Post-Game Grades: Some nights you have it, and some nights you’re tired


After a rousing triumph the night before in Minnesota, Indiana delivered an encouraging, albeit tired, performance in defeat in Oklahoma City.

114. 149. 96. 100. Final

There are some nights when you’re going to make 67 percent of your shots from the field, then there are others when you’re going to miss 66 percent of your shots from the field. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Indiana Pacers shot the later. Even with the lackluster shooting numbers, it still was an oddly encouraging night for these young Pacers.

In the Pacers’ first four games, Indiana either shot over 50 percent and won or shot under 50 and lost. While that’s great and all, as evident by this game, you’re not going to shoot an incredible percentage every game, or even in half of them. What was encouraging is that, even while shooting poorly, the Pacers were in it most of the way.

The biggest weight holding the Pacers back was fatigue. The Thunder did not play like the vaunted foe they should be. They got virtually nothing out of Paul George, and they’re about as deep as a kiddie pool. But, when you only have one player (Victor Oladipo) who played actively all game long, it’s going to be hard to capitalize on a superior opponent’s off night. If they Pacers say they weren’t tired from the night before, they’re lying.

The Good: The Backcourt. 67 of Indy’s 96 points came from Guards, and while some Pacers looked either tired or intimidated, It wasn’t from this unit. Victor Oladipo was all over the court, stepping up to take the big shots and, well, more on him in a bit. Darren Collison was Indiana’s second leading scorer with 18, and had key defensive plays. Collison just looked smarter than every Thunder that tried to guard him.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Cory Joseph delivered yet another solid performance, he’s unfazed by nothing, pick the scariest haunted house and he’s going to walk through with nary a shrug. And then there was Lance. His shots still aren’t falling, but there were signs of life. He was moving well, playing respectable defense and looked like he found his swagger again.

The Bad: Indiana really has no margin for error, in the post, with Myles Turner out. Turner missed his fourth straight game, and his presence was felt when Domantas Sabonis got into early foul trouble. Al Jefferson played well in relief — I had two spit takes when he created two turnovers- but he’s still mostly a turnstile on defense. Indiana could be really good when both Turner and Sabonis can cover for each other.

MVP: Oladipo. He dropped 35 and was the most dominant player on the floor for most of the game. He shot .611 from the field, .625 from three, and he made all eight of his free throws. He didn’t get an assist, but he did grab 5 rebounds, and the energy he provided got Indiana through the game. He was invaluable.

LVP: Paul George. I’m kidding it was Bojan Bogdanovic he has yet to show any confidence in his 3 pointers, he turned it over 5 times and looked lost defensively. Sometimes you wished he wasn’t even out there…speaking of which, George was rarely on the floor with all those pesky personal fouls he kept accumulating.

X-Factor: Thaddeus Young found his 3 point stroke, which kept Indiana in the game in the second quarter. He also locked down Paul “Wait, he played in this one” George, limiting George to 10 points on eight shots. Nate McMillan could hardly afford to take him out of the game.

In a game that featured all-stars named Russ, Melo and PG13, it was Oladipo’s whose star shined brightest. He was unafraid of the big stage.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO. A

B. Thad played his glue-guy role to perfection. He scored 14, grabbed 4 boards, stole it twice and sunk half of his threes, all the while playing solid defense.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

C. Lance was engaged, active and spunky. Still needs to needs to get some more shots to fall.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

F. Bojan needs to hit those open threes, the Pacers are counting on it, and he looked hesitant to even attempt them when the opportunities were there. And that was the tip of the iceberg.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON. B-. While he was active in the game, his 3 assists were a season low.. PG

PF/C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. C+. His 5 fouls severely limited him -he was forced to be cautious defensively and scored only 4 points- but he still grabbed 11 rebound for the third game in a row.

C+. Another even-keel performance. He didn’t post gaudy numbers, but filled the statsheet nevertheless.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

AL JEFFERSON. C+. Jefferson provided valuable relief minutes, while grabbed 7 rebounds and even dishing a couple assists. Having him as a reliable bench player will be huge.. C. Indiana Pacers

C. This is a good C. The best moment was when he tried to, while on the run, thread a pass between two defenders to Stephenson. It didn’t work, be he can see the tough passing lanes. He’s just a rookie.. PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF