Defense was on point, including a noteworthy highlight
Offense has not exactly been a point of concern for the Pacers so far this season. With the points already coming in bunches, the problems have mainly lay on the defensive side of the ball, as evidenced by the fact that Indiana let the Celtics score 155 points in regulation about a week ago.
Indiana’s defense has been a major point of concern so far, with the Pacers routinely allowing inferior teams and players to have big games against them, which often leads to losses, as we saw against Charlotte. Other times, the Pacers will just give up on defense at the end of games and let the other team take over, as seen against the Chicago Bulls.
Tonight, however, neither was the case. The Pacers finally put it all together on both sides of the ball, hoping San Antonio to just 42.6% from the field and a meager 31% from beyond the arc.
In addition to this poor team performance, the Pacers also did a great job neutralizing the Spurs’ biggest threat, as Victor Wembanyama was held to a mere 3/12 from the field and only 13 points.
Wembanyama was also the subject of the biggest Pacers highlight of the game, as he was given his “Welcome to the NBA” moment by none other than Isaiah Jackson, who blocked a Wembanyama dunk attempt, leading to a Buddy Hield three on the other end.
Indeed, this play would have the Pacers in headlines yet again, with Jackson’s block making all the big sports media pages, despite some omitting his name for certain reasons.
Overall, while Indiana didn’t exactly rack up the most impressive defensive stats, as they had the exact same amount of steals as Denver (seven) and even one less block (four), it was how and when they got those stats, and the sheer defensive awareness of all the players involved that led to this resounding win.
If Indiana can keep up even a sliver of this level of defense, they will be a team to fear in the coming months and especially in the coming years.