Credit: Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE
The Spurs won a tough battle in Indiana, 104-97.
The Spurs are 16% through the regular season and have impressed with a 10-3 record. The Spurs defeated the Indiana Pacers this Friday in a, 104-97, convincing win. At this point, it's time to look back and understand where the Spurs have been, and look forward to where they are going.
The Spurs will face tougher competition in the near future, due to their unfortunate schedule. Regardless of what's to come, the Spurs have performed admirably thus far. Their outstanding ten and three record may overstate their accomplishments given their mediocre play up to this point, but it should not diminish the potential of this team.
Out of their ten wins, only three were won by more than ten points. Most of their games could have gone either way, and the Spurs are very fortunate that the ball bounced in their favor so many times. The Spurs could easily have a worse record than the Lakers at this point, to give you a benchmark. Even so, good teams win close games, and the Spurs are, therefore, a good team.
A team that can play as inconsistently as this team has, and yet still earn a 10-3 record, is a team that should be feared. The Spurs have yet to play a full 48 minutes of Spurs basketball, and are still comfortably winning games against fierce opponents. Once this team learns how to play a full game, they will become the best team in the NBA. It's a matter of time.
Tonight, Tony Parker treated the spectators to a dominant performance. He defended, drove and shot his way to a season-high 33 point outburst. Every time the Spurs needed to regain control of the game, Tony took it. Tony Parker was simply magnificent as he led the comeback victory against the Pacers.
The game went back and forth throughout the second half. The game's pendulum swung each way until the Spurs' Manu Ginobili took control, mimicking the pendulum with his moves. It was a gutsy performance that Gregg Popovich recognized.
"We were down by 17," Gregg Popovich said, "But got it down to two. And then they took it up to nine again, and then we had to comeback a second time. So I thought it showed a lot of character. Tony and Tim were amazing. Manu came alive in the second half and guided us through."
Manu Ginobili returned to form in the second half. Manu's presence made the Spurs' comeback a possibility. When playing to his potential, Manu is a game changer. He is a pure point guard, as the position is defined. Manu makes all around him substantially better.
Tim had another typical night. As expected, he had 22 points, 17 rebounds, one assist and a steal. His one assist left something to be desired. The Spurs will expect more production from the big man if he is to keep his starting position. Even so, his 17 rebounds were much needed and contributed towards the victory.
Tony led the way with a double-double, comprised of a season-high 33 points and 10 assists. The Spurs are at their best when Tony's shot is falling. Tony is the leader of this team, like it or not, and the Spurs need him to play well in order to succeed in the playoffs.
The regular season can be won by role players, as Spurs fans have witnessed over the years, but the playoffs requires stars. Tony, Manu and Tim are elite. With 16% of the regular season spent, the Spurs' bench has shown it can win. But before these last 69 games are played, Tony, Manu and Tim will need to prove that they can carry this team through 48 consecutive minutes of hell. If that doesn't happen, Kawhi Leonard will be the most vital piece to the team. Do not discount Kawhi, though. The Spurs are lucky to have him.