Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player's second-round performance

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's second-round series win against New York?
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven / Elsa/GettyImages
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Andrew Nembhard

Stats: 7 Games, 29.6 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 3 RPG, 5 APG, 0.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.6 TOV, 3.9 FPG 54.7/52.6/75 Splits on 63.7% TS

Andrew Nembhard's story is remarkably similar to Myles Turner's, however, this one was on display more often. After doing a decent job on Damian Lillard in the first round and making himself a villain to Bucks fans, Nembhard went on to his next challenge, which was Jalen Brunson.

To say the least, this did not go well for Nembhard. While he played decent in Games 1 and 2, even notching 15 points in Game 2 on 7/9 from the field, he could not do anything to stop Brunson, who scored 43 points in Game 1 and 29 points in Game 2.

Game 3 was looking like Nembhard's worst playoff game so far, as he only had two points on 1/7 shooting with less than a minute left in the game and Indiana was still in it late. Somehow, the worst player on the floor made one of the biggest shots in Pacers franchise history, as Nembhard hit a long-range stepback bomb to put the Pacers up three with 16 seconds left, a lead they would not relinquish anytime soon.

Additionally, this was the first game of the series where Nembhard was not put on Brunson and Aaron Nesmith was given the assignment instead. This trend continued in Game 4, in which Nembhard had a decent nine points on 4/5 shooting to do along with five assists in Indiana's blowout victory to tie the series.

Game 5, however, seemed like a regression to the status quo. Once again put on Brunson to start the game, Nembhard reverted to not having a prayer on defense, as he 'held' him to 28 points on 12/18 shooting and looked lost while being torched all through the first half.

In the final two games, however, Nembhard looked far more comfortable and played his best basketball of the series. Now occasionally being put on Brunson for help defense, Nembhard played him much tighter than before and made life much harder for him to score, which worked wonderfully. Additionally, Nembhard himself increased his scoring output, finishing with 15 points in Game 6 and 20 in Game 7 to close the series out on a high note.

Once again, Nembhard's series can be divided into three parts. In the first two games and for the first half of Game 5, he was put on Brunson and could not get a single thing going. In Games 3 and 4, his play was awful at worst and decent at best but he made one of the biggest shots in Pacers history. In Games 6 and 7, however, everything clicked. Nembhard defended Brunson well, hit his shots, and gave the Pacers exactly what they needed to topple the Knicks in the end.

Final Grade: B (Rocky start, but figured it out in time)