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bellisimo
04-19-2011, 04:49 AM
Pacers are drowning in the clutch against Chicago

Posted by Royce Young

Two games, two leads with five minutes left. In both Games 1 and 2, the Pacers (http://www.cbssports.com/#%21/nba/teams/page/IND) had the top-seeded Bulls (http://www.cbssports.com/#%21/nba/teams/page/CHI) backed up to a wall in crunch time. Ask Frank Vogel honestly if he expected to be leading late in both games and he'd probably say yes. But I think he'd be lying.

There was a pretty clear difference in the Indiana offense in those last five minutes. Yes, the Bulls absolutely cranked up their defense. That must be mentioned. But there's no doubt that the Pacers had no idea where to go with the ball.

The bad part is, they have a go-to guy in Danny Granger (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/555950). The problem there is two-fold, though. One, Granger had Luol Deng (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/498277) guarding him, who is absolutely one of the most gifted one-on-one defenders in the league, and two, because Granger himself had no idea how he was supposed to score.

Here's what Granger did those last five minutes on Monday: missed a 17-foot jumper, made two free throws, missed a 26-foot jumper. That's it. That's all the Pacers' best player did in the biggest moments of the game. His fault? Hardly. Granger is the type of player that is a product of the four other players on the floor with him. He doesn't isolate, he doesn't score well off the dribble and he doesn't really create his own shot. He's best coming off a screen or finding the ball on a kick-out. He's a very good scorer, but only within the flow of a game.

In terms of clutch stats for the season (clutch is defined as the last five minutes of a game within five points), Granger shot just 30 percent from the field, took fewer attempts overall, but actually took more from 3. That tells me that Granger was forced to force. As the main offensive weapon, he's looking to score. But, he can't seem to get a normal look, so he had to launch from 25 feet.

The last five minutes of Indiana's 104-99 Game 1 loss in which the Bulls outscored the Pacers 14-1 down the stretch, Granger was just 0-2 with both shots being 3-pointers. This is a big, big issue for the Pacers. Granger averaged 20.5 points a game on the season and very obviously needs the ball. But Monday, the Pacers were actually running through rookie Paul George (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/1755181) late. The assumption there is simply that George had a weak defender in Kyle Korver (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/400558) on him. That's not the best reason to go away from your best playe, though. Then again, maybe it was Indiana's best option.

Against a team like Chicago that is truly an elite defensive team, you can't expect to get the same shot you got in the second quarter in the last five minutes. The game gets more physical, defenders crank up their energy and the officials let the game go a bit more. That hurts Granger, and the Pacers. In Game 1, Indiana was outscored 18-8 the last five minutes. Monday, it was 17-12.

That's why any coach would tell you what a gift it is to have a player like Derrick Rose (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/1622510), Kobe Bryant (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/6496), Dwyane Wade (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/400578), Chris Pau, LeBron James (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/400553), Kevin Durant (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/1231866) or Dirk Nowitzki (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/20622). The ball has a place in those last five minutes, and, not only that, it's in reliable hands. We can talk about clutch stats all we want, but the reality is, scoring in those last five minutes is tough. Having a guy that can at least get a look is a starter. Having a guy that can make it is even better. Indiana's lacking both right now.

The real shame is that the Pacers had a legitimate chance to win both games. They can point at a lot of things -- namely rebounding -- but offensive execution in the clutch is probably what will be the focus.

This is a team that had a solid 7-3 post player, but avoids him late in games (Roy Hibbert (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/players/playerpage/1622538)'s field goal attempts drop by nearly two a game the last five minutes of a close contest). This is a team that has one of the better scorers in the league but can't find him a shot outside of a 3-pointer. This is a team that can score well the first 43 minutes of a game, but just can't seem to figure out the last five.

If they can somehow climb over that mountain -- against the Bulls, much less -- the Pacers will threaten to scare Chicago a little more than they already have. But it's going to start with finding shots for Granger. Because he's not going to find them on his own.


thought this was a good read.

http://www.cbssports.com/#!/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/28649157

mattie
04-19-2011, 04:58 AM
Wow great read!

Very accurate assessment that I happen to agree with 100%. Granger isn't the problem. He is just not the solution to a larger problem the Pacers have. Hopefully we can get that player through a sign and trade or hopefully George becomes that player.

But as it stands, we should accept that Granger is a very gifted scorer. He just cannot create on his own. I hope he stays here a long time. Guys that can get to the line, post up, shoot lights out from distance while playing solid defense are very rare. Lets not lose this asset. Let's just find that scorer that can close out a game for us.

rexnom
04-19-2011, 05:16 AM
We need to do more to get Deng off of Danny. It's a credit to Danny that he's played as well with Deng all over him like he has been.

D-BONE
04-19-2011, 06:43 AM
I think he nailed it. I posted essentially the same premise over in the DG thread. In theory I like having Hibbert involved late to take some pressure off DG/open up shots for other guys. In reality, he's been MIA on offense for the most part other than the opening stretch of game 1.

I don't know if this is because we consciously or unconsciously go away from him. Certainly, he's in no advantageous matchup with Noah. In part, I think if we want him to help out in the last five minutes, we have to try to keep him involved more consistently throughout. On O Roy seems to operate best when he's engaged early and then consistently. Fouls can complicate that issue, but we could no doubt benefit from taking a little pressure off our perimeter guys.

graphic-er
04-19-2011, 09:24 AM
They need to run the Pick and and roll with Tyler and Danny late in the game. This could give Danny and immediate option for passing to a guy who can normally knock down that mid range jumper. It would also free up Danny to drive it past Boozer or Noah, don't think either of them can keep Danny out of the paint at that point. Noah might block the shot at times, but will be risking the foul.

Thats coaching in my opinion and the way Vogel has used Danny in crunch time has been his biggest most consistent mistake so far. Heck when you look at the other players in the league in crunch time iso situations, they almost always set up a pick and roll to get penetration.

Kid Minneapolis
04-19-2011, 10:20 AM
Think our best "shot" at generating "go-to" offense in the final 5 is Collison penetrating and dishing to a shooter or taking it to the hoop. He stirs the pot. Iso's out on the key or the wing just doesn't work for us, we don't have guys who can separate like that.

MTM
04-19-2011, 10:26 AM
Amazingly our best one-on-one offensive player in terms of isolation may be Dahntay Jones? Collinson is very good, but he's not the same player on one leg.

pizza guy
04-19-2011, 10:33 AM
Here's the bright side of an article like this: it's exactly right. This series against Chicago is showing that we have a really good group of players who would compliment a true star very well. The flipside of that coin is that it's showing us that Danny truly isn't that star. I think most of us have known that for awhile, but maybe this is enough for the front office to know that there must be changes made.

Whether we go after OJ Mayo in the offseason, or try to sign and trade for someone who can create and make shots in the clutch, it's obvious that we need to make some kind of move to get over this hump. And it's awesome that the team is getting this kind of attention and credit because they have been playing so well.

Trader Joe
04-19-2011, 11:27 AM
I just don't trust Roy late in a game. I don't know if I really trust anyone on the team, but Roy so far has shrunk from the big moments. (His dunk against the Lakers in November notwithstanding.)

PacersRule
04-19-2011, 11:32 AM
Amazingly our best one-on-one offensive player in terms of isolation may be Dahntay Jones? Collinson is very good, but he's not the same player on one leg.

I was thinking the same thing. In situations like last night (down the stretch), would it be a better idea to put Djones in for Paul, and have Djones guard Rose on defense and attack Korver on offense? I don't believe Paul is ready to create for himself in clutch situations yet. He lost the ball when trying to drive against Korver last night.

PacersRule
04-19-2011, 11:35 AM
I just don't trust Roy late in a game. I don't know if I really trust anyone on the team, but Roy so far has shrunk from the big moments. (His dunk against the Lakers in November notwithstanding.)

At this moment in time, I don't either. Passing the ball to Hibbert late in the game just feels like a turnover waiting to happen; too easy to double/triple team. I think the player I trust most is Collison, but even that's not very assuring.

joeyd
04-19-2011, 11:57 AM
The games both may have turned out different if someone would have stayed on Korver in the last 3 minutes of both games, AND we would get some ORBs. Starters outscored on ORBs like 17 to 4 last game. Too many easy second chance points by Chicago in Game 2 probably were the difference.

Sookie
04-19-2011, 12:05 PM
In the Boston/NY game, everyone knew the Celtics first choice of shot would be an open Ray Allen three pointer.

And yet they got an open Ray Allen three pointer.

We don't need someone to go one on one, we need to execute our offense. We were much better at that this game than the last one in the closing minutes, we just didn't make the free throws/shots. But at least a lot of them were good shots.

pacergod2
04-19-2011, 12:16 PM
We are going to beat down Chicago in Game 3. Playing at home will really help them late in games, IMO. They are more comfortable shooting there.

I still think that getting the ball down to Hibbert late in the games is imperative. He is aa good free throw shooter also. I absolutely disagree that he is a turnover waiting to happen. A lot of his turnovers are from bad setup on entry passes, but he definitely turns the ball over at times I agree. Hibbert is probably our most emotional guy, so I would think he would embrace the big moments. He needs experience down the stretch in these types of games more than any other player on our roster. We get so much action from our bigs' passing ability. It needs to be a big part of our late game production. Hibbert creates space for our wings who can't or aren't yet ready to isolate and score. We never really had anybody who could isolate and get their own bucket on those 90's teams, but we always executed well down the stretch. It helps that Reggie would drain big buckets with players in his face.

Danny needs Hibbert and Hansborough to help him create space. That much is clear. I wouldn't be mad if I never saw Danny try a complete iso and drive ever again. When it is in the flow of the offense, he is great, but his first step is not very good and he isn't strong enough to be able to drain a shot with contact. Think Paul Pierce. Danny's best weapon is the step back, but you know it is coming if he doesn't pull up for the early three.

PacersRule
04-19-2011, 12:22 PM
In the Boston/NY game, everyone knew the Celtics first choice of shot would be an open Ray Allen three pointer.

And yet they got an open Ray Allen three pointer.

We don't need someone to go one on one, we need to execute our offense. We were much better at that this game than the last one in the closing minutes, we just didn't make the free throws/shots. But at least a lot of them were good shots.

While that is true, Kevin Garnet did trip whoever was going to guard Ray Allen, hence the wide open shot.

Sookie
04-19-2011, 12:31 PM
While that is true, Kevin Garnet did trip whoever was going to guard Ray Allen, hence the wide open shot.

They get that shot enough that it wasn't just because KG tripped someone.

CableKC
04-19-2011, 12:33 PM
I was thinking the same thing. In situations like last night (down the stretch), would it be a better idea to put Djones in for Paul, and have Djones guard Rose on defense and attack Korver on offense? I don't believe Paul is ready to create for himself in clutch situations yet. He lost the ball when trying to drive against Korver last night.
I agree with you on this point....especially about PG at the end. Bird brought in Inferno for his veteran and ( presumably ) his playoff experience....I think that it's high-time that we use him before it's too late.

vnzla81
04-19-2011, 12:37 PM
I'm going to keep beating the same drum but I think we need to try to get this guy:


http://www.sportsoverdose.com/thumbs/monta-ellis-8-nba.jpg

Since86
04-19-2011, 12:45 PM
I think the solution is more the opposite direction than all of you.

I want to see Danny in the post. He's pretty damn good posting up about 10ft on the right block on that 45degree angle. He rocks that turnaround bank shot pretty well.

Clearly what they have hasn't been working.

Sookie
04-19-2011, 12:48 PM
I think the solution is more the opposite direction than all of you.

I want to see Danny in the post. He's pretty damn good posting up about 10ft on the right block on that 45degree angle. He rocks that turnaround bank shot pretty well.

Clearly what they have hasn't been working.

I want him to develop a post game over the summer, I'm not sure he's there yet. But I agree.

Either get someone (him, AJ if he's out there, or DC) an open shot or put Danny in the post...no Danny ISOs.

Trader Joe
04-19-2011, 12:50 PM
Deng has too much length for Danny's turn around to be consistently effective this series.

Let's not forget that Danny is matched up against one of the best one on one defenders in the league this series.

Since86
04-19-2011, 12:55 PM
Deng has too much length for Danny's turn around to be consistently effective this series.

Let's not forget that Danny is matched up against one of the best one on one defenders in the league this series.

His length gives him fits when he raises up to shoot. Danny has nice footwork on that spin move. He puts his shoulder into the defender to create space, steps through and then spins back the towards the baseline usually using the glass with a fade away.

Deng has been compensating by absorbing the contact and then crowding Danny when he turns back the second time. Danny had him on the step through in the 3rd, and knew it, but was committed to the shot.

It was in the 3rd off the left elbow.

Danny easily has the best footwork in the post, not like there's much competition, but he really does have some nice moves down there.

Trophy
04-19-2011, 01:07 PM
We've actually done a really good containing everyone outside of Rose.

The only guy I think we lose track of is Kyle Korver. He always seems to be open and will make nearly every open shot.

I feel like offensively, we've moved it around well, but they got guys like Deng and Noah all over our key players.

Hicks
04-19-2011, 01:19 PM
We definitely have more things to try or to try more often offensively.

However we end up getting it done, the emphasis must be on developing as large of a lead as possible after 3 quarters. Maybe you leave it unspoken in the lockeroom, but there has to be a recognition that they have a closer we simply can't counter. Therefore the best chance we have is to try to blow them out or otherwise produce a lead so large that it doesn't come down to a few key stops/scores, but several of them. So many that even a team like Chicago would be hard pressed to do it.

Basically, what we did in Game 1, but ideally more like a 12+ lead instead of a 10 point lead. We still lost, but we're much more likely to win in that situation than we are in the one we found ourselves in last night in Game 2 IMO.

Have to put as much pressure on the score board as possible heading down the stretch. If the Bulls can spin off another 16-1 run to end a game, then tip your hat to them, but let's at least try to make them have to do that two more times instead of 'only' asking them to go from down 6 to up 6.

CableKC
04-19-2011, 01:49 PM
I'm going to keep beating the same drum but I think we need to try to get this guy:


http://www.sportsoverdose.com/thumbs/monta-ellis-8-nba.jpg
I have no problem going after him...but my guess is that it will cost us more then a 1st and BRush....and will likely cost the Pacers a Player that we don't want to give up....PG.

CableKC
04-19-2011, 01:53 PM
I think the solution is more the opposite direction than all of you.

I want to see Danny in the post. He's pretty damn good posting up about 10ft on the right block on that 45degree angle. He rocks that turnaround bank shot pretty well.

Clearly what they have hasn't been working.
This goes down to what the writer of the article was saying....Deng and the rest of the Bulls was really crowding and making it difficult for Granger to get off a shot...much less get into a position to score in the low-post.

One of the things that I want the closing lineup to really practice on is to recognize when Granger is double-teamed and to rotate to a spot where Granger can pass the ball out. The Bulls defense simply clamped down on Granger and made it difficult for him to score....the rest of the Team has to recognize this and do their best to allow Granger to become a facilitator rather then the scorer at the end of the game.