Despite a solid effort, the Indiana Pacers let a win against the San Antonio Spurs slip through their fingers late, losing their fourth straight game. The Pacers jumped up by as many as nine in the second quarter, though they were forced to contend with a Spurs comeback as San Antonio went up nine themselves in the third.
The Pacers responded well, closing the gap and taking the lead in the fourth by as many as four. Unfortunately for the Pacers, their free throw shooting down the stretch was atrocious, opening the door for the Spurs to capitalize and scrap towards the win. Indiana missed five free throws down the stretch, each one inching the Pacers closer to the loss.
There were nine missed free throws on the night by Indiana, finishing an uncharacteristic 21-30 from the line. Myles Turner led the charge with 12 free throw attempts, missing three, but playing one of his best recent games, scoring 22 points and pulling in six boards. Turner was key in limiting the efficiency of LaMarcus Aldridge, who need 22 shots to score 19 points.
Turner would lead the Pacers along with Paul George with six rebounds. Lavoy Allen missed the game with sore knees and along with it took any threat Indiana had on the glass. The Pacers were outrebounded 49-37 on the night, with the Spurs holding a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass. With that advantage, the Spurs outscored Indiana 15-4 in second chance points, further decreasing Indiana’s margin for error as the game wore on.
George led the way for the Pacers with 27 points on 8-15 shooting with six rebounds and three assists, needing all 27 to combat Kawhi Leonard, who led all scorers with 32. George played well, but as expected, had trouble shaking Leonard and committed three of his five fouls against Leonard, who meanwhile had four steals to George’s zero.
George did put in a team high four three pointers as the Pacers enjoyed a slight edge beyond the arc, hitting nine to San Antonio’s seven, though the Spurs found more consistency with Leonard, Danny Green, and Patty Mills each hitting multiple threes. Three point shooting favored the Spurs most during the third quarter, when San Antonio responded to every punch thrown by the Pacers offense, using a pair to build their nine point lead, eventually winning the third 34-30.
Jeff Teague responded well after his poor showing against the Bucks, scoring 15 points and dishing five assists and Kevin Seraphin played well in the starting lineup, scoring 12. Glenn Robinson III was also moved into the starting lineup, but offered no offensive punch, going scoreless on a pair of shots.
Off the bench, the Pacers got big nights from both Rodney Stuckey and Monta Ellis, with both reaching double figures off the bench in the same game all year. Stuckey had 13 points while Ellis scored 10, including a pair of breakaway dunks in the second half. Both hit a three, but as expected, they were most successful when making plays towards the rim, combining for just 2-6 in the midrange game.
The tougher schedule has really caught up to the Pacers as they drop their record to 29-26. The losses haven’t hurt the Pacers of yet; they’ve lost 1 1⁄2 games on the 9th seed since starting the losing streak, but they’ve lost 2 games on the 5th place Hawks, putting the Pacers on an island in the 6th seed. Things don’t get any easier as they hit the road for a rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.