Post-Game Grades: Good job, good effort, but the Pacers fall to the Heat


110. 108. 100. Final. 112

The Indiana Pacers rallied back to shrink a 21-point lead down to 2, but the Miami Heat held on for the win.

Myles Turner’s injury turned two possible wins into a pair of nearly guaranteed losses, but the Indiana Pacers nearly beat the Miami Heat after trailing by 21 points.

Things started to get out of hand for Indiana once Domantas “Not a Throw-in” Sabonis picked up his fourth foul in the first half. Sabonis’ 6 points and 5 rebounds up until that point may not sound like much but on a Pacers team missing their starting center, this was a turning point in the game.

What was a modest Pacers lead quickly became a 13-point deficit as the game hit halftime. Indiana would rally back to late, but Miami had time on their side as the best efforts of Victor Oladipo and the rest of Indiana came up short.

While there a loss is a loss, this was both a learning experience for these Pacers. These young players had to work their way back into the game one bucket at a time. They may have come up short, but games like this can build experience and poise. Hopefully, tonight’s loss serves as a building block for the Pacers.

The Good: Despite his foul trouble, Domantas Sabonis shined once again for the Indiana Pacers. His 18 points were second only to Victor Oladipo and his 12 rebounds led Indiana. This version of Sabonis is massively different than what we expected coming into the season.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Last season Domantas shot 39.9% on the year but so far through three games, he is shooting at 63.6% clip. So far this season he is averaging 12.3 points and 9 rebounds a game. That numbers going to come down but right he’s scoring with ease and still playing defense as well as he did a year ago. You can blame Russell Westbrook partially for Sabonis’ total points last season, but Westbrook had nothing to do with how poor of a shooter Domantas was.

He only needs to maintain some of this offense to be effective, but right now let’s hope this is a big step forward in his development as a player.

The Bad: Can we just write “lack of defense” here after every game?

MVP: Victor Oladipo dropping 28 points led all scorers and the shooting guard still found time to hand out 5 assists, grab 4 rebounds, and snatch up 4 steals while limiting himself to a pair of turnovers.

LVP: Bojan Bogdanovic was unimpressive offensively with only 7 points and his lack of defense left him with a -19 +/- on the night, by far the worst of any player.

X-Factor: Al Jefferson’s defense will remain suspect, but he shot 6 of 10 on the night, scoring 14 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.

Jefferson’s role on this team and in the modern NBA is limited, but he is still capable of coming in and scoring in the right scenarios for the Pacers.

B. His stepback jumper late in the fourth quarter nearly was the penultimate play in an Indiana comeback.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

B. Thaddeus Young will have countless games this season where you don’t realize his impact. His 14 points and 8 rebounds were a mild surprise to see in the box score after the game. His four offensive rebounds were the type of plays that can turn the tide of a game, though tonight they weren’t enough.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

D. Is Lance still too hyped? So far this season we’ve seen more bad Lance than good.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

F. Game’s like this remind you of his limited skill set.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

B. Was a few plays away from a double-double as he ended the night with 10 points, 8 assists, and only one turnover.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

A. His totals may drop was Myles Turner returns, but he is a pleasant surprise with his offense outshining his defense so far.. PF/C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

Old. Sorry, but this just wasn’t a good night for Damien Wilkins.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DAMIEN WILKINS

CORY JOSEPH. B. While he only had 8 points, his defense helped turn the tide in the second half.. PG. Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. C. 5 points and 3 rebounds, but nothing special for the rookie.. PF

A. If Al Jefferson is getting minutes, he better be getting buckets like he did tonight.. C. Indiana Pacers. AL JEFFERSON