Post-Game Grades: Pacers Torched by Hot Hawks Shooters


The Good: Everything that happened after Chris Copeland entered the game. Indiana outscored Atlanta 47-33 during the final 19:43 of the game and wouldn’t you know it Cope played every second. It wasn’t that he personally was special. It was just the way the entire dynamic, on both ends of the court, changed once Indiana went small.

On offense, the Pacers greatly benefit from having Copeland and Watson (and/or Hill/Lance) to space the floor while Paul George and David West control the middle of the floor and make decisions. Atlanta doesn’t have the talent to defend that. One of West/George just needs make a move and draw help defense then swing the ball until someone is inevitably open.

On the other side, having fewer bulky, slow-moving guys prevents Atlanta from doing the same thing to Indiana. They can move through screens and not worry about the mobility issues that are presented by Hibbert, Scola and Mahinmi.

Going heavy Cope won’t work against the conference’s better teams, but it will definitely work against Atlanta. We just saw it. If they embrace this and realize that a temporary tactical switch will work, they can beat the Hawks twice in a row. If not, Vogel might wanna update his LinkedIn page.

The Bad: The second quarter. Again. Like, again again. And again. This keeps happening and it was the worst yet this time. They lost the period 41-19. That’s just tragic and dug a hole that even a valiant late comeback couldn’t overcome. The stats just make you think they’re typos: Atlanta shot 13-for-16 (81.3%) in the quarter and an unreal 9-for-11 (81.8%) from 3-point range. Mike Scott hit 5 threes and scored all 17 of his points in the period. Shelvin Mack had 13 in the second.

MVP: Paul George. Didn’t love his decision making early, but he stacked the box score.

LVP: Luis Scola didn’t do any scoring and couldn’t guard his men on the perimeter. He was the one most responsible for Mike Scott running roughshod.

X Factor: Mike Scott. Dubbed The Threegional Manager, and he was certainly stacking paper, metaphorically, tonight, hitting 5-of-6 triples while dropping 17 points in the second quarter.

Atlanta Hawks 107 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Indiana Pacers
David West, PF 40 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-8 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +1Nice little game, particularly when he was moving the ball. Didn’t close out particularly well on perimeter shooters.
Paul George, SF 43 MIN | 9-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 12 REB | 6 AST | 6 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 26 PTS | +6Very strong line, but I thought he was forcing bad shots in the first half quite a bit. Went 5-of-11 in that half and I swear all 6 of those misses were contested jumpers. Simply can’t quibble with such beastly stats though.
Roy Hibbert, C 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -712 minutes were nice to see. Getting there, Frank. Maybe 0 in Game 6 next.
George Hill, PG 38 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -18Made some open 3s, which is becoming somewhat of an encouraging trend after a rough first three games from behind the arc.
Lance Stephenson, SG 32 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -1Turned a layup into a wedgie, which is just hard to do, and missed two big free throws late. Over iso’d a bit early, too, but did add a jolt after halftime when he turned into, as Mike Wells of ESPN termed it, Y’all not doing anything, so I’m turning into Lincoln HS Lance”
Luis Scola, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -16The bench in general was bad throughout the first half, and the great play of Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack made it all the more glaring. Scola brought nothing and got SMOKED by Scott on defense, leaving him wide open way too often.
Evan Turner, SF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -14Not sure I’m surprised that he only got 4 minutes, but obviously didn’t have much effect on the outcome.
Chris Copeland, SF 20 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +17Was cold to start, but got his shot falling afterwards. Kept up on D.
Ian Mahinmi, C 16 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -15Hustling a lot, which was cool, but didn’t add much tangibles.
C.J. Watson, PG 27 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -3He’s the team’s best floor spacer (after Cope) and knocked em down tonight. Timely defense to force Atlanta into mistakes.
Frank Vogel
Only took five games and an insurmountable deficit for him to try Chris Copeland, which spaced the floor well and allowed all sorts of easy offense.

Tags: Indiana Pacers

  • Realist

    I love Vogel, but he probably deserves to be fired for this.

    • Jack Wright

      I hate vogel. not sure why any pacers fan would like him

      • llcoolray3000

        He won me over when he was named interim coach of a mediocre-at-best team and he began talking confidently about what the team was going to do in the playoffs (they were 17-27 when he got the gig).

        • Jack Wright

          he was handed a great situation for a young coach

  • Handicapping Pas

    Vogel is a dumb red neck who can’t make adjustments. Pacers have zero heart. Bird needs to break this team up and fire Vogel ASAP. If they lose game 6 Vogel is probably be gone. And the pacers will more than likely trade hill, hibbert and Stephenson. So this game 6 is for their pacers lives.

    • Ian

      Wow I’m surprised you had enough brain cells to figure out how to work your web browser.

    • Jack Wright

      I really doubt we would be able to trade Hibbert. I don’t really agree that we should break up this team because with an actual good coach, this team could still win a championship. I’m not so worried about Roy continuing this crap after this season.. A good coach would recognize that giving him the ball in the high post is a bad idea, so he wouldn’t let it happen. And it’s all in Roy’s head, anyway.. He’ll make it through it. But I think we’d really suffer if we lost Lance, especially. Lance could really shine under a good coach. Trading Hill might be a good idea but then again he seems like the type of versatile guy that could be utilized well, again, under a good coach.

      So hire a good — ehh, great –basketball coach, is what I’m saying. It’s such an important decision. I don’t understand how so many dumb coaches get hired — I think you can almost look at a guy and know if he can really coach. I’d try to get Hoiberg, maybe.

  • Ian

    I am a big fan of Vogel, but if he doesn’t play Copeland significant minutes the rest of this series and the Pacers lose, he should be gone.

    Copeland was excellent on defense with 3 blocks and a steal and sure he was cold when he came in, but when you sit on the bench for weeks at a time what can he expect.

    While the Pacers struggled to close shooters in the 2nd, some of what happened was pure fluke. Scott is a %31 3-pt shooter. If you have to help off of someone to cut of penetration, he’s the guy you want shooting the ball on the Hawks. Mack is an awful 3 point shooter as well.

    But as we’ve been saying all series the issue is the Pacers ability to put up points against a defense that wants to sag into the paint and stop penetration and post ups, and after 87 1/2 games Vogel finally put their best floor spacer on the floor and magic happened.

    • Jack Wright

      ……………so why are u a fan of vogel???? everything else you said made a lot of sense. just not that first little part.

      • Ian

        Well lets see, he took over a mediocre team, and turned them into a perennial contender. On his watch, young players George, Stephenson and Hibbert all evolved into far better players, far faster, than anyone expected. As an underdog he took the NBA champion the last two seasons to game 6 and game 7. His team won the #1 seed this year in the Eastern conference.

        No coach is good at everything, and Vogel is still very young and learning. He hasn’t had the blessing of having two of the greatest players of all time playing for him like Erik Spoelstra.

        It is incredibly frustrating that he hasn’t been able to adapt to what the Hawks have been doing and I hope he sees the light after game 5. Unless the Pacers can get George Karl or Larry Bird decides to return to coaching (which is highly unlikely) I don’t think the Pacers will be able to find a better coach.

        • Jack Wright

          George Karl? bleh

          • Ian

            Vogel is 12th all time in winning percentages amongst coaches with more than 2 seasons coaching. Karl is a few spots behind him. And the Pacers were a losing team when Vogel took over with no superstars or even close to superstars at the time.

            It’s easy to pick out the negative in a dark moment, but there are very few if any coaches capable of doing what he’s done in such a short time.

            Name me some examples of coaches the Pacers could hire and are available that would be better than Vogel (or Karl). And don’t start naming random college coaches. College coaches have a terrible record of coming to the NBA. All of the best young coaches in the league were assistants in the NBA.

          • Jack Wright

            u can look at vogel and see he doesn’t have what it takes to be a great coach. George Karl is just old and not at all what we need. u can give me all the facts u want, but facts are a part of history, not the future. I trust my gut, and my gut told me a hell of a long time ago that Vogel will be a liability in our quest for a title. And I was exactly right.

  • Petey’s Head

    These grades are probably a little high across the board. I’m wouldn’t give A’s and B+’s to anybody on a team that was down by 30 during the 3rd quarter. Most of those stats are a bit inflated given the ridiculous lead and frenetic play by the Pacers to get back into the game. Even though it seemed like the made a come back, the closest they got was 9, that’s closer than 30 but not close. Give them credit for fighting back, but clearly the Hawks let up a bit.

    • Ian

      Thing is, the Pacers had many chances to possibly complete the comeback. During the stretch early in the 4th when they cut it to about 10, Lance missed a layup and 2 Ft, and the refs blew a call where the ball struck an ATL player foot and Atlanta recovered which should have been a kick. Pacers missed a decent number of open looks during this stretch as well and Korver hit a contested 27 footer.

      • Petey’s Head

        I agree that there were some moments where the Pacers could have got closer, but there were also moments where the Hawks could have completely blown out the lead. Millsap got fouled on a layup with no call, Teague missed some easy, open shots. It goes both ways with both teams.

  • Special K

    We’ve been murmuring about it for weeks and weeks, but clearly Vogel is missing something here. Whether he can’t manage egos, can’t adjust or his schemes are too obvious, he’s doing something wrong. Probably many things. But when a team with this much talent goes in to this kind of free fall, and there’s no obvious mismatch in personnel, you have to look first at the coach. He looked like the next big thing last year, but something has happened this year that has exposed his limitations. You can’t expect to beat teams with more talent or better coached teams (all of the contenders fall in to one or both categories) with a coach that has become so easy to expose. It won’t work in the playoffs. With the team capped out, the talent level is going to remain relatively static. Unless Indianapolis finds a way to become a draw to the next big star that’s willing to take less money to go to a contender, the Pacers don’t look like they’ve got what it takes right now.

  • Dave Singh

    Vogel is absolutely gone if pacers lose this series. There is no doubt he will be fired. You do not lose to an 8 seed and then have a chance to redeem yourself next year. He is coaching for his job come Thursday. I never seen a team so fragile as these pacers. Time for them to invest in a sports physiologist.

    • Stu

      You know who the last coach was to lose as the #1 seed to a #8 seed? Greg Popovich