Post-Game Grades: Allow the Pacers to Reintroduce Themself

The Good: This was a buttkicking start to finish. Literally a wire-to-wire win in which Miami never lead or even threatened. Indiana absorbed every mini-run to such a degree that the seemingly inevitable real one never even game. This was as balanced and professional of an offensive performance as I’ve seen this team play all season against a high-quality opponent. It’s a long series and it’s just one win, but the way in which they won sent a message to the world — and probably most important, to themselves — that the Pacers are ready play good basketball again.

The Bad: The defense was pretty flimsy, particularly early on. And they Heat got way too many buckets in the paint.

MVP: Can’t even do it. Five guys can cut up the game ball like King Solomon said.

LVP: Chris Bosh. He was a no show, impotently missing open jumpers and doing nothing else of substance.

X-Factor: C.J. Watson. They almost didn’t need it in a game when the starters played so well, but his points off the bench were what helped ensure this one never got close.

Miami Heat 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
107 Indiana Pacers
David West, PF 34 MIN | 8-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +13

Had his way with whoever Miami threw at him. Just a wonderfully efficient shooting game and made the right decision almost every time with the ball. Miami needs to find an answer to him rolling in the high screen roll. After he got the ball in space, he would find the open man — which was especially nifty when it was Roy on the low block.

Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 7-13 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +11

He has had better games and there were two or three head-scratching passes (per always), but for him to come out and have such an impact on the offensive side of the court — on this stage and given Indiana’s recent struggles — might make this his most impressive show of professionalism and will to date.

Roy Hibbert, C 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 9-13 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +19

Whatever on missing a few shots. Hibbert was a presence in the paint on both sides of the ball and he got Miami into heavy foul trouble. On defense, LeBron and Chalmers are no longer as scared to go at the rim — and the Heat did get too many points at the cup — but they still know he’s there. And Bosh was nowhere to be seen in Mr. Hibbert’s neighborhood all afternoon.

George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 3-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11

Set the tone for the game with his early 3s and aggressive penetration. Did a great job on Ray Allen through screens and was just generally magnificent defending all game.

Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +12

If it takes going into the luxury tax to re-sign this dude, someone either needs to get (a) Herb Simon to sign off on it or (b) forge his signature. He did everything correct in the second quarter and was even bailing out the offense on some of the few possessions the offense struggled. When he’s making this many plays, for himself and his teammates, he can affect the game more than almost any other guy in the league.

Luis Scola, PF 14 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2

Didn’t get exploited by the Heat’s small ball and generally fit in night. He only had one bucket, but it was a beautiful, powerful dunk with some sweet rim hang action.

Ian Mahinmi, C 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Probably his worst game in a long time. Got exploited twice within about a 2-minute span for lob dunks to Birdman.

C.J. Watson, PG 18 MIN | 3-4 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -2

He’s a beast. Had some sloppy and thoughtless defensive possessions, but more than made up for it with his scoring. He didn’t appear to have any lasting effects from being heaved into press row, but it was scary watching him fall like that after Mario Chalmers shoved him as he went up for a layup (which was ruled a flagrant foul).

Frank Vogel
Made a savvy “Turn into the 2004 Suns” adjustment after the Wizards series.

Tags: Indiana Pacers

  • Jaret Binford

    Turn into the 2004 suns adjustment! Ha! I hope our conference finals goes better than theirs though

  • llcoolray3000

    Everything fell their way. Finally. Seemed like they couldn’t catch any breaks against ATL or WAS. Part of it was them creating their own luck today with energy and effort. They caught Miami sleeping, but they had better not get complacent. They’re going to have to play even harder to win Game 2. Miami is going to play with some anger, and don’t be surprised if the officiating leans more in their favor.

  • Ian

    Great game obviously. Especially good to see the Heat waste a great game from Wade. He can’t bring it every game anymore, and losing a game in which he went for 27 on high percentage (making a TON of tough shots) is good news for the Pacers. Bosh won’t play that badly next game I’m guessing. They need to make sure they are contesting him like the shooter he is, because it only takes a couple to get it going. Good news is they also good good games from Allen and Birdman which won’t happen every night. LeBron looked oddly out of it the whole game despite scoring 25. He never tried to take over.

    The Heat may go at Hibbert, but they do a lot of contortions in order to get the ball up. You could see Chalmers miss a layup midway through because he saw Hibbert out of the corner of his eye.

    Miami will likely start trapping the pick and roll super aggressively the next game. I’ve never seen the Pacers run it so well. They will need to be prepared for this and avoid the dumb turnovers.

    The Pacers need to come out and play game 2 like they lost this game. I really do believe that the Heat bring out the best in them but they desperately need to hold serve at home to keep their confidence riding high.

    • Kyle Wendling

      I’m thinking Bosh will generally be mediocre at best this series, maybe with a good sequence here or there (he had back-to-back scores in this game but then went quiet). To balance that out, though, he’ll probably have one game where he just explodes for 25 points while leading Miami to victory.

  • Realist

    Strep throat!

    • Realist

      A bit harsh maybe. Great game though. That balanced scoring gives me a raging semi when I look at the box score.

      Just gotta stay on that even-keel. Right temperament is crucial at the moment. No mercy for Game 2.

  • Kyle Wendling

    A bit of a quibble, but I would give David West the “+” on that A. He was a nightmare for the Heat and was making fantastic decisions with the ball. If it wasn’t for Watson, I would name West the X Factor to this game.

  • Earl Malmsteen

    Good work, class! What a joy to watch The Five today. Especially enjoyed the passing between West and Hibbert, notably West passing up an easy layup to Hibbert, who converted the and-1 against Wade’s hack.

    Another good sign: West catching at 15 instead of popping out to the top of the key. Getting those 4-on-3 type opportunities are cash money for the Pacers and have been a rare sight lately. I like 17-foot assassin David West, but I LOVE 6 foot jump hook man-against-boys David West.

    No grade for Butler? I thought he did a good job chasing Ray Allen off screens. I’m hopeful they stick with him and keep Turner (and Cope) on the bench.

  • ZeRaul

    My MVP is Evan Turner’s “strep throat”

  • Manfred_J

    We have to re-sign Lance. No way can the Pacers afford to lose a potential top-25 player because of self-imposed budgetary concerns.