Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 77, Spurs 103
Scott Agness | March 31, 2014
Questions abound, and the Pacers have struggled as of late to come up with an answer.
The Pacers ran into the red-hot San Antonio Spurs Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and left with even more questions. In their only visit of the year to the Fieldhouse, the Spurs (58-16) led by as many as 26 and departed with their 18th consecutive victory, 103-77 over Indiana (52-23).
The team's once-praised camaraderie seems lost, the offensive execution has dipped, and they don’t even recognize themselves on film from games a few months ago, according to David West.
Unlike in their recent losses, the Pacers took an early lead on Monday, but it was short-lived. Having success on the glass, the Spurs went on an 11-0 run led by Tony Parker, who had six points in the opening quarter. The Pacers shot just 29 percent in the frame and fell behind by ten.
Indiana went scoreless for nearly five and a half minutes in a period stretching across the end of the first and beginning of the second quarters. During that stretch, the Spurs added another 15 points to the board to seize control of the game. Playing with his usual energy, Lance Stephenson scored consecutive hoops to cut it to 11, but each time the Spurs countered. By half’s end, the Pacers had just 35 points and were lagging behind, 48-35.
The Pacers did enough to hang around in the third quarter, gaining a little ground to head into the final stanza trailing by 10.
Rasual Butler, who was inserted into the lineup instead of Chris Copeland and then played over Evan Turner in the second half, hit a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter to cut San Antonio's lead to seven points with plenty of time to spare. The Pacers started to score more consistently for a stretch, but each time, the tough and tested Spurs had an answer.
San Antonio pounded it inside, scoring 18 points in the paint — matching Indiana’s total for the quarter. A 13-2 run finished the Pacers off with less than four minutes to play. The Blue and Gold failed to reach 80 points for the fifth time in six games and finished March with an 8-10 record.
Although the Pacers are 29 games over .500, the morale inside the locker room is low. The Pacers seem lost, and can only scratch their heads after dropping their third straight game for just the second time all year.
They have seven more games to figure out an answer before the playoffs begin.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George ended the night with a team-high 16 points, but he also had five turnovers. Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert both added 15.
Tony Parker sliced and diced through the Pacers’ defense and led all scorers with 22 points. Boris Diaw had 14 and Kawhi Leonard chalked up 13 points and 11 rebounds, the latter of which tied his season-high.
The Pacers’ 26-point loss is their first by 20 or more at home since Jan. 29, 2010. Shooting 37.7 percent tonight, the Pacers were held under 40 percent shooting for the sixth straight game, the longest streak in franchise history.
Indiana finished without a fast-break point for just the third time this season — all losses (vs Phoenix, at New York).
San Antonio’s bench was very effective, outscoring Indiana’s 45-17.
Indiana ends the year 10-10 on the second night of back-to-backs.
The Pacers committed 16 turnovers, 12 in the second half, which led to 23 points for the Spurs.
“I think we’re trying to play together. I think we’re trying to share the basketball. I think tonight, we probably overpassed at times, which is not the worst thing in the world. We’ve just got to read each situation better.” – Frank Vogel
“I think some guys are struggling to find a little bit of a rhythm. Part of that may be confidence but … team’s go in and out of being in a good rhythm. It happens to every team every year. You just have to work everyday and find it.” – Frank Vogel
“I don’t know if we’re putting a whole lot of emphasis on the 1-seed, of late. We’re focused on winning the next game and finding a rhythm. Seeding right now is the last thing on our team’s mind.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s awful. We’ve been in a downward spiral and we’ve been splintering a little bit. I don’t know.” – Roy Hibbert
“We barely recognize ourselves on TV when we watch the film from months ago. … We’re at the bottom and we’ve got to figure out a way to climb out of this thing.” – David West
“We're not playing the game the right way right now. We're not playing for one another. San Antonio's a perfect example. It's hard to guard them when they move the ball, share the ball. Regardless of who's shooting it, they want the best shot on offense. That's what we're not doing it right now.” – Paul George
Stat of the Game
With the loss and Miami’s win over Toronto, the Pacers have lost the East’s No. 1 seed after being atop the standings for 152 days.
- Evan Turner, who was scoreless in seven minutes, didn’t play in the second half as coach Vogel tried a different rotation.
- Andrew Bynum was nowhere to seen at the game. He is out indefinitely and a team spokesman said the training staff will provide an update when it is necessary.
- The Pacers' coaching staff and broadcasters wore special lapel pins to support Autism Awareness and the Light It Up Blue campaign.
The Pacers host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Game Preview »