Another game, another disappointing loss for the Spurs in a winnable game against a hurting team. This one, just like the last, had to go to overtime before a victor could be decided, but the same fate the Spurs faced against Atlanta in overtime on Thursday was the same fate awaiting them tonight.
The shorthanded and struggling Indiana Pacers came into Saturday on the back of three straight losses including one the night before at the hands of the feisty Charlotte Hornets. The Pacers had a 21-29 record which was good for 9th in the weak East. Although in their last 10 they had the same record as the Spurs; 4-6. For the first time this season the Pacers were missing their All Star Sabonis who was hurt in the previous match. The Spurs got another leg up as Brogdon & Lamb were also out.
San Antonio wasn’t exactly at full strength but no one missing for the home team could match the impact of Sabonis’ for Indiana; Lonnie Walker IV missed his 7th straight.
The Spurs struggled to score inside the paint for the majority of the game but especially early as Pacers big man Myles Turner asserted his dominance with early blocks, Turner leads the league in blocked shots. The scoring was shared across the starters early as 6 minutes into the ball game each Spur starter had a field goal. Most were from midrange as the threat of Turner loomed large. A bit of running in transition helped the Spurs on a Derrick White 3 which gave the Spurs a 10-point lead on a 7-0 run.
Luka Samanic was in the rotation tonight as Drew Eubanks was a late scratch due to a migraine. Coincidentally his inclusion into the game came at a time where San Antonio started to turn the ball over and allowed Indiana to go on a 10-0 run to tie. Doug McDermott had 10 in the quarter for Indiana as DeMar picked up 10 for himself.
Indiana took the lead early in the 2nd as TJ McConnell pushed the pace for Indiana. San Antonio really struggled to find easy buckets and this allowed for frustration to seep in and turnovers to start ratcheting up. The two teams traded late 3 ‘s before Patty Mills and Caris LeVert went back and forth on individual scoring runs to end the half. Indiana were up 8 at the half.
It was the worst possible start for the Spurs after halftime, as they allowed an offensive rebound and a wide open and I mean WIDE OPEN three to Caris LeVert. I was actually shocked Pop didn’t call a timeout to get into his guys. The Spurs seemed to have got a telepathic message from the coaching team because after that “garbage” (I should really use a harsher term because that’s how bad that open 3 was, but I digress) effort the players turned up the heat, including back to back AND-1s for DeMar and Jakob. The Spurs used this momentum to go on a 13-2 run which included great defensive efforts with multiple blocks to tie the game. DeMar then had 6 straight to help the Spurs take the lead before another 11-0 run pushed the lead over double figures.
Once again with a comfortable lead, it was time for the Spurs to relax again, and they gave up 4 threes late in the frame, 2 to Aaron Holiday and 2 to Kelon Martin. This was all part of a larger run which ended as a 10-0 stretch to end the quarter and the Pacers held a 1-point lead going into the fourth.
Poor execution to start for the Spurs allowed the Pacers to extend the lead to 6 at the first timeout. The Spurs, especially Patty Mills, had several chances to tie the game midway through the final term but just couldn’t get that key bucket to fall. Rudy Gay kept the Spurs alive scoring five straight to make it a four point game with under three minutes remaining. A double dribble by Caris and then an unbelievable, and I mean unbelievable, save from Mills on an offensive rebound allowed Gay to go to the line where he hit both, making it a 1-point game. LeVert then had another key turnover as Jakob took the ball away from him before DeMar got fouled and went to the line. Unfortunately, he couldn’t convert both, leaving the game tied. Myles Turner missed a 3 and Spurs decided not to call a timeout, they rushed to the other end and gave the ball to DeMar at the buzzer but DeRozan’s shot didn’t fall, sending the team to their second straight overtime.
Dejounte started overtime quick, converting back to back buckets. TJ McConnell did the same for the Pacers to keep the game close. Rudy and Patty then missed open three point shots that would have given the Spurs a commanding position. Myles Turner had some strong possessions, got himself to the line, and converted 3 of 4. The Spurs down two had a wide open 3 in the corner to take the lead under a minute to go but Gay missed. TJ then hit a well-contested jumper on the other end and put the game to bed, but just in case Pacers fans had any jitters they were all gone by the next possession as DeMar turned it over and Indiana prevailed 139-133.
- Spurs struggled mightily to get back in transition in this game, especially in the first half. It was even more embarrassing the open layups and shots they gave up after MADE BUCKETS. You would think this has got to be a point of emphasis for the coaching staff moving forward, but it’s been a problem for the team for months now, so who knows!
- Great energy and effort by the Spurs in that third quarter, it was well improved than the first half and was done on both ends. The Spurs had 4 and-1’s in the 3rd alone.
- The Pacers went to a zone defense at the start of the 2nd and 4th. This put the Spurs into a funk offensively. In first two zone possessions they were actually able to hit two threes but after that they looked lost on how to figure it out and this was how Indiana was able to get back into the game especially in the second.
- So many missed shots and opportunities tonight for the Silver & Black. Big shots being missed over and over again and until the Spurs can get over this hump they are going to lose many close games going forward. Both Patty and Rudy missed some crucial late shots.
- With all the scoring, both teams had 7 players in double figures. The Pacers were led by Caris with 26 and the Spurs by DeMar with 25. Jak and KJ had double doubles for the Spurs.
Next game: Cavaliers on Monday, 6PM CT
The Spurs end their 9 game home stand against a young Cleveland squad who they beat a couple of weeks ago. San Antonio desperately needs this win before they go on the road for some difficult games.