GRADES: Pacers 107, Hawks Not So Much

Bo Churney —  April 21, 2013

Pacers lead series, 1-0

IND(1-0) 107 – 90 (0-1)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 23 pts, 11 reb, 12 ast
J. Teague (ATL): 21 pts, 7 ast

I’m not sure how to describe this game. The Pacers simply outrebounded the Hawks, forced turnovers, and took advantage of the mismatches in their favor. The Hawks, meanwhile, had Al Horford playing the same amount of minutes as DeShawn Stevenson. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t feel like a recipe for success.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: In 28 minutes, Al had 14 points, six boards, and three assists. In 28 minutes. Why did Al only play 28 minutes? Well, Coach Drew sat his star big man for the final 5:29 of the 2nd quarter, a quarter where Al had scored 10 points and was getting whatever he wanted against the Indiana defense. Why did Drew sit him? Horford picked up his second foul. Yes, Drew sat his best player for the rest of the half because he had TWO fouls. Predictably, the Hawks looked like a mess without Horford on the floor. 8/10

Josh Smith: Smoove appeared to hurt his knee early in the second half, and simply was not an effective player after it. Yes, he has his penchant for jumpers, but when he’s healthy, he can still explode to the basket, rebound, and play great defense. In the final portion of the game, it wasn’t that Josh was too lazy or disinterested to do these things; he literally looked like he wasn’t able to them. Maybe he should have only played 28 minutes… 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was called for a couple of fouls that left me scratching my head, but the fact remains that he could not guard Paul George. Clearly my thought that the Hawks could live with Korver on George did not turn out to be a great plan. Compounded with Kyle going 2-for-7 from the field… this wasn’t one of his highlight games of his career. 2/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff had a good offensive night with 21 points and seven assists, but his defense on George Hill in the first half… well, it left a lot to be desired. His defense improved by the second half, but by that point, it was purely the Paul George show and there was nothing Teague could have done to stop it. 7.5/10

Devin Harris: Early in the game, Devin tried to get into the lane a couple of times and draw a foul, but those whistles did not come. This seemed to adversely effect him, as he really did not get aggressive again until late in the game. However, even if he did get those calls, it might not have helped; he missed all three of his free throw attempts on the night. 5/10

Johan Petro: Petro… actually had a good game. This does not mean he should crack the starting lineup, though. He can have his moments, but expecting him to guard Hibbert is laughable; you don’t need to sacrifice offense to try and stop Hibbert. 5/10

Ivan Johnson: Speaking of the starting lineup, maybe the Hawks need to consider putting Ivan out there as the starting power forward. He had ten points and five rebounds in 23 minutes, and really gave the team a burst of energy when they needed. He did have some sloppy plays, though, and those turnovers are something you can’t have in the playoffs. 7/10

DeShawn Stevenson: Deshawn didn’t have a bad night, but he really wasn’t able to stop Paul George either. He did hit a couple of timely threes, which is nice, but he’s out there for defense, which is usually what I grade him on. Any offense is a plus.5/10

Shelvin Mack: He was on the floor when the Hawks made their comeback attempt, which was largely aided by his play-making. He also made a three, but that was his only make of the game. 5/10

John Jenkins: The rookie seemed overwhelmed by the Indiana defense. He had two turnovers in just seven minutes, and looked completely out of sorts when he was on the floor. Not a great playoff debut. 2/10

Mike Scott, Anthony Tolliver, and Dahntay Jones: Shoutout to garbage time! INC/10

Larry Drew: Hey, Coach Drew… what on earth was that? This is the playoffs. You CANNOT have Al Horford only play 28 minutes when he’s not actually in foul trouble. Horford didn’t pick up his fouls because he couldn’t guard Hibbert; they were just fouls that normally happen throughout the course of a game. Can you imagine other teams benching their best player for the half with only two fouls, while losing? Something like this leads to a coach being told to pack his bags, not a banner in the rafters and a raise. He’s saved from getting a one purely because he put his five best players on the floor to start the game. 2/10

The opposition: Indiana saw the damage that Paul George was doing and kept feeding him. George was getting foul calls inside and kept charging into the lane. This game represented his second career triple-double, and is a true testament to his maturation as a player. David West and Tyler Hansbrough did all the dirty work to secure an easy Pacer victory. 9/10


Next: Atlanta at Indiana, Wednesday, April 24th

Bo Churney

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4 responses to GRADES: Pacers 107, Hawks Not So Much

  1. I feel for Josh Smith. It’s always been a question in the back of my mind… does Josh play this way because he is protecting his knees or does he play this way because he doesn’t respect Drew as coach and refuses to take direction from him. For the second year in a row, Smith’s fragility is being exposed at the worst possible time: In the playoffs. I could still see a desperate (and poorly managed) team like Phoenix throw a max offer at Josh to try to make a splash. But if Josh is determined to play for a contender next year and compete for a championship, there’s no way a contending organization throws anything like max money at Josh. Bret LaGree predicted long ago that the next team that signs Josh will come to regret it.

  2. Surprised you didn’t mention the 4th quarter scrub-fest the Hawks put out there. They got the lead down to like eight points with around 8:30 left and then they took a timeout. When play resumed, the bench was still out there with the exception of Teague. Instead of capitalizing on the bench’s cutting the lead, Drew waited till 6:38 to take a timeout when the lead got back to 11 points to put back out the starters. Is he resting players for games that won’t happen, because the starters aren’t in the first 4 games? The classic LD move? And he gave Horford the ‘Horford Treatment’ as your predecessor of this site termed it – fittingly, during the playoffs in 2011. Two things are very evident: they should not re-sign Drew and Smith. I have no reason to think LD will suddenly turn into a half decent playoffs coach, given how he returned to his usual scrub fest (I understand Stevenson for 25 minutes because at least he can shoot threes and they’re short on guards with Lou out, but Petro 12 minutes? Inexcusable.) Any half decent coach would feature a lineup with Ivan Johnson in it, at least if said coach believes Korver will continue to be a non factor. So Ivan had some signature turnovers – what other option is there on this team? No, they need to ride their starters, and Ivan needs to be either a starter or the sixth man. A Harden-style sixth man, who gets near-starter minutes.

  3. I should also add, I have no reason to think Smith will suddenly turn into the player they need him to be. Iso-Joe may be gone, but he lives on in Smith. What precedent is there to think Smith won’t continue to launch jumpers with more than 5 seconds left on the shot clock?

    • “What precedent is there to think Smith won’t continue to launch jumpers with more than 5 seconds left on the shot clock?”

      The last season under Mike Woodson. Of course, he’s not here, though.