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Nightly Grades: Pacers deliver a knockout blow to Miami

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

TeamGradeAnalysis
D+

The Wizards have a nasty habit of letting teams find their rhythm. When Bradley Beal went down with a hip pointer, their offense started making things more and more difficult for itself, and the result played into what Phoenix wants to do.

You have to cut off the ball for Phoenix in transition off the rebound or they're going to murder you in mid-transition. You can't just get back, you have to stop the ball and make their halfcourt offense work.

Washington tried to get into a game of runs. It didn't work.

B

Now this is much more like what we've come to know from Phonix. Ball movement, rotations, strong play inside, and lots of Goran Dragic. Huge win for the Suns who move back into the 8th seed with the win.

Eric Bledsoe with 23-6-7 and Dragic with 25-7-6. Just massive production from the point guards.

B-

They made this one harder than it needed to be, but they just had too many weapons. Toronto let Boston hang, and pretty much just didn't guard Jared Sullinger for long stretches, but when Terrence Ross puts in points along with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, they're tough to beat.

15 and 14 for Jonas Valanciunas ain't bad.

D+

Rajon Rondo took nine stitches in the face and came back in to finish the game. So yeah, he's pretty tough.

Jared Sullinger was awesome with 26 points.

Avery Bradley was pretty good.

There were no other good basketball players on this team for this game. The end.

C+

Deron Williams was great in stretches and took some really questionable shots in others. They obviously miss KG, but they were also just killed by Al Jefferson inside. Watch how many tap-ups he forces here over like nine Nets.

That meant that the Nets sent doubles, which opened up the outside. They forced OT with some heroics, but it always felt like Charlotte had control of this game.

The Atlantic is slipping away.

B+

Chris Douglas Roberts was hitting threes, Al Jefferson was the cookie monster, and Kemba Walker continues the great seaosn no one has noticed. They're no longer a team trying to do the same things they did before and win, they understand how to win.

They didn't get rattled when the Nets forced overtime, and while the last Chris Douglas Roberts shot was ridiculous they put together a formula that works.

Huge win. Charlotte's magic number is six.

B

It was an all-out battle royal, and the Pacers had a few more punches in the pocket. Roy Hibbert dominated the first quarter then vanished offensively. Paul George gave a strong effort at both ends.

But mostly, this was the kind of win the Pacers are made for. Ugly, tight, and violent. They had more bodies to foul with and had a few more weapons.

Also, David West hit a friggin' three, so sometimes it's just your night.

C-

Not calling timeout down four with 16 seconds left was a little weird. Greg Oden was a disaster guarding Hibbert, so the early returns on that investment are not great.

LeBron James was incredible, Dwyane Wade was pretty good, but their outside shooters were a disaster. If the Heat can't spread the floor and the opponent doesn't turn the ball over, scoring gets difficult. The Heat could have put the Pacers in a vise grip for homecourt. This loss didn't decide home court, but it didn't help their case.

B

They got worked the entire game, but luckily, Detroit is God Awful in the fourth. Huge comeback, Dion Waiters took over, and Cleveland is playing their best ball without Kyrie Irving and when the playoffs are out of reach. Typical.

F

Their fourth quarters are the very definition of sadness.

F

Atlanta doesn't have guys who can bring it every night and the result is long offensive lapses while the opponent sprints past them. They didn't have enough weapons to keep up with Minnesota's scoring.

A-

Defense! They played defense!

How about Gorgui Dieng who had 15 points and 15 rebounds? Kevin Love wasn't even their top scorer! What is happening?

B

Lost a little bit of focus, but other than that, you know the rest. The Spurs are really, really good. Tony Parker was on top of his game tonight.

D

They have no one left. Too many injuries. Tony Lawson is short when guarding Tony Parker. The end.

B

What a great performance on national television. Showcased their talent, looked like a real team, and still lost to keep the tank alive. .

D

Not great. They won, but they get a worse grade because it shouldn't have taken them so long to put Utah away. This was a pretty bad effort. Memphis was sloppy with their passing and didn't shoot well. But Utah's really bad so they lost.

F

Total failure. Chris Paul had a historically bad night and his shooting struggles since his injury have gone under the radar. They got torn up by a team without a point guard and had no answer for Anthony Davis.

B

Sure. Now they do things like beat the Clippers. Why not.

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