After years of being on the outside of the important moments in the NBA season, the Indiana Pacers are generating them so far. The team with the best record in the league, picking up wins in places they haven’t won in for years. Next up were the San Antonio Spurs, losing to the Paul George and co. phenomenon 111-100, finding it a bit too difficult to handle the length, athleticism and skill Frank Vogel has to work with.
The Pacers haven’t won in San Antonio since 2002, and even though none of the current Pacers players were on the team back then, it shows something that they know how far back this losing streak goes, and what it means to finally put it behind them. It means a lot. We haven’t won here since 2002. So it definitely means that we’re onto something. Something great is going on in here, if we just continue to keep on this path, we have a positive future.
Paul George (who else) was the main attraction once again, scoring 28 points on 9-of-14 from the field and 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Talks of MVP for certain players are always popular this time of year, but George is playing like a superstar for the best team in the league, obviously getting a point across that slowly sinking in with more and more people, despite the usual favorites (LeBron, Durant) playing quite well on their own.
The Pacers’ last victory against the Spurs was 100-99 on April 1, 2007, in Indianapolis. That was the last season the Spurs won a title at the end of, although that’s really besides the point. The main issue for them right now are three losses in five games, coming back from Mexico City with nothing to show for their visit due to the mysterious smoke malfunction that cancelled their game. There always comes a point of slowing down for San Antonio in each season, which makes them look older, almost washed up. Teams like Indiana do that to you.
Roy Hibbert is the unofficial spokesperson for the team, hitting out at the media for not respecting them enough. He’s not about points and numbers this season (12 points, 10 rebounds), but mostly about making life miserable for opponent big men. Tim Duncan isn’t the same when Tiago Splitter isn’t doing well, and the Brazilian spent only 8 minutes on the floor. Duncan was 3-of-10 from the field, finishing with 10 points. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 18.
For Indiana it was more of the same, as the starting five all scored in double figures: David West had 20 points, Lance Stephenson woke up on his good side and added 15. It was surprising to see C.J. Watson and Luis Scola both put up 12 points, with Scola usually the only one off the bench contributing anything to the offensive game.
I couldn’t be happier with how they played, particularly in the second and third quarter. Second quarter, getting back in the game, but in the third quarter, really busting it open. Tough to pick a star in the game with as many contributions as we got. Just great balance and a great team win.