Post-Game Grades: Indiana Pacers on a 3-game losing streak after loss to Bulls


A loss to a resurgent Chicago Bulls team puts Indiana on a 3-game losing skid as 2017 comes to a close.

There is a creeping feeling coming over the Indiana Pacers currently. Despite not having Victor Oladipo either fully healthy or at all during the current losing streak, there is a darkness forming around the edges of the team.

107. 100. Final. 119. 24

What if the start of the season was a fluke? What if they aren’t that good?

Indiana’s pace is starting to slow, just as it did last season, and the Pacers are no longer running and gunning their way to wins. They’re getting ground down by other teams and their defense gets exposed in the process. Their 7-7 in December now, as history repeats itself.

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Perhaps Oladipo covered up many of these issues. That isn’t a good thing either. Even if his absence is the explanation for these losses, it means the team behind him doesn’t fit together as well as it looked earlier in the season.

The Good: If there is any from this game, it’s that Darren Collison is a reliable scorer when pressed into service. Collison scored 30 points on 12 of 16 (75%) shooting, going 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He found time to hand out five assists as well.

The Bad: Nikola Mirotic went off for 28 points after coming off the bench as he rained down 8 3-pointers. He has a habit of doing such things to the Pacers.

MVP: Lauri Markkanen and Collison were the only players that bested Mirotic, but the Bulls got the win. Markkanen dropped 32 points in, shooting 11 of 17 from the field, and 5 of 9 from deep.

LVP: Bojan Bogdanovic went 2 of 10, which obviously is an issue when his defense is suspect.

B. The only Pacers rotation player in the positive as far +/- is concerned, but only a +2.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

Bojan Strugglin’ovic. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. D

D. A bit of a rough stretch here for Thad. He scored 8 points and brought down 7 rebounds, but his defense played a big role in Mirotic and Markkanen’s scoring.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

C-. Myles Turner’s size allows bigger centers to bully him for rebounds, but when that happens he must score more. 13 points and 3 rebounds on a night where he was 5 of 8 on free throws. It is good to get to the line, but he needs to covert more of those.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. C-. 14 points (6 of 13) and 9 rebounds for the Lithuanian.  However, his defense wasn’t as strong as Indiana needed.. C

B. Lance Stephenson had a good night filling in for Oladipo with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. The memories of his awful start to the year shooting have faded, but you hope for more than 8 of 19 (42%) from the field. However, 2 of 5 from deep ain’t bad.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

C. 10 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Those numbers might sound better in a lower scoring game, but like a few other Pacers, the totals feel like a product of the pace rather than above-average performances.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

C-. His 7 points in 12 minutes are fine, but the Pacers were getting ran out of the building.. PG. Indiana Pacers. JOE YOUNG

Next: Trade ideas for the Pacers in the new year

The Indiana Pacers face the Minnesota Timberwolves at 5 p.m.