San Antonio Spurs (4-0) 101
Indiana Pacers (2-2) 79
Nothing was clicking from the tip for the Indiana Pacers in San Antonio on Monday night. The starting unit fell behind by eight points at the end of the first quarter, 26-18. The San Antonio Spurs grabbed the momentum early and never let go in a 101-79 route of the Indiana Pacers. Slow starts have become a concern at the onset of the young NBA season for head coach Frank Vogel.
A number of statistical categories add together to create a losing effort for the Indiana Pacers. All-Star center Roy Hibbert was never able to find his rhythm against future Hall of Fame center Tim Duncan. Hibbert started the game sloppy and finished with totals of two points (1-7 FGs), five rebounds, three turnovers and two fouls in almost 27 minutes of action.
It wasn’t only Hibbert that experienced a rough game at the AT&T Center. The entire team combined to shoot 27-79 (34%) from the field and 6-20 (30%) from behind the three-point arc. Hibbert’s three turnovers were only a small fraction of the team total of 19 turnovers. That has been the biggest problem for the blue and gold four games into the season. Not a single player recorded a positive number in the +/- category against strong offensive and defensive performances by San Antonio.
The game was not all bad for everyone on the eve of the 2012 Election. George Hill played very aggressively matching up against Tony Parker, maybe due to the fact the two used to team up together in Spurs uniforms. Hill completed a solid all-around effort on the court, finishing with 15 points on 5-15 shooting, six assists and four rebounds in just under 31 minutes. He also limited a very good point guard in Parker to just six points on 3-13 shooting to go along with seven dimes.
David West also chipped in a decent game for the Indiana Pacers. West added another double-double to his stat sheet with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Frank Vogel decided to keep West, and most of the starters, on the bench throughout the fourth quarter while the Pacers continued to struggle, falling behind by as many as 23 points in the final minutes of the game. Hill and West were both perfect from the free throw line, and the team shot 19-22 (86%) overall.
The blowout loss provided a good opportunity for the rookies Ben Hansbrough, Miles Plumlee and Orlando Johnson to play the final 3:50 of the game. Plumlee recorded two points, an impressive block against the Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and a rebound; Hansbrough had two points, one rebound, two fouls and a turnover; Johnson missed his only field goal attempt and had one turnover.
If the Pacers hope to string together some wins soon, they will need to cut back on the number of turnovers. Slow starts in the first and third quarters are also an issue the Pacers need to improve on. Knowing Vogel, he will undoubtedly get these points across to his players as they travel to Atlanta for the second of their three-game road trip on Wednesday. The team will conclude the trip in Minnesota on Friday night.