -8Just fake an injury or something. Take yourself out of this. You’re killing your team.|
|George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 1-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -13This will sound ridiculous, but I thought he played OK. At some point, however, process ceases to matter and you just have to sit down a guy who can’t hit his shots, even if they’re fine shots. The late turnover, seconds after Hill came in for Watson, will be the last straw for many fans when it comes to Vogel’s rotation.|
|Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-6 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -7The scape goat who continues to be the only reliable starter on offense.|
|Luis Scola, PF 20 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | -9Indiana’s MVP so far this series.|
|Evan Turner, SF 8 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5Start a Fight Club with Roy maybe.|
|Chris Copeland, SF 0 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Missed his 1 shot in his (rounded down to) 0 minutes. Which is really all the proof we need that he shouldn’t ever play.|
|Ian Mahinmi, C 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3Should get 30 minutes in Game 4. Would have made maybe every shot Hibbert missed in the third quarter.|
|C.J. Watson, PG 22 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +2Pretty good. Defense was flimsy on many possessions though. Definitely should have been on the court late.|
|Frank Vogel |
You have better players than the Hawks. This is absurd.