Pacers’ 4th quarter woes

Written by on April 29, 2012 in Breakdowns, Hoops, Playoffs - No comments

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:

This play begins with Darren Collison at the top of the key. He immediately hands the ball off to Granger.

Once Granger has the ball, Turkoglu and Davis trap him. Hibbert failed to set any sort of screen on Davis, allowing him to instantly put pressure on Granger.

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…

This play also begins with Collison at the top of the key. West and Granger switch positions, with West posting up on Anderson and Granger on Nelson.

Collison passes it to West, who then immediately passes it off to Granger. You can see Hibbert is just getting back into the play with only 11 seconds left on the shot clock.

Turkoglu and Baby step over to Granger’s position to help Nelson. After the prior possession where Granger turned it over due to their pressure, the Magic defense attempts to do it again.

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.

Granger takes the contested jumper, which does not go in, resulting in another wasted possession. If Granger had found Hibbert or George for the better shot, the game could’ve ended differently.

And finally…

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.

As Collison gets to his spot, Granger steps out and sets a ball screen on Jason Richardson freeing up George’s move to the basket.

Granger sets a good enough screen to allow George some space on his defender. Collison opts not to pass it to him though, despite a clear path to the basket for the quick two they were looking for.

Instead, Collison brings the ball back to the top of the key. He now has Turkoglu on him instead of Quentin Richardson. As the play has broke down, Collison elects to try take Hedo off the dribble.

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.


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