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Post-Game Grades: Pacers Refuse to Let the Wizards Score

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The Good: That there was a clinic you just watched. We saw a throwback to the November/December defense that had this team in the historically elite discussion. Suffocation. There are people sleeping on a bed of nails tonight who are more comfortable than the Wizards were on offense tonight.

The Bad: First-half offense. That was hard to watch. I mean, give Washington’s D credit, too, and there was a little bit of “one of those nights” things going on for both teams. But Indiana shot 34.5% (12-for-35) in the first half while putting up just 34 points (and LED at the break somehow).

MVP: Frank Vogel. I dunno what he did to get the Pacers to play these 48 minutes of hell, but it sure was impressive

LVP: Evan Turner. Making ugly basketball uglier since February 2014.

X Factor: Washington’s free throws. They are generally bad at the line, but this was something else, and helped hold the Wizards’ point total down long enough that Indiana finally was able to hit the nitrous and pull away.

Indiana Pacers 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
63 Washington Wizards
David West, PF 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +27

Everyone struggled from the floor tonight, and West was no exception, but he made some nice passes to help spark an offensive resurgence after the half. There was a stretch were PG got fouled on a lob dunk, then West hit PG on a cut that really set the tone for the final rout. He also had a jumper a bit after. Played some gritty D.

Paul George, SF 42 MIN | 6-15 FG | 9-10 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 23 PTS | +21

Couldn’t hit much, but showed a lot by still getting 23 points on just 15 shots. Living at the line like a pimp is supposed to. He looked a bit relieved and confident that the team was rediscovering itself after the game at the podium. He sounded like a veteran addressing the media honestly while assessing his team’s good play while also having the right blend of discontent about his shooting. “If you’re a guy who loves defense, we’re your team,” he said. The kid is showing us a lot even while not playing perfectly.

Roy Hibbert, C 30 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +15

Big fella is out here smiling and generally played like he’s got no Fs to give — in a good way. Casually turning around to drop in some hooks and detering guys at the rim on the other side. There were a ton of midrange jumpers from Washington tonight and a lot of that had to do with Hibbert cutting off any lanes to the rim. Most impressive of all, he got a lot of good, deep position in the post. That, maybe more than anything we’ve seen to date in the playoffs, is a good indication that he is engaged and focused on doing his job.

George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +23

Really liked his game. Slowed down whoever he was guarding and John Wall had a nightmare game largely due to Hill’s steady, heady defense. He knows the small ways to make a difference and he worked those angles a lot this evening.

Lance Stephenson, SG 35 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +21

David West had some highly laudatory things to say about Lance’s defense tonight, so perhaps I missed some stuff, but he was forcing his offense early and got beat on the other end — most memorably on an Andre Miller backdoor cut — a few times. But he made some plays.

Luis Scola, PF 15 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -5

Don’t really remember his points to be honestly, which is weird in a game where the teams combined to score 37 points.

Evan Turner, SF 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -2

18 minutes is too many. 8 could might be.

Ian Mahinmi, C 18 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +7

Did his thing.

C.J. Watson, PG 12 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -1

Should probably could be getting Turner’s minutes.

Tags: Indiana Pacers

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