It was tough to get up for this game. The Spurs, in game three of their Rodeo Road Trip, already dropped a game in which they needed to win. The Pacers, well, they need to lose plenty of more games to ensure a decent pick in the Lottery.
The 32-19 Spurs, and particularly Tony Parker, should have been looking at tonight’s matchup as a must win. They should have tried to totally embarrass the Pacers at home. Parker looked awful against Toronto, so he should go crazy on former Spur George Hill.
Feb 9, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Antonio Spurs centerAron Baynes
(16) dunks against Indiana Pacers centerRoy Hibbert
(55) and forwardSolomon Hill
(44) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. San Antonio defeats Indiana 95-93. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Good thing they listened to me, right?
Parker started the game hot, leading the team in the first quarter with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and three assists. San Antonio center Matt Bonner had dreams of pulling Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert away from the basket while on offense. The problem with that scenario is on the defensive end Bonner was abused in the first quarter by Hibbert, spurring coach Gregg Popovich to make a defensive change. In a very short window Tiago Splitter was able to step in and match Hibbert’s six points in the first quarter. Until Splitter evened out the play for Spurs, the first quarter had fans nervous.
There would be no embarrassment of Indiana. At the end of the first quarter, in a must win game, San Antonio led by two points, 30-28.
Parker disappeared in the second period. Tim Duncan woke up. Duncan had 10 points, but more importantly was a beast on defense. His three blocks led all players up to halftime. A halftime that the Spurs should have been contemplating sitting their starters the rest of the way. Instead, they held to a slim two-point lead.
Then the bottom dropped out.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Rodney Stuckey and the Pacers were up 74-63. David West came alive during the period. His line up to that point was 10 points, six assists, and 13 boards. At the end of the period Indiana increased their lead to 14 points, scoring 34 in the quarter.
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San Antonio has an aversion to hitting a three-point shot. If the 28% shooting from behind the arc is not their worst this season it has to be right up there.
Then Marco Belinelli happened. I know that basketball is a game of streaks, but this was truly an awesome experience. The runs were amazing, and the one the Spurs needed was led by Belinelli. San Antonio buckled down and erased the 14 point lead with a 30 point quarter. And defensively, behind Duncan, they limited the Pacers to 14 points in the quarter.
Spurs win (somehow) 95-93 on the road.
Coach Gregg Popovich won his 1,000th win. Congratulations Coach Pop.