In a game fraught with wild swings in momentum and enormous runs by both teams, Indiana continued the San Antonio Spurs’ misery at home with the road win, while ending its own three game losing streak. Despite the absence of All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jeremy Lamb, the Spurs struggled with getting enough stops and putting away the depleted visitors - falling to a discouraging 2-6 on the homestand.
San Antonio benefitted from a bounce-back game by Keldon Johnson (20 points and 10 rebounds) and herculean efforts by DeMar DeRozan (25 points and 6 assists) and Dejounte Murray (20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists).
Caris LeVert led the Pacers with 26 points and 9 assists, Myles Turner contributed 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and seven Pacers scored in double digits.
- With Baylor advancing to the title game Monday night, it’s worth noting that it’s only current alums in the association are Utah’s Royce O’Neale and Cleveland’s Taurean Prince. Former Bear Vinnie Johnson did come off the bench for the Spurs in ‘91-’92.
- The Pacers lead the league with 17 1⁄2 deflections per game, which is a pretty interesting stat to track.
- Shooting Appreciation: Both Murray and DeRozan were able to make difficult fadeaway jumpers over Turner in the opening stanza.
- Devin’s Deeds: Vassell cut off a Pacer’s path to the basket in transition early in the first half and snagged a smart steal. His 3-point form above the break looks true.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: It appears opponents have caught up to his limited offensive repertoire. After a first half offensive rebound and putback, Pacers’ analyst Quinn Buckner gushed “he will eat you up if you don’t block him out. LOOK AT THAT BODY.’ His pressure defense on the Pacers’ guards forced an over-and-back turnover in the third quarter.
- Poeltl Power: After swatting away a Doug McDermott shot off the backboard, Poeltl snagged a miss in transition and converted a layup through two Pacers for an and-1.
- Beautiful Game Homage: Late in the third quarter, a double-teamed DeRozan fed Poeltl at the arc, who kicked it out to Mills on the right wing, and Mills immediately re-directed the ball back to Poeltl for a lay-up in a sequence that would have made Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili proud.
- Both teams engaged in a frenetic, though uneven start. LeVert continued his success against San Antonio - converting his first four attempts, while San Antonio’s first four makes came from straightaway. The Spurs were able to secure a handful of offensive boards to optimize possessions and move out to a 24-16 lead. The Pacers force-fed Myles Turner later in the quarter to some success and he turned away several Spurs’ shots at the other end. A late 14-5 Indiana run eliminated the Spurs’ advantage exiting the period.
- Back-to-back threes by Vassell and Mills weren’t enough to prevent Indiana from taking the lead to start the second period via hot shooting. With Poeltl and his rim-protection on the bench, dimunitive T.J. McConnell took Murray and Mills to the rim in consecutive possessions for layups and nailed a baseline fade shortly after. White’s third foul sent him to the bench, and Indiana pushed its lead out to ten while the Spurs languished in an offensive malaise. A pair of Mills’ threes and lay-up temporarily staved off the Pacers’ extended run. The disjointed defense fittingly gave up a buzzer-beating floater to LeVert, and the Spurs were extremely lucky to be down only eight at the half after Indiana shot a blindingly hot 66% and doubled them up in paint points.
- The Spurs countered Indiana’s effort out of the break with a barrage of blocks, steals, and deflections. Murray’s jumper tied things at 72. DeRozan steadied San Antonio with countless midrange swishes, but Edmond Sumner, the latest in a line of unheralded Spurs opponents to have a career game, drove to the rim at will to much success. Back-to-back 3-point plays by Johnson and White gave San Antonio a nine point cushion briefly over their tired opponents but the Pacers took advantage of two Spurs turnovers to close the gap quickly to five. A pair of Kelan Martin threes and free throws by Goga Vitadze somehow gave Indiana the lead again to end the frame.
- Justin Holliday and McConnell found openings in the San Antonio defense for an array of makes to keep the pressure on the hosts. Murray’s shotmaking and playmaking kept the Spurs afloat. The teams engaged in a disjointed several minutes midway through the final frame with few points earned or given up. The Pacers, after showing zone throughout the previous three quarters, tried a box-and-one in the final minutes.
- A three and a dunk by Gay started a final run for San Antonio. A spectacular pass by LeVert to a cutting Sumner made it a five point advantage for Indiana. White lulled LeVert into a rare double dribble, and Gay netted a pair of free throws at the other end to trim the deficit to one. After San Antonio walled off LeVert in the paint, Poeltl stole his pass, and DeRozan made one of two free throws to make it 126-126. After a Turner miss by Indiana, DeRozan was unable to win the game on a fallaway from the right side.
- At the start of overtime, Murray matched McConnell and Turner’s paint floaters. DeRozan again converted 1-of-2 free throws, and McConnell’s baseline jumper pushed the Pacers into the lead. Free throws by Turner gave Indiana a four point advantage. San Antonio missed several crucial opportunities to tie or take the lead. Another pull-up by McConnell made it 137-133. DeRozan was stripped by Turner and the Pacers iced the game away from the line.
For the Pacers fan’s perspective, visit Indy Cornrows.
San Antonio takes on Collin Sexton and the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night at 6:00 PM CT.