With 4:05 left in the 4th quarter, the Pacers led 77-72 over the Magic. For the remainder of the game, they failed to register another point, eventually losing 81-77. While the game was a terrible display of offense for both teams (Pacers shot 34.5% to the Magic’s 39.5%), the final four minutes proved to be the undoing for the Pacers. They made a litany of poor shot choices, and the open looks they had were missed. Here’s a breakdown of a few offensive sequences the Pacers ran at the end of the game and what went wrong:
At this point, Granger has dribbled himself into no man’s land and none of the other Pacers are anywhere near the ball to help him out. Roy Hibbert appears to be his best option, but as you look at the next frame, you can see why Granger was helpless.
Granger is now completely pressed against the half-court line, which results in a back-court violation. Hibbert has no idea what’s going on as his back is to the play. None of the other Pacers have attempted to come help him either, seemingly content to let their teammate turn the ball over. This play seems like a breakdown in communication, and a timeout should’ve been taken.
Onto the next one…
As a result of Turkoglu and Baby’s decision to help, it leaves Jason Richardson on Hibbert, with Hibbert having position on him. Granger fails to recognize this mismatch, but he may have not been able to see over the three defenders. But, Paul George is wide open near the 3-point line as a release. Instead, Granger tries to play hero ball.
This was an inbounds play, and as a result there were a lot of moving parts. George inbounds the ball to Collison, who then heads towards where Granger is on the far sideline. West moves out of the lane to clear his defender away from the ball. George trails Collison to where Granger is.
Collison, who is not known for his shooting abilities, takes a long, contested jumper. The shot hits off the front rim, and the Magic get the rebound. The play the Pacers originally drew up looked good, but Collison’s refusal to pass the ball to George leads to this poor shot.
The Pacers’ offensive problems boils down to their poor shot selection as well as not trusting their teammates. Also, Frank Vogel’s decision to have Collison run the point over George Hill who was +6 while the starters were on the floor is questionable. I still believe the Pacers will win this series because when the Magic’s shooters are not hitting their 3′s, they will struggle to score. Also, a bench of Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon, J.J. Reddick, and Earl Clark is just not going to get it done.