I’m giving this the Quick Recap treatment for two reasons: one, I didn’t get to see much of the 1st half of this game, and two, technically, it’s still a holiday. Apparently, the Pacers thought so too, as they had this game won with a 17 point lead midway through the 3rd. Then, their shooting went on vacation and the Spurs kept grinding their way into a win.
Trending Up: The Big 3
Tim, Tony, and Manu: 32-50, 74 points, 20 rebounds, 14 assists, 4 turnovers, and 2 blocks (both from Manu…)
On a night when no one else on the team could string together consecutive shots, the Big 3 did what they had to do to win the game: make shots, move the ball, and run the offense.
Trending Down: Everyone Else
Of course, that means that the rest of team was 9-33, a real clankfest, which included 1-10 from 3. Danny Green continued his streak (31 regular season games with a made 3), but it seemed like the bench guys couldn’t throw it in the ocean.
Stat of the Game: 0-14
The real key to the game, though, was Indiana’s scoring drought to end the game. Wayne’s old friend George Hill hit a jumper with 5:30 left that put Indiana up 95-91. That was the last field goal the Pacers hit. Only two David West free throws with just two minutes remaining kept this from being a skunk.
It would be great to talk about how the Pacers offense was affected by the Spurs stellar defense, how they only one got one shot and no offensive boards, and how the Spurs just swallowed them during this stretch. Unfortunately, it’s not true. The Spurs defense was much better, true, but the Pacers just missed shots. Close ones, long ones, putbacks, 3s; it did not matter. The Pacers missed them all. Sometimes, a team earns a great comeback and sometimes, it’s handed to them on a platter. This was definitely the latter.
Seeing former Spurs Ian Mahinmi and George Hill was a reminder of teams past. I remember thinking at one time that Mahinmi was finally the big guy to play alongside Tim that we had been missing since the Admiral retired. I also remember wondering once what we could get in return for Tony Parker if we made George the point guard of the future. What a difference a few years makes. I don’t want to say that the Pop-R.C. braintrust is perfect, because they are certainly not. But the beauty of hindsight is that it allows you to set aside bias and admit when you were wrong. I was wrong about both of these guys and the FO was dead-on. I think the FO has earned the benefit of the doubt on player personnel moves from me for a long time.
Except on Lorbek. They should have brought him over this past summer, whatever it took.