Well, this one went about as expected. The Indiana Pacers gave their normal solid effort, but the San Antonio Spurs had the nitrous boost needed to push past the Pacers in the third quarter and seize the eventual 108-97 win, their 11th straight.
The Pacers were down 50-48 at the half but I was feeling pretty good. After all, the Pacers were only down two despite being outrebounded 28-15, missing all 10 of their 3-point attempts, and being outscored in the paint 28-18. A few shots start falling and things could go the Pacers' way.
Wishful thinking. The Spurs came out of the half and put a "thanks for playing" outburst on the Pacers, scoring 34 points in the quarter and before long it was garbage time in the fourth quarter.
I heard some of the radio broadcast and all of the television broadcast and between the comentary and the game there were some interesting items to report:
- First of all, on the way home from work I heard Mark Boyle praising Stephen Graham and calling some real playing time for Stevie. Preach it, Mark! Stevie actually played the whole fourth quarter and despite the 15 deficit the game still wasn't in garbage time. Stevie wasn't perfect but he did end with 8 points and 4 rebounds. Denari and Clark Kellogg were also layin' the love on Stephen and talking about how much Slick Leonard loved the kid's game. Jump aboard, men! Plenty of room on the bandwagon. Make sure you keep a seat open for O'B.
- Speaking of Slick, he had a funny call early in the first quarter. Troy Murphy had just scored a couple of buckets and Boyle was discussing his good play of late, and mentioned how he used to rebound better in his early years. Slick pipes in and says, "Well, he's a peanut butter and jelly guy." Hmmm, I'm thinking, haven't heard this Slickism, I wondered what he means by a PB&J guy. After a brief pause, Slick continues, "He (Murph) loves those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." Okay...that's it. Boyle caps it nicely by asking if his love for PB&J sandwiches is why he isn't rebounding. Slick just kind of chuckles. Honestly, how sweet would it be to live in Slicks world for one day? We'd all be better people for it.
- Speaking of Murphy, he gave three vicious fouls in the lane at different times. When his feet don't move him into position to help defend a drive to the bucket Murph just slams the guy to the ground. He also got away with bumping Ginobili on the sideline a couple of times which sent Gregg Poppovich off on a double-T tirade.
- Manu Ginobili is just lethal at creating shots on the move. As hard as he drives, he's always in control of his body and able to put up accurate shots. Sweet stuff.
- Ike Diogu and Kareem Rush weren't available tonight. Rush suited up but didn't play, which forced Shawne Williams to be activated. Shawne only saw the court late in the fourth.
- Flip Murray was first off the bench tonight and finished with 11 points. He's a bit of a black hole and playing the point he hasn't yet grasped O'B's preference to push the ball up the court. He can get in the lane and score, though.
- Former Indiana Hoosier coach, Kelvin Sampson showed up among the Spurs' coaching staff tonight. No official word on his status with the team but it appears he will remain with the team in some capacity for the remainder of the year. Strange seeing him in all black instead of the blue shirt and red tie.
- Still no Jermaine O'Neal or Jamaal Tinsley and no word on a return date. Denari did mention that J.O's pre-game workout appeared more vigorous than they had seen lately, so maybe he was getting closer.
- The Pacers are off to Cleveland now for a Saturday afternoon game against the Cavaliers. The Cavs lost tonight to the Chicago Bulls so they'll be looking to get better against the Pacers.