This is the kind of game you hope to forget. The kind of game you race to forget.
Actually, what were we talking about?
The Indiana Pacers, having fought tooth and nail with three of last season's worst teams, clawed their way to a 2-1 record, but were given their first look against an actual contender, the San Antonio Spurs, the type of team the Pacers want to be, the type of team the Pacers believe they can be. The result was a 22-point blowout Indiana couldn't keep within ten points. There was a glimmer of hope when the Pacers turned a 20-point Spurs lead into just nine at the half, but familiar mistakes in the form of turnovers once again turned Indiana inside out, killing momentum and downing themselves quicker than San Antonio could've on their own.
To the Spurs credit, they looked good; great movement on offense, timely buckets, and momentum killing runs, but Indiana was once again a major mess. Aside from turnovers (a season best 18), the Pacers couldn't get north of 35% shooting, which was actually a much higher number than they had after a long drought in the second quarter dropped them to just 20%. Where to go with individual performances? George Hill was aimed to make a mark in a return game to San Antonio, finishing with team high 15 points and six assists, while David West pitched in a 10 point, 11 rebound double double (all points coming in the second quarter), but there wasn't much else of note.
Tyler Hansbrough fought his best to keep the team in the game and Gerald Green had his stretches, but when Roy Hibbert continues to be completely ineffective and Paul George can't get north of 16 points, where do you possibly turn? Lance Stephenson had a pair of missed field goals in his limited action and D.J. Augustin pitched in seven, but was woeful on the defensive end against Gary Neal in the fourth quarter.
It's hard to make this case in a game this lopsided, but the Pacers need offense, scoring. Not only does the offense itself look absolutely ineffective and turnover prone (this team can't get enough assists to challenge the amount of turnovers they commit), but there's no one on this team who seems capable of scoring the basketball. It's not fair to make this a Danny Granger note, it's hard to imagine the Pacers winning tonight with Granger, but to only muster up 79 points against a fast paced Spurs team? To only have one twenty point scorer though four games? It sure would be nice if were just a Danny Granger issue.
The Pacers return to action on Wednesday against the Hawks in Atlanta. It's hard to imagine the Pacers not showing up with better energy, but will that be enough if the only thing they've proven to be at least somewhat capable at is defense?
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