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Post-Game Grades: Pacers Handily Win Game 7, Move on to Second Round



The Good: In the second quarter, the Pacers turned back into the defensive juggernauts that were lighting fire to and pillaging the whole league back in November. The Hawks scored just 13 points on a measly 4-of-16 (25.0%) shooting. The whole game was a masterful performance by the defense but this was the best stretch, most notably because Indiana held Atlanta to 2-for-14 (14.3%) shooting inside the arc in the period. After this bout of failure, the Hawks looked resigned to launch from deep, going 6-for-27 (22.2%) from 3-point range in the second half.

The Bad: The 3-point shooting accuracy. They went just 3-for-18 (16.7%) as a team. But honestly even this feels a bit nitpicky. There was really little to complain about as many of the misses were just blown open shots. There weren’t a lot of bad looks, just bad accuracy. And the misses were really just the difference between this game feeling like a blowout in the third and it actually becoming a full-on rout.

MVP: Paul George. This was the best we’ve seen him on the offensive end in a long time. He stepped up huge and did away with the forced shots and indecisive actions we saw earlier in the series. Sure, he did make a few tough shots, but even those felt in rhythm and his decision to take them looked organic rather than the result of a predetermined, calculated decision to shoot. He started the game 11-for-16 and 3 of those 5 misses were from behind the arc. His midrange game was a delight, and he said after the victory that this was a somewhat lost part of his game recently. Well, he found it tonight and looked like the Paul George who was on everybody’s MVP ballot back in November. And he was naturally devastating on defense as well. Quite the career-embiggening performance from the kid in a Game 7.

LVP: Nobody. David West couldn’t make any buckets and was acting a bit weird out there at times (yelling at Demarre Carroll, complaining to the refs), but he made too many plays as a facilitator. George Hill, too, didn’t shoot well, but he played a good game.

X Factor: The Atlanta 3-point chuckfest. The Hawks set an all-time playoff record* with 44(!!!) 3-point attempts. The previous record was held by the Dallas Mavericks, which shot 19-for-42 in a double-overtime win over Sacramento in 2003. In fact, the record for 3-point attempts in a non-overtime playoff game is 39, according to Basketball-Reference. Even if you include the regular season, an NBA team has attempted 44 or more 3-pointers only 10 times ever, per BBR. Of those, none have ever shot as badly as the 25.0% (on 11-for-44) Atlanta posted tonight. Just wow.

* Basketball-Reference only goes back to 1986. So it is possible there was a team that took 44 or more between 1980 (when the 3-point line was introduced) and 1986. But I sincerely doubt it. Teams barely used the line back then. I’ll eat my shoe if it happened before 1986.

Atlanta Hawks80Final
Recap | Box Score
92Indiana Pacers
David West, PF 43 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 6 BLK | 6 TO | 4 PTS | +13

YEEEESH on 1-for-7. Wasn’t a bad game by any means though. Facilitated well, made some nifty passes, and SIX blocks. This wasn’t clutch-time-hero-savior Mr. West from Game 6 but he showed up in a big way.

Paul George, SF 43 MIN | 11-23 FG | 7-8 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 30 PTS | +11

One of the better games he has ever played. And given the stage, there are only a few candidates to consider.

Roy Hibbert, C 31 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +16

Came out playing hard and proved to the world why writers write, pundits pund, and players play. Was a FORCE defensively in a way I haven’t seen in a long time, and dropped 8 points in the opening quarter. A quarter, by the way, that some crazy websites suggested he shouldn’t even have played in. What a bunch of losers those guys are.

George Hill, PG 44 MIN | 3-10 FG | 9-9 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +16

Earnt them throws, stacked them backpacks, and chased Kyle Korver around well, while doing all the little, intangible stuff we used to remember and the tangible cool stuff at the right times.

Lance Stephenson, SG 39 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 14 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +10

This guy is an action figure come to life.

Chris Copeland, SF 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2

Did his job. Protected the rim one time, which was as funny as it was effective.

Ian Mahinmi, C 14 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -4

The block of the year for Indiana, probably. Destroyed Teague’s will to live essentially.

C.J. Watson, PG 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | 0

Always expect good things from the Pacers when he is on the court. Becoming very reliable, despite his limitations at times.

Frank Vogel

I’m stupid, you’re smart. I was wrong, you were right. You’re the best, I’m the worst. You’re very good looking, I’m not attractive.