Post-Game Grades: And the Thunder rolled

Indiana Pacers, Paul George, Victor Oladipo (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers, Paul George, Victor Oladipo (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

It was the most anticipated game of the Pacers’ season, but it was the Oklahoma City Thunder and Center Steven Adams who were most ready for the matchup.

149. 95. 100. Final. 100

For the Indiana Pacers, this isn’t the report card you would want to show your parents. After a thrilling first quarter, it was ugly for the better part of the next 30 minutes.

Both teams are two of the best teams in the NBA at deflecting passes, and neither team handled it well tossing a combined 26 turnovers. The real knockout blow wasn’t in the transition turnovers, it was on the glass. OKC grabbed ten more rebounds than Indiana including a 17-11 advantage on the offensive glass.

What was startling about this game, was the absence of that flowing offense that the Pacers had been displaying all season. And you can thank the Thunder’s brilliant defense for that. OKC smartly put the despised Paul George on Victor Oladipo, George’s length pestered Oladipo all night long and paralyzed Indiana’s top five offense.

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The Pacers also showed up defensively, but then again, the Thunder are terrible on offense (23rd in the league). They don’t move the ball and they don’t shoot well. They performed likewise in this one, unfortunately for the Pacers, Indiana tried their best to copy them. Hence OKC only shot 1.8 points off their season average, while Indy whiffed by 13.7.

A note of the main draw for the night: Paul George. The best line of the night was uttered by Quinn Buckner with 1:20 left in the 2nd: “Man, Paul is having a hard time concentrating out there.” George’s game was Jekyll and Hyde. On defense he was brilliant, holding Oladipo 5.5 points below his season average, and nearly 12 points below his Player of the Week pace. But on offense George was dreadful. 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting, and with many moments of ineptitude that delighted the Pacers’ faithful. He would likely deny it, but the crowd got to him.

The Good: The crowd was awesome. A lot of times when the fans decide to boo one player, they run out of steam around halftime. Not tonight. The Indiana crowd was on George the entire way. George and the rest of the OKC trio shot poorly a combined 10-35 from the field. Well done crowd.

The Bad: The Pacers offense flowed like low tide. If they could have taken care of the ball, or rebounded…by the way, Myles Turner needs to get under the rim and grab some rebounds. He had four, nine less that his counterpart Steven Adams, and Turner was outplayed by the Kiwi all game long.

MVP: Steven Adams, he was the best player on the floor this evening. he posted a 23 and 13, with 9 of those 13 boards coming on the offensive glass. If it wasn’t for Adams this would have been a Pacers’ blowout, even with the bad offense. But Adams was there, and the Thunder won.

LVP: That’s tough, maybe Turner. In fairness he did block 3 shots. He got worked over by Adams. And while 9 points looked like an ok amount, 6 of those came on 2 first half threes. He went to the line once in the second quarter and split the pair. So, 2 second half points, 4 rebounds and the box out ability of a turnstile, there’s your LVP. Turner should be right up there with Oladipo as the best Pacer, he is better than this.

X-Factor: Lance Stephenson was a blast to watch, with 9 points and 8 rebounds. His loooooong two to beat the first quarter buzzer is why you love Lance.

B. Collison’s 14 points were invaluable, and his offense kept Indiana in the game in the first quarter.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

C -. Oladipo can turn it on in the fourth, and did so again tonight. 8 of his 19 came in the final quarter. But he’s going to have to figure out how to keep attacking against elite defenders.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

B. Bogdanovic had a very nice game. He was Indy’s best offensive player over the entirety of the game and played impressive defense on George.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

B -. A double-double for Thad and his defense was typically top notch, his late bungle of an in-bounds may have cost Indiana the game.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

D+. The good? His shot blocking. The Bad? His post presence, or lack their of; and getting thoroughly out-played by Adams.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

DOMANTAS SABONIS. C. Sabonis had 8 points and 6 rebounds, but also had 3 turnovers. It wasn’t a bad game by Sabonis but it wasn’t good either.. C. Indiana Pacers

SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON. B. Lance had 9 points and 8 rebounds with the Lanciest to beat the first quarter buzzer. Coach McMillan had to pull him aside in the second to calm his hot-dogging down a bit.

C -. Joseph had 7 points, but had a crucial turnover in the late stages of the third, in a 4 point game.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

TJ LEAF. C. Got on the floor, made a three, atta boy.. PF. Indiana Pacers

Next: Indy mayor shouts out Victor Oladipo at NBA press conference

All this said, Indiana is still 16-12, and 16-10 against the non-OKC’s of the world. The Pacers have still won 4 of their last 5. Up next is the 14-13 and slumping Detroit Pistons. Detroit has lost seven in a row, averaging 92.9 points per game over that stretch. The game is in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night.