Post-Game Grades: Pacers Use Smash Mouth Front Court to Beat Down Pistons

Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers /

104. 64. 112. 100. Final

Pacers used their “Smash Mouth” front court to beat down Pistons.

The Indiana Pacers were on their second night of a back-to-back Saturday evening, but it didn’t matter as they controlled the game from the opening tip. The Pacers never trailed in a game that only featured one tie score (2-2) and used its size to its advantage over Detroit’s smaller power forwards.

The Good: Handling Drummond. Andre Drummond pulled down his league-leading 43rd double-double Saturday night, but the Pacers neutralized him in a big way. Indiana’s bigs were able to find room near the hoop all night and the entire squad did a great job of “gang-rebounding” all night as they limited Drummond to only 13 boards. Perhaps most exciting: Indiana defended Drummond straight up for the entire evening and fans everywhere were able to avoid the free throw parade. If anything, Indiana may have tried too hard to avoid hacking Drummond, as Ian Mahinmi objected three consecutive times to what he thought were bad calls.

The Bad: Anthony Tolliver and Darrun Hilliard (?) knocked down seven triples, six in the second half, to make the game more interesting than it ever should have been. The Pacers were unable to contain Detroit’s point guards in the late third quarter and were forced to scramble around defensively far too often.

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The Ugly: Andre Drummond missed a free throw two feet to the right.

MVP: Despite battling foul trouble for much of the night, Paul George was brutally efficient, scoring 30 points in 30 minutes on only 13 shots. These matchups between George and Marcus Morris have turned into chippy affairs, but George has so far gotten the better of his opponent and once again led his team to victory tonight. On two occasions, PG took advantage of his elite body control and earned trips to the line off of 3-pt attempts en-route to taking fifteen free throws (he made fourteen of them). George also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out three assists including an important pocket pass to Jordan Hill that all but iced the game.

LVP: Ersan Ilyasova. The Turkish veteran was literally played off the floor by 19-year-old Myles Turner. Turner abused Ilyasova several times on both ends of the floor in the first half. Stan Van Gundy had to go away from Ilyasova altogether in the second half. He finished with only 4 points in 18 minutes of action.

X-Factor: Indiana’s bigs. Myles Turner, Ian Mahinmi, Jordan Hill, and Lavoy Allen combined for 37 points and 21 rebounds, but the numbers don’t accurately reflect the entire story. The Pacers just seemed bigger and tougher than the Pistons for most of the night as they were able to assert their will in what Paul George would refer to as “Indiana Basketball.” After tinkering around with spread lineups in November, it seems that Indiana may have settled back in with its old “Smash Mouth” security blanket.

<p>At one point Saturday night, Paul George split a double team and nothing bad happened. #ItWasHisNight</p>. Power Forward. Indiana Pacers. PAUL GEORGE. A

MONTA ELLIS. B-. <p>Monta was mostly invisible for three quarters, but he made some key plays down the stretch of this game including a beautiful over-the-head pass to Jordan Hill for a key dunk late in the 4th quarter.</p><p><span style=. Shooting Guard. Indiana Pacers

A-. <p>Just a classic, “George Hill is a quality point guard” game from the Hometown Hero.</p>. Point Guard. Indiana Pacers. GEORGE HILL

Indiana Pacers. C.J. MILES. B. <p>Miles was -13 on the night, but this was mostly due to the lineups he played with because of Paul George’s foul trouble. He also hit a huge three out of a time out to give the Pacers a nice cushion late in the 4th quarter.</p>. Shooting Guard

Indiana Pacers. IAN MAHINMI. C. <p>Not great. Not bad. Yeoman night for the Frenchman.</p>. Center

A-. <p>Hill submitted another great game for the Pacers, finishing with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Vogel trusted him and Turner down the stretch to finish the game out against Andre Drummond, and Hill rewarded his coach’s confidence with several big baskets.</p>. Center. Indiana Pacers. JORDAN HILL

SOLOMON HILL. C-. <p>He made a few really great plays and a few really terrible plays, all while playing harder than anyone else on the floor. If Solo was white, his effort would be praised with words like “scrappy” and “gutsy.” As it is, Solomon Hill put in a performance worthy of Solomon Hill.</p>. Small Forward. Indiana Pacers

A. <p>This kid is only 19.</p>. Center. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

B+. <p>Lavoy battled on the glass and chipped in five points as well, helping the Pacers assert their size and will all night.</p>. Power Forward. Indiana Pacers. LAVOY ALLEN

B+. <p>Young still gets consistently abused defensively, but he knocked down two timely threes and continued to show his improving playmaking ability.</p>. Point Guard. Indiana Pacers. JOE YOUNG

<p>Lil Dog played decent basketball in 8 spot minutes due to foul trouble.</p>. Small Forward. Indiana Pacers. GLENN ROBINSON. INC