NBA Playoffs: Grades for Every Indiana Pacer in Game 1 vs. the Atlanta Hawks
The Pacers won the game 107-90 and kept the Hawks at bay for the entire game. They held the lead for nearly the entire game and stopped any run the Hawks tried to initiate by playing a suffocating team defense.
Nine separate players played at least 10 minutes in the contest, and most provided valuable minutes during their time on the court. This slideshow will cover those nine players and grade them on their Game 1 performances.
George Hill started off the game hot, going 5-for-5 from the field and scoring 15 of his 18 points in the first half.
He had less attempts in the second half and only finished with two assists, he controlled the pace of the game and made sound decisions with the ball on offense.
Although his matchup—Jeff Teague—had a better overall game, Hill played a quality game himself.
Lance Stephenson has been one of the Pacers' improving young players who took great strides in every aspect of his game this season.
He's a tough-minded shooting guard with great size at 6'5", 228 pounds, and his perimeter defense has vastly improved since last season. He finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.
He also played the second-most minutes out of any other Pacer, which shows how much head coach Frank Vogel trusts his young shooting guard.
Paul George came into the playoffs with high expectations and something to prove. His past two playoff performances have been mediocre, and he has actually played worse in the playoffs than in the regular season.
He went 3-for-13 from the field and missed a lot of shots that he should have made, but he compensated for that by being aggressive going to the rim and drawing contact. He attempted 18 free throws, and some of the calls probably weren't perfect, but he realized he needed to get to the rim more often when his shot isn't falling.
Additionally, he recorded 11 rebounds and 12 assists, which is good for his first playoff triple-double.
Although David West didn't get his usual number of touches, he out-rebounded both of the Hawks' big men and played excellent defense on Josh Smith in the post.
He didn't have a monstrous game, scoring just 13 points and grabbing nine boards, but he provided a reliable option on offense when George's shot wasn't falling.
West's consistency on both ends of the floor was evident of his value throughout the regular season. He hasn't been startled one bit during the playoffs either.
Roy Hibbert's exceptional play at the end of the season has seemed to transition into the playoffs as well.
The Georgetown big man recorded 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes of playing time. He dominated on the offensive glass, cleaning up his own misses and short teammate misses around the rim, as six of his eight rebounds were on the offensive end of the floor.
If Hibbert continues to play like the Hibbert in March, as opposed to the Hibbert in November, then the Pacers will dispatch the Hawks easily in this series.
Hansbrough played 16 minutes and did exactly what he's supposed to do. He provides energy, hustle and interior toughness.
He recorded nine points on 3-for-5 shooting, along with five offensive rebounds and never gave up on any play.
Augustin played just 11 minutes and didn't attempt a single shot. While he was on the floor, he didn't contribute much on offense other than giving the ball to Stephenson or George and watching them make a play.
He wasn't a detriment to the team whatsoever, but he didn't really affect the outcome of this game.
Green has had an inconsistent regular season and saw his minutes go up and down.
However, he proved he could still score the ball at a decent level, going 3-for-7 from beyond the arc. He didn't do much else, but his 11 points off the bench helped the Pacers maintain the lead, while the starters were resting.
Pendergraph didn't have a great game and accumulated three fouls in less than 14 minutes on the floor, and never got into a groove offensively.
Like Hansbrough he provided a rugged rebounding presence and energy off the bench to complement the Pacers front-court depth.