Post-Game Grades: Indiana Pacers screw around, still beat Brooklyn Nets


The Indiana Pacers clinched the season series with their third win over the Brooklyn Nets, the second over them this week.

147. 123. 100. Final. 119

With the game tied and the clock running out in the fourth quarter, Victor Oladipo casually dribbled the ball as he waited to take another potential game-winning shot. The crowd could sense it, and after already hitting two earlier this year, they expected it.

Oladipo pulled up from 28 feet away and launched a 3-pointer over the head of DeMarre Carroll.

But it missed.

The Pacers went into overtime and took care of business, but it did make you wonder if Indiana’s only plan in these situations is let Oladipo do his magic.

Against the Brooklyn Nets — despite their better than expected season so far — you can get away with this. The Nets were on the tail end of a back to back and were running on fumes. Brooklyn shot just 33.3% in the final period and Indiana outscored them 70-54 in the second half, so it wasn’t as if they had momentum.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Victor Oladipo rightly possesses all the swagger in the world left over after Lance Stephenson and is comfortable taking that shot, but it probably wasn’t the best basketball decision. With the clock winding down and the game tied, there was no risk in driving to the basket to either pick up a foul, find a teammate, or still get a shot off. Settling for a 3-pointer is fun, but the Pacers could have used the opportunity to find out what else they can pull off in similar situations.

It’s far from an actual problem but against better teams, this might not be the best way of doing things.

On the bright side, you could see Carroll both trying to guard the 3-pointer while staying on his heels. Oladipo is someone who can beat you both ways, a testament to his evolution this season.

The Good: Despite the nit-picking, Oladipo’s 38 points on 56.4% shooting powered the Pacers as usual. The question no longer is can he keep this up, it is how many All-Star votes will he get.

The Bad: Another bad first quarter (28-21), followed by a worse second (29-20).

Indiana’s been outscored 55.5 to 52.6 this month in first halves, and 28.6 to 25.5 in the first quarter. More often than not they’ve rallied for the win, but just like settling for a contested Victor Oladipo three, there are better ways to do things.

MVP: Myles Turner deserves a good deal of credit for leading the charge in the third quarter and into the fourth. He scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half as he shot a perfect 5 for 5, including a pair of 3-pointers. Oladipo picked up things late, but Turner deserves credit for the defensive and offensive turnaround in the third.

B. Quietly scored 14 points while handing out 8 assists. He didn’t waste the shots he got as he went 6 of 10 on the night. It’s peak-DC when you get efficient scoring from him while he creates chances for his teammates.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

B+. 38 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, but the team’s slow start pulls down everyone’s grade.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

B. Bojan is finding his confidence again as a 7 of 13 (53.8%) night paired with a 2 of 5 performance beyond the arc. He grabbed 6 rebounds as well, but more importantly, he isn’t letting the Boston game linger in his head.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

THADDEUS YOUNG. B-. A confusing night state wise. He got into foul trouble early and went 1 of 4 on the night, but posted the best +/- at +16. He had 6 rebounds and 4 assists. My guess is the foul trouble helped him avoid being in when Brooklyn built their lead while he kept in the flow of the game in the second half.. PF. Indiana Pacers

A-. The yin to Thad’s yang: A +/- of -1, but posted a stat line of 23 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, and 6 blocks.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

B. Not Domas’ best shooting night as he shot 4 of 11 (36.3%) for 9 points, but 9 rebounds and 5 assists show he found many other ways to help out.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON. X. Not his best night stat wise with a 4 of 12 (33.3%) performance on his way to 11 points and 4 rebounds, but then again, he did this:. SG

CORY JOSEPH. B. Played better than his 6 points and 4 assists indicate. He made the most of his limited chances to affect the game on offense while still playing solid defense as far as this game is concerned.. PG. Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. C. Still can’t play defense, but was more active on Saturday than usual. Maybe his time with the Mad Ants did him some good. Had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist.. PF

Next: T.J. Leaf is killing the G-League

The Indiana Pacers get to enjoy their Christmas before taking on the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at 7 p.m.