“A good team playing well ran into a great team playing better.” There is really no better way to sum this one up than how they did with that opening sentence on Pacers.com. Sure, Indiana shot 53.2% and recorded 21 assists on 42 made baskets. And, yup, a lot of the Indiana players finished with good lines. But they were really never in this game and got completely out-classed by what, at least tonight, was undisputedly a better team.
Tim Duncan made it look like 2005, Tony Parker showed just how good he has become and Manu once again proved to the world that he’s the best player in the league who comes off the bench, silly year-end awards be damned. The Pacers defense really never put any pressure on the Spurs stars — or even their middling fellas — and that passivity allowed the whole San Antonio team to operate as a unit and dismantle Indy’s standstill, reactive defenders. I wouldn’t exactly say one team was playing chess while the other was playing checkers. They were both playing chess. One team just looked like a grandmaster.
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t the Pacers.
They mounted a late, marginal comeback effort that was aided by a four-point play by Danny Granger, and did manage to cut it first to 10 then to single digits and once as low as, I believe, 7. But that scrambling urgency started way too late, and the Spurs had built way too large of a cushion against a Pacers team that was never able to attack enough to put San Antonio on its heels. From start to finish, the Spurs, mainly through execution and precision more so through effort, did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Indiana was efficient and successful on offense as well, but it just sorta seemed to come due to the Spurs indifference. It’s as if Coach Gregg Popovich and company said, “Sure, feel free to score 3 points to every 4 we get. Let me know how that works out for you after the game.”
Nobody played bad, but the team didn’t play well enough. Thus, see the grades. Very definition of a team loss.
|David West, PF 34 MIN | 7-16 FG | 3 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS |
|Danny Granger, SF 37 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS |
|Roy Hibbert, C 36 MIN | 6-10 FG | 7 REB | 4 BLK | 15 PTS |
|Darren Collison, PG 25 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 AST | 8 PTS |
|Paul George, SG 28 MIN | 8-11 FG | 5 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS |
Played rather well, aside from some early foul trouble.
|Dahntay Jones, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS |
|Leandro Barbosa, SG 14 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1 AST | 3 TOS | 3 PTS |
Played rather poorly, aside from hitting one three.
|Louis Amundson, C 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 PTS |
|George Hill, SG 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 7 REB | 6 AST | 9 PTS |
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 17 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2 REB | 12 PTS |