San Antonio Spurs 122, Indiana Pacers 109
AT&T CENTER — It was a popular storyline in the preseason, the San Antonio Spurs are going to push the pace. San Antonio is going to try to speed things up and score a few extra baskets a game.
No one really bought it, though. We don’t believe you, you need more people.
Then San Antonio went out and scored 37 points in the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers and 66 points in the first half en route to a 122-109 win.
If the season ended tonight (which it doesn’t), the Spurs would finish at least in the top three in the NBA in scoring. But there are still 81 games left to play.
After the game, no one in the Spurs locker room was happy with the defense in the first half. The Spurs scored 66 points, which is great and all, but they allowed the Pacers to score 65 and shoot almost 57% from the field.
“They shot the ball incredibly well in the first half,” Tim Duncan said after the game. “Even the shots we did contest, they seemed to knock every one of them down.”
San Antonio took a lot of shots early in the shot clock, not a staple of the Gregg Popovich system. The silver and black finished with 22 fast break points in the game, and nearly as many out of the secondary break, where every player crosses half court but the defense is still trying to get organized.
In the second half San Antonio’s defense played more up to Coach Pop’s standards. The Spurs limited Indiana to 44 points and forced 13 turnovers, leading to 18 points. The Pacers still shot 48.5% from the field, though.
“It was really bad. We talk about defense the whole training camp and to start the season like that was not very good,” Tony Parker said. “Second half we did better and they scored only 44 points.”
“When you fast break, you’re giving up a lot in transition because you’re pushing the tempo,” George Hill said. “First half it was shaky, but I think in second half everybody took ownership, sprinted back, turned [and] was communicating.”
We’ll see how long these fun-and-gun Spurs stick around, pistols blazing.