On Wednesday the San Antonio Spurs (9-4) take on the Indiana Pacers (6-8) at the AT&T Center. The Spurs are looking to win their fifth straight game and have won 7 of their last 8 games. The Pacers have been hot as of late, winning 5 of their past 7 games.
Despite not having Paul George, David West, and George Hill due to injuries all season, the Pacers have had their share of impressive wins. The Pacers have road wins against the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls. This is an indicator that the Spurs must not take a hungry team like the Pacers lightly, as they have shown the ability to win on the road.
Below are three keys on what the Spurs must do to beat Indiana.
1.) Contain Donald Sloan
Donald Sloan has been a bright spot for the Pacers despite being inconsistent. Sloan has a slight over Roy Hibbert as the team’s leading scorer (13.4 ppg). He has shown the ability to take over games, as he did in the Pacers last game against Dallas, where he scored 29 points to lead the Pacers to a surprising win on the road. Tony Parker will have his hands full as Sloan is a physical guard that can also shoot from the outside.
2.) Control Tempo
The game features two of the better defenses in the league. The Pacers are fourth in the league in points allowed (94.4), while the Spurs are the best, allowing only 91.3 points a game. The difference between the two teams is on offense, where the Pacers struggle (92.4 points). The Spurs average nearly five more points a game on offense and have many more consistent weapons.
After Hibbert and Sloan the Pacers look to get production out of Chris Copeland, Solomon Hill, A.J. Price, Luis Scola, and Rodney Stuckey. If the Spurs can make it a game of many possessions they have a much better shot at securing what could be an easy win.
3.) Tim Duncan Is Key
Tim Duncan’s needs to perform well on offense and defense against the Pacers. I expect Duncan to have a big game, after failing to score in double figures the last two games. The low point totals were a result of the Spurs not needing Duncan’s offense (6-8 fg), not a result of him getting shut down.
Duncan will need to contain Hibbert, who at times seems to be invisible. Despite being as inconsistent as anyone, Hibbert has had big games against Utah (29 points), Boston (22 points), and Philadelphia (22 points).
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