Post-Game Grades: The Pacers actually beat the Spurs (No, really)


In what was easily the most exciting win of the year, the Indiana Pacers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 97-94 on Sunday, pushing their record to 3-3 on the season.

100. Final. 94. 29. 97

Wow. That’s all that can really be said after the final minute of action between the Pacers and Spurs on Sunday. After a closely contended game in which the Pacers led for a large majority of the time, the team found themselves down two points with 30 seconds to go.

Enter Victor Oladipo, who takes a crazy, ill-advised and contested 3-point shot that in most universes would’ve capped off the usual heartbreaking night for Pacers fans. But it went in. The Pacers defended well on the other end, Cory Joseph made some clutch free throws, and the Spurs somehow lost their second straight game.

It was a night that accomplished two major things: reaffirmed Dipo and Domantas Sabonis believers that the Pacers won the Paul George trade, and showed all Pacers fans that this is going to be a team worth rooting for.

The Good: The Pacers contended with a legit top 5 team in the league- probably top 10ish in their current state without Kawhi Leonard. They were able to close out offensively and defensively (an eternal struggle for the franchise). Sabonis and Oladipo once again look like amazing pieces of this team’s future. Oh, and they’ve been doing all of this without the actual current face of the franchise Myles Turner.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

The Bad: Lots of mistakes were made, and the Spurs capitalized on a lot of second chance buckets tonight. It’s hard to be too upset after an exciting win, but problems still exist that need to be addressed ASAP.

MVP: Shoutout to Oladipo and his wild 3-point shot, but tonight goes to Sabonis. His 22 points on 9-9 shooting and 12 rebounds went a long way in securing the victory tonight, and he was crucial late in the game on offense and defense. He definitely has made good use of the minutes he’s gained in the absence of Myles Turner.

LVP: Joe Young got some meaningful minutes tonight and had a chance to prove himself in the rotation. He didn’t.

X-Factor: The starters all put up key contributions tonight, and got pretty much no help from the bench. When your replacements put up 17 points all night, you know you have to step up. Fortunately, they did.

VICTOR OLADIPO. A. He was in foul trouble throughout most of the first half, but Oladipo came to play in the fourth. He got himself to the line quite a few times, got buckets and secured the Pacers’ final lead of the game on his there-are-no-more-adjectives-to-describe-how-wild-it-was 3-point bomb.. SG. Indiana Pacers

PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG. B. Another solid contribution from the veteran. He had a good stroke from deep tonight and didn’t do too bad on either side of the ball, tacking on a Pacers-high 36 minutes.

LANCE STEPHENSON. D. His cold streak to start the season hasn’t ended yet. Went 1-5 and didn’t contribute much anywhere else. He’s gotta find a way to make an impact when his shot isn’t falling.. SG. Indiana Pacers

A-. Luckily for Bogdanovic, his shot was on point tonight. Hit some key 3-pointers and finished the night with 15 points and a surprisingly strong 8 rebounds.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

C+. He didn’t put up the crazy numbers that he’s been putting up so far this season, but he dished out some good passes and kept his turnovers low.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

A monster game from Sabonis. Perfect from the field, his scoring and rebounding contributions were key in the win. All of this came despite some foul trouble on his end early. The young big has exceeded everyone’s expectations so far.. PF/C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. A+

C-. He wasn’t able to make much of anything happen tonight, but he’s gonna get a little bit of extra credit for making both of his clutch free-throws at the end of the game tonight (Cs get degrees).. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

D. Once again was bad on defense, and didn’t give the team any offensive contributions here. If you haven’t noticed a recurring theme, here’s a hint: the bench sucked tonight.. PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF

C-. Wasn’t too awful. Scored a bit, got some rebounds. Didn’t really help a bench that wasn’t doing so hot.. C. Indiana Pacers. AL JEFFERSON

Indiana Pacers. JOE YOUNG. D. Joe Young got his chance tonight with some meaningful minutes, but didn’t make good use of them. He hit one three, and did literally nothing else in 8 minutes of action. If he wants to prove he’s an NBA player, he has to play like one when he gets chances like these.. PG