Post-Game Grades: The Pacers love each other; beat the Hawks


In what was a snoozer of a win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Indiana Pacers reminded us why they are so damn likable this season.

Glenn Robinson III is back. The Indiana Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-93. Domantas Sabonis led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Thaddeus Young backed him up with 20 points of his own.

125. 116. 100. Final. 93

This is all you need to know about the facts of this game, but I’m here to tell you what made it special. This team loves each other. They have the chemistry that Pacers fans looked for the pacers 4 of 5 years. This team is special, no matter where this journey ends.

Things like chemistry are both overestimated and underappreciated and often misunderstood. Great teams don’t even need to talk to each other off the court to be successful. It certainly helps when they do, but talent can make up for many deficiencies.

But this Pacers team is simply special. They love playing with each other, or as Quinn Buckner says, for each other.

There was no better representation of that than when Cory Joseph went down after a foul, and seemingly the entire Pacers team came to get him up.

Something like this can get overstated, but this team wasn’t supposed to be this good. They were told they were a lottery team, hell, we believed they were, too. They were not enough of a return on trades. They were band-aids for a rough season.

They proved everyone wrong. They’ve already beat the 31.5 win predicted for them. They’re a lot more fun than Zach Lowe expected them to be, too.

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All of that just might just be why it’s so obvious they’re enjoying themselves. That might be why it’s clear that chemistry is possibly their greatest attribute as a team.

The Good: Thaddeus Young and Domantas Sabonis carried the team statistically on Friday. Their combined 41 points came on an 18 of 29 (62.1%) performance. That included a pair of 3-pointers from Young.

MVP: Not just because it’s the theme of the article, but this really was a team effort. The points from Thad and Domas led the way, but Joseph, Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson, and Bojan Bogdanovic had 54 points between the three of them.

Even though Myles Turner only had 7 points, his 8 rebounds and his defense made sure the Hawks didn’t get extra opportunities. Joe Young drained a pair of 3-pointers, too.

X-Factor: Glenn Robinson III is back and his shooting and defense are hopefully back as well. He was a neutral presence with only 4 points and 2 rebounds, but this was his first game since April.

VICTOR OLADIPO. B-. Oladipo shot 5 of 16 (31.3%) from the floor and didn’t look like his normal self. This may have been rust or trying to make up for the playmaking of Darren Collison, but he wasn’t getting to the rim and settled for mid-range shots. Criticisms aside, he was on a triple-double watch as he finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.. SG. Indiana Pacers

B-. The Horseman’s 4 of 9 (44.4%) shooting wasn’t anything special, but he played solid defense on Friday and the Pacers were at their best when he was on the floor. Even on a sorta off-night, the threat of his shooting opens up the floor a bit.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

A. Thaddeus Young worked the paint for 14 of his 20 points while also creating offense by scoring 8 points on second-chance opportunities. His 5 steals stood on the stat sheet as well.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

B-. 8 points and 7 rebounds, but the Pacers played some of their best defense when he was on the floor.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

Dvigubas-Dvigubas Mašina.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. A

SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON. B+. A very Lance Stephenson night: Shot 6 of 12 from the field with 8 assists and 8 rebounds, but annoyed coach Nate McMillan with his shot selection at one point, forcing a timeout. Again, a very Lance Stephenson night.

A. Cory Joseph’s 7 of 13 (53.8%) shooting paired well with his 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

B. 2 of 7 shooting? Meh. 2 of 3 from deep? Good. 8 rebounds? HUH?. PG. Indiana Pacers. JOE YOUNG

GLENN ROBINSON III. !. He’s back!. SG. Indiana Pacers

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The Pacers have the weekend off before facing the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.