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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers

High flying offense returns to Hemisfair Arena after thrilling OT victory.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With 7 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, San Antonio’s Mike Gale hit the go ahead shot and the Spurs held on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 143 to 142 on Monday night. George “Iceman” Gervin lead all scorers with 37 points while Larry Kenon contributed 32.

Oh sorry, it’s those pesky flashbacks again.

But I have an excellent excuse. You see, Monday’s game was played exactly 42 years after the Spurs officially shelved the red, white and blue ball with a 121 to 118 upset of Dr. J and the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly. If the Spurs current 121 ppg average doesn’t sound downright ABAish, then “The Whopper” is just a hamburger.

Wednesday’s opponent features fellow ABA expat Indiana Pacers, who enter the AT&T Center following a 10-point road loss to the Timberwolves.

Indiana Pacers (2-2) @ San Antonio Spurs (2-1)

October 24, 2018 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI

Spurs injuries: Dejounte Murray (knee), Lonnie Walker IV (knee), Derrick White (heel).

Pacers injuries: TJ Leaf (ankle)

Indiana seeks pace

The Pacers entered the season hoping to erase their Game 7 defeat to the Cavaliers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Lance Stephenson joined best bud LeBron James in LA, to be replaced by the younger and more talented Tyreke Evans. He joins a core of Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis that strives for consistency on both ends of the floor on a game to game basis. Both home wins, against Memphis and Brooklyn, featured good ball distribution, an even pace and focused defense while the two road loses, against the Bucks and T’Wolves, included inadequate ball movement and detached defense. By far, shooting guard Oladipo presents the greatest offensive threat. Expect Dante Cunningham to serve as his primary defender.

Spurs all about space

Against the Lakers, the Spurs got to their spots and hit their shots. In fact, during the first few minutes of the first quarter, they pretty much didn’t miss. Can we expect 51.5% overall and 53.6% from three on a regular basis? We all know the answer to that. However, this is not last year’s team that often struggled to make a jump shoot. Indiana will play slower than the Lakers and provide greater challenges on defense. Still, will San Antonio run at the pace of Monday’s game or will its offense morph to that of its opponent? Regardless, the Pacer game presents an opportunity to discover much more about this new iteration of the Spurs.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
DeRozan shoots over Mykhailiuk on his way 32 points.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Heavy lifting

In the first three games, DeMar DeRozan is averaging 29 points in 39 minutes of play while LaMarcus Aldridge sits on 23 points over 39. If they can’t sustain these minutes as the season progresses, who picks up the slack?

Vegas prediction: Spurs by 2.5

Game prediction: Spurs by 8

For a Pacers fan’s perspective, visit Indy Corn Rows

PtR’s Gamethread will be up this afternoon for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.