All of those whose hearts jumped into their throats when they saw George Hill come up limping say ďAyeĒ all those who didnít reply ďNayĒ.
The ďAyeísĒ have it, motion forwarded.
Iím telling you guys I saw our season flash before my eyes when I saw George grab his hip & limp off of the floor. Iíll say this as simply as possible, we do NOT haven an adequate replacement for him if he goes down with injury or illness. Iím sorry but D.J. Augustine still looked like a flaming dung pile tonight, I know a lot of people donít like Ben & Iím not going to argue that he is ever going to be a solid NBA player either but I just see nothing from Augustine. Now to be fair to him he would have had two more assists if Mahinmi could have hit any of the wide open shots he got him but Iím telling you his defense is so bad that it takes anything away from whatever he brings on the offensive end.
When Hill came back on the floor my heart returned to my chest.
This was a trap game IMO, we were well rested (probably to rested) and facing a team who has been losing and coming off of a loss. Exactly the type of game that on occasion teams just get caught napping in and in the second half this became a little closer than I am sure all of us would have preferred. But to the teamís credit (and frankly some very odd coaching from Alvin Gentry) we did not collapse and held on to win and beat a team we needed to beat. That is the difference between now and the early part of the season, we are beating teams that we should. We still have yet to master the good teams but hopefully that will come. We have a very rough couple of games coming up with the Hawks & the Grizzlies but for now we can bask in the sunshine of a 4 game winning streak.
Itís been awhile so letís revisit the grading system tonight.
David West: B (A to end the game but really not much more than a D before that)
Spent the first three quarters of the game being pushed from stem to stern by Louis Scola and throwing up nothing but one handed runners that just would not find the bottom of the net. In fact he really wasnít doing anything very well for those three quarters as his defense was suspect, his passing not bad but nothing special and frankly a couple of mental errors that cost the ball. But then came ďwinning timeĒ and the old war horse just took over once again. It has to be frustrating to teams to try and guard him in the crunch because heís not like a LeBron or Bryant who will slice you with a magnitude of different looks. He basically has one move, a stutter step to create space and then a face up jumper and Iíll be damned if Iíve seen anybody be able to stop it. Now having said all of that Iíll say this I donít think he should have played the entire 3rd quarter and then the vast majority of the 4th because Tyler was really killing them when he was in there and West up until the 4th struggled.
Paul George: B
Solid game, not one of his killer super awesome games that he has been having lately but this will do. He really needs to elevate I think when he goes in the lane for a layup because I think he draws a lot of charges by staying low to the ground, I just wonder if he wouldnít get the call or at least a no call if he was going up instead of just forward? Good solid defensive effort as always and he and George Hill were working on entry passes during a time out which I thought was a really cool thing to watch as both of them were sharing ideas. There was no argument about it, just two team mates trying to work on a rhythm.
Roy Hibbert: B
Some are going to say that this grade is too high but Iím telling you that defensively he was once again a juggernaut even though he doesnít have the blocked shots to prove it. When he was in the game the Suns resorted to mid range jumpers and on one occasion Telfair drove to the rack looked at the rim and saw Roy coming and instead of going up he passed it out between two Suns and right out of bounds. All created by Hibbert and his shot blocking ability. Yes we all know right now he canít shoot, Iím not sure what is going on there but on the other end of the floor he is giving you a lot. Now on a small note here & this is where I am thankful for Gentry being a horrid coach, but Jermaine was just abusing Roy in the second half and for whatever reason he was taken out to close the game. Iím not sure what would have happened had he stayed in. Also letís make sure to point out Royís 14 boards, very happy to get that kind of production from him. We just have to hope that the shots will come.
Lance Stephenson: A
3 missed free throws away from an A+. Who would ever have dreamed that Lance would be a steady stable offensive presence who also turns games around with his defensive prowess? In the first quarter when the Suns were on a run Lance turned the game around with steals leading to breaks for our team. Now in fairness he did have one really boneheaded play where he drove down court and then across the baseline jumping in the air without knowing what he was going to do and getting cut off forcing him to throw a crappy pass right to Gortat. But other than that he was golden all night long. Getting in with the starters is really a great learning experience for him & I wonder what will occur when he returns to the bench. BillS and I debated that tonight & Iím still not sure where I stand on what happens with him.
George Hill: A
Until he came up lame I would have said that Roy or West was the MVP of our team. When I was very afraid that we might have an extended time without George it became very clear to me that he is the MVP of the team. We have a replacement for every position on the floor minus one. We do not have anyone who could step in and run the show if George went down. Anyway I think he went 3 quarters before he missed a shot and he was throwing up some really bizarre stuff. Telfair seemed to give him some problems, which I think is a pattern in fact. Not that Telfair gives him problems but it seems George does ok vs. the athletic big point guards but seems to have problems with the little water bug quick ones.
Tyler Hansbrough: B
In the first half he was the bomb. In fact I was stunned when Vogel didnít play him in the 3rd and then by the time he got in during the 4th he hadnít played in real time in over a half hour so while he didnít suck he didnít really do anything in the short time he played. But he really was a punch in the gut to Scola both figuratively and literally as Tyler was his typical physical self all night long with Louis and took him out of the game in the first half. He not only scored on him but took over rebounding as well. He also gave Jermaine a good pop in the chest with his forearm that caused me to grin and J.O. to grimace. This was a good game from Tyler.
Gerald Green: C
Meh, floated around the three point line to much for my taste. But I understand he did hit a couple of threeís so that helped the cause. Iím not sure though if I will ever be able to give him anything below a C for the rest of the season though after that dunk the other night vs. the Cavs. Iím still in awe of that dunk and stare down.
Ian Mahinmi: C-
Can we get him some stickum for when he is under the rim? Dear God Lance hit him in the hands with a perfect entry pass and he bobbled it out of bounds. Scott Pollard was even shaking his head on that one. Got to the line and did at least have the decency to hit the majority of his free throws. I donít know what happened when he was in there if it was him or someone else but it seemed like the Suns were able to penetrate at will during his time on the floor. Heís not a bad defender so I donít know for sure what happened.
D.J. Augustin: C-
Iím being generous here. To his credit he at least didnít lose the lead but other than that not much else. I hate his defense so much I could cry when he is on the floor. I know Ben wasnít the answer either but Iíd still much rather have him. I know Frank doesnít like Lance at the one spot but I swear that if Hill ever goes down I donít think we will win a game if we let D.J. get the majority of the p.g. min.
Anyway we won, we are on a good winning streak and the photo the other day of Danny taking jumpers lifted my spirits even higher.
Now the schedule gets a little tougher but thatís ok, if we are a good team we need to start beating good teams. That Atlanta game would be a nice start but Iím being realistic.
Also as a side note.
There is the P.T.O. Pacers Tailgating Organization which I know has a good pre game showing.
I would like to invite everyone to join us later in the night for the P.T.T.S. Pacers Trash Talking Society. We meet immediately after every game outside section one right near the green trash can (hence the name Trash Talking). Weíve been doing this for a few years and we have our regulars but I wanted to let everyone know that you are welcome to come join in or just stop by and say hi.
Anyway on to the Hawks.