The Indiana Pacers start out the season against a very tough opponent in the San Antonio Spurs. They are few seasons away from their last NBA championship win, which was a sweep over a young LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now the Spurs, who are more seasoned, look like they are ready for a run to the Finals again already when you look at them on paper.
The Spurs may think it could be an easy one, as it was the Pacers. But remember, Indiana, with a lot more struggling squad last season, managed to get the Spurs trailing by nearly 15 points entering the third quarter in one of their meeting. However, San Antonio ended up winning with Tim Duncan’s last-second heroics to knock off Indiana, 100-99. It was right on Roy Hibbert. Hungry Hungry Hibbert could be looking for revenge.
The Spurs have a 34-year-old Duncan, a 33-year-old Manu Ginobili, and a 28-year-old Tony Parker. Parker is entering the last season of his contract and could bolt to the New York Knicks like the rumors say if San Antonio can’t get their fifth title this year. With young, future stars in Tiago Splitter, Dejuan Blair, and George Hill, the Spurs could be good to go. Along with that, they have Richard Jefferson.
“We are probably not the No. 1 favorites,” Ginobili said. “But heading into the playoffs we can beat anybody. Nobody’s that much better than us.”
Indiana opened up the season strong last year, going all the way up to as nearly 5-3. However, the playoffs were in no hope after going on a 1-10 run for the next eleven games. It’s been since the 2005-06 season since Indiana has made the playoffs. Finishing 32-50 last season, Indiana looks to improve by at least seven or eight games to be in playoff contention.
“Certainly, you’d love to get off to a good start but I believe this team will grow consistently throughout the year,” coach Jim O’Brien told the Pacers’ official website.
Indy looks to start off well, hopefully, with Danny Granger leading the way. Averaging over 25 points per game in the last two seasons, he looks to build on top of that to make himself a top-ten player for this season, which he is very close to. Granger has a slight advantage over the veteran Jefferson, and I expect a good game from the former All-Star.
There is also Roy Hibbert, who I expect to play much better on Duncan. He is coming nearly double-doubles in the pre-season, averaging a total of 17 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
“I just want to keep building and keep learning and get my conditioning up,” said Hibbert, who dropped 22 pounds over the summer and went from 14 percent body fat to 8.5. “I just want to keep working, keep building my wind so I can play 35 minutes a game.”
Hibbert has also been in MMA training and was working with Bill Walton over the summer.
Expect a much more improved Pacers team tonight. I see a good game.
Tags: All-Star Bill Walton Cleveland Cavaliers Danny Granger DeJuan Blair Fighting Free Agency George Hill Indiana Pacers Jim O'Brien LeBron James Manu Ginobili Mixed Martial Arts MMA NBA NBA All-Star NBA All-Star Game NBA All-Star Weekend NBA Finals NBA Free Agency NBA Playoffs NBA Pre-Season NBA Training Camp New York Knicks Portland Trail Blazers Pre-Season Richard Jefferson Roy Hibbert San Antonio Spurs Tiago Splitter Tim Duncan Tony Parker Training Camp