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The Indiana Pacers are rolling into the AT&T Center Saturday night with the league’s best record, the NBA’s newest superstar in Paul George, and the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year in Roy Hibbert. All of this on Larry Bird’s birthday.
Yeah, things are going well for the Pacers this season.
But as noted in my post focusing on the four factors of these two teams, Indiana and San Antonio are pretty evenly matched. Here are few things we can expect tonight.
The Pacers are coming into the game with the most efficient defense in the league, while the Spurs are right behind them at second (side note: the Bobcats are the third ranked defense, right now…THIRD! THE BOBCATS!!). You wouldn’t be a ridiculous person for predicting that neither team breaks 80. Roy Hibbert is a big reason for that, too. No one camps out under the rim looking to disrupt shots in the
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paint like Hibbert. He’s literally always there. He doesn’t move. Needless to say he is leading the league in blocks. Paul George is putting out some quality play on the defensive side as well, with many experts saying it’s him and Lebron, and then everybody else, when it comes playing both sides of the ball. Indiana, as a whole, is going to make the Spurs work for buckets.
A little more needs to be said about Hibbert. He’s pretty amazing on the defensive side, though not consistent. It’s not unlike him to put up 12 pts, 6 blks, 12 rbs one night and then completely lay an egg the next. And not the good kind of egg that’s organic and cage free, bought from a farmers market. Hibbert is going out every night trying to win DPOY, and that sometimes puts him in foul trouble early. I’m looking forward to Tim Duncan going up against him – pivoting, shot-faking, side stepping his way to the rim. Timmy’s game is much more elegant than Hibbert’s, and may prove to be the difference.
He’s great. We are at the point now, in society, where Paul George moves ahead of Carmelo Anthony in “best players in the league” talks – with Lebron and Durant ahead of him, Matt Bonner close behind. No player is scoring with ease and consistency like George. Not much more can be said about him. I just had to say it.
Lance Stephenson isn’t a player who can beat the Spurs, but he’s a player that can help make things get ugly if it gets to that point. He’s fearless, mean, streaky, and on my “Dark Alley Fab 5” team. This dude owns the New York City high school scoring record. Let that sink in. NYC has had some pretty decent players come through their schools. Stephenson scored more points than them. I fear this dude. I know it’s an irrational fear, but it’s there. I also fear snakes raining from the sky.
Tiago Splitter was counted out for the Mexico City game, and it apparently doesn’t look good for tonight either.
Splitter (calf) "doesn't look good" for tomorrow vs. Indiana per Pop.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 6, 2013
In a weird way, I like Diaw more for this matchup anyway. He a bit smoother, a better shooter, and poses more of a threat to the Pacers’ defense. Hibbert usually eats players like Splitter for brunch (or fourth meal). Tiago out may be a blessing in disguise if Diaw can continue to play the way he has been all season.
I mean come on. He’s fun to watch when he’s successful. That, and every time Boris makes a bucket, and angel gets its wings.
Who? San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers
Where? AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
When? December 7, 2013, 7:30 PM CST
TV/Radio Coverage: TV: Fox Sports Southwest – RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
Projected Starting Lineups
StartersPG: George HillSG: Lance StephensonSF: Paul GeorgePF: David WestC: Roy Hibbert
StartersPG: Tony ParkerSG: Danny GreenSF: Kawhi LeonardPF: Boris DiawC: Tim Duncan