Post Game Grades: This One Stings, Pacers Can’t Close the Hornets

Nov 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacer guardforward Solomon Hill (44) and center Roy Hibbert (55) guard Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson (1) in the second half. The Indiana Pacers won 88-86 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacer guardforward Solomon Hill (44) and center Roy Hibbert (55) guard Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson (1) in the second half. The Indiana Pacers won 88-86 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Good: Until overtime, the Indiana Pacers played solid basketball. They defended well and even with the overtime the Hornets barely broke 80 points. They got the big men involved early, both Roy Hibbert and David West played great tonight. It’s frustrating to watch Indiana blow games late and we’re really past the point of moral victories, but they continue to impress me with their effort this season. They are extremely shorthanded this year, all they can do is continue to battle and use these games as great experience for the backups.

The Bad: It’s another loss, the Pacers fourth in a row. The trend continues… Pacers compete for 44 minutes then everything falls apart because the lack of closing ability. Tonight’s loss really stings (pun intended) because the Hornets were playing without their two best players, Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. The Pacers just couldn’t generate much offense. They committed a season high turnovers, 19, and shot 2-for-20 from 3-point land. That’s a recipe for disaster. We didn’t get to spoil Lance Stephenson bobblehead night.

MVP: Marvin Williams delivered the kill shots in this one. He knocked down a huge 3 late in the fourth that pretty much sucked the life out of the Pacers. He also delivered a dagger in OT when he recovered a loose ball and knocked down a long jumper to put Charlotte up by double digits. Williams had 9 and 7 tonight and added 3 steals.

LVP: Although he played some good defense tonight, Solomon Hill is the least valuable player of the game. He didn’t attempt a field goal until 2 minutes left in OT. That is flat out unacceptable and actually kind of embarrassing. The Pacers need him to be aggressive in every game. He needs to step up and try to become a legitimate threat, right now he’s too inconsistent to be taken seriously.

X-Factor: Overtime. When it went into OT, I knew the Pacers had no chance. Indiana has now lost 9 games by less than 3 points. Naturally, most of those games were decided in the final 2 minutes of the game which is a reoccurring theme this season. The Pacers have no one who can consistently close a game and as long as that continues to be true, the Pacers will continue to lose close games.

Indiana Pacers71FinalRecap | Box Score80Charlotte Hornets
David West, PF 37 MIN | 9-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -4 +/-David West carried the Pacers through an otherwise sub-par 2nd quarter. He put the team on his back and made play after play, helping the Pacers claim a halftime lead. He wasn’t as dominant in the second half but he showed up when he was needed, per usual. Just a typical solid, tough and consistent D. West performance.
Solomon Hill, SF 32 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6 +/-Solo was pathetic on offense tonight, but he did play some tough defense on several of Charlotte’s scorers throughout the game. It was not his best showing, but at least he wasn’t completely worthless.
Roy Hibbert, C 32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-2 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -10 +/-Big Roy came to play tonight. He grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with his 12 points, giving him his 100th career double-double. Even better, he swatted 6 shots and really shut down the lane throughout the game. Aside from being punked by Lance Stephenson, Roy played strong, decisive and reminded us why Indiana pays him so much.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 29 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -8 +/-I respect Stuckey for playing his heart out, despite battling with injuries and a recent illness. He didn’t score much, but he made some great decisions with the ball and dished out 4 assists. I don’t mind him not lighting it up from the floor because he gets after it on D.
C.J. Watson, PG 29 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -4 +/-C.J. Watson continues to struggle. He’s been in a slump lately and can’t seem to break out of it. He shot the ball poorly again tonight and really didn’t do anything memorable on either side of the ball.
Luis Scola, PF 15 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3 +/-Scola did basically nothing tonight besides be slower, older and less athletic than everyone around him. That’s usually the case every night but when he shoots well it’s okay. Tonight was an off night for Luis after playing really well against Detroit. Look for him to bounce back next game.
Damjan Rudez, SF 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -3 +/-Well, he didn’t duplicate his career high night that he had against Detroit last night, but I’d say he gave the Pacers some decent playing time off the bench. Teams are beginning to respect him as a shooting threat so it helps open up the lane for the guards to attack and dish if needed.
Ian Mahinmi, C 21 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | 0 +/-As usual, Mahinmi played big on defense and controlled the glass but his offensive performance was lackluster. He put in some quality minutes, but turned the ball over 3 times. That’s just way too many TO’s for a guy who plays 21 minutes and rarely touches the ball.
Donald Sloan, PG 24 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -5 +/-Donald started off slow, but eventually found a good rhythm. I like the Pacers so much more when he’s on the floor. He’s excellent at attacking the rim, plays tenacious defense and makes great decisions with the ball. He came up great for Indiana in the 4th quarter and continued to impress me as he’s done all season. Get him on the floor more, Frank!
C.J. Miles, SG 22 MIN | 2-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -3 +/-Both C.J.’s played poorly tonight, unfortunately. Miles couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting 0-for-7 from beyond the arch and under 20% from the field. The Pacers really need the smooth lefty to find his shot soon to complete the inside-out threat Vogel wants to create.
Frank Vogel
Coach Vogel wasn’t bad tonight. I wish we could have seen more Sloan and less Watson, but I have no major issues with Vogel’s game plan. It was obvious in the first half that he wanted the Pacers to pound it inside to Hibbert and West to capitalize on the missing Al Jefferson, but it just looked like the team got away from that strategy late in the game. This game was just like every other close game the Pacers have dropped. They simply have no closer and we can’t really put that on Frank.