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Spurs 90, Pacers 72: Help Wanted

"Sorry for the shove Ike, but I need to smooch
this sweet leather off the glass for another two."
(Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gray)

A little spark of hope failed to fully ignite for the Pacers before it was completely snuffed out by a strong defensive effort from the Spurs, leaving the Pacers holding a 90-72 loss. Literally seconds before the opening tip, Jermaine O'Neal told Rick Carlisle he could go. After hyperextending his knee last night, J.O. was questionable for the game and possibly the season. His presence in uniform was a surprise to everyone and the Pacers came out in the first quarter like a team ready to battle for a playoff spot.

Then there was the second and third quarter when the Pacers just imploded and a succumbed to the will of a much better team in the Spurs. The game was really soured by the Pacers floor leader who is more interested in trying to ball than lead. Jamaal Tinsley game the San Antonio fans a nice sampling of the good, the bad, and the ugly of his game.

The good: Tinsley handled the ball well early and had one of the prettier plays of the year when he spun around with his back to the basket and snapped a blind pass over his head to Mike Dunleavy who had pinned Ginobili under the basket for an easy two.

The bad: Tins was trying to take Parker down low and couldn't get any fouls. His frustration lead him to keep forcing the action which didn't help and took the Pacers out of their offensive flow.

The ugly: After Tim Duncan flopped to draw an offensive foul on Tins, he snapped and chucked the ball into the stands. T, see ya. Oh, and this was in the second quarter. Thanks for the help Tins.

With J.O. on the bench in foul trouble and Tinsley showering, the Pacers struggled to keep up. The Spurs used an 11-0 run in the second quarter and a 13-0 run in the third quarter to build a lead. They also extended the pressure and stifled and Pacers offense which allowed the Spurs to put the game on ice after the third.

Any good news?
Well...I'm thinking...Did I mention the first quarter?

Here's something -- Ike Diogu and Shawne Williams were able to get extended minutes and played pretty well. Diogu is looking more comfortable and real aggressive on the offensive end. Duncan toyed with Ike on the defensive end, but he does that to a lot of youngsters. Shawne just needs the time on the court. His shot has been a little off but he's still active, had a nice put back jam. Let the kid play.

There was a Maceo Baston sighting as well. He only played a few minutes but he appears to be alive and well.

Shawne Williams was reunited with his college buds when the Pacers arrived in San Antonio. The Memphis Tigers were staying at the same hotel as the Pacers, prepping for their NCAA Tournament game on Thursday night.

What's next?
The Pacers head home for a few games beginning with Shaq and the Heat on Friday.