It all started well for Spurs in front of the Saturday night crowd that was eager to witness the matchup between two of the best teams in the NBA. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili set a blistering pace, each scoring 8 points by the middle of the second quarter, leading the Spurs to an early double-digit lead.
Then the Pacers decided to do Pacer things.
The Pacers, behind All-Star forward Paul George, ended the second with a 30-18 run, giving them a 5 point halftime lead. Indiana had all the momentum going into halftime and brought that momentum back out for the third quarter with another quick 12-2 run. With a fifteen point lead, the Pacers never looked back.
So what went wrong?
First and foremost, Indiana locked down on defense. This team is the absolute best in the NBA at completely shutting down an entire offense, all while limiting fouls. Duncan only added only 2 more points after starting with a quick eight. The Spurs also only attempted 6 free-throws for the entire game compared to Indiana’s 28. That’s a lot of jump-shooting, folks.
Along with shutting Duncan down inside, the Pacers took Tiago Splitter out entirely early in the game. After playing only a short time since his last injury,
Splitter left early in the second quarter due to calf tightness. This makes it pretty tough to compete inside with the likes of David West and Roy Hibbert.
It also doesn’t help when Paul George decides to continue his already monstrous season.
George ended the game with a seemingly effortless 28 points and 6 assists, proving that he belongs in the upper echelon of the stars in the NBA. The kid can straight up play ball, and play ball well. He has Kobe-esque confidence thus far this season without the typical selfish Kobe numbers. Paul George heard the hype about himself in the offseason, and the kid is making sure to live up to it.
Going back to the game, not everything was bad news for the Spurs. Sure, they lost by 11 (which felt like 40), but Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili finally had games we all know they are capable of. It’s been a rough season for these two thus far, but after putting up 18 and 16 respectively on fairly efficient shooting, hopes for the continued success of these two key players are high.
Looking ahead, the Spurs have four games in five nights this week, but all against sub-par opponents. Look for the veteran San Antonio Spurs to put this debacle behind them and roll off some quick wins to stay atop the West.