GAME RECAP: Spurs 111, Pacers 100

LaMarcus Aldridge racks up a double-double with 33 points and 14 rebounds as the Spurs top the Pacers, 111-100.

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GAME RECAP: Spurs 111, Pacers 100

LaMarcus Aldridge racks up a double-double with 33 points and 14 rebounds as the Spurs top the Pacers, 111-100.
Nov 23, 2018  |  00:00

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Spurs - Nov. 23, 2018

November 23, 2018 - Following a 111-100 defeat to the Spurs, Pacers.com's Katie Hargitt gets the story from the Pacers locker room as the team addressed their 3-point shooting (3-of-24) and talked about playing without key starters Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner.
Nov 23, 2018  |  01:14

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Nov. 23, 2018

November 23, 2018 - Darren Collison, Domantas Sabonis, and Cory Joseph give their thoughts on the team's tough outing against the Spurs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday.
Nov 23, 2018  |  01:49

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Nov. 23, 2018

Nov. 23, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 111-100 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nov 23, 2018  |  03:41

Thad Steal And Score

November 23, 2018: San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:41

Domas Earns And-One

November 23, 2018 - Domantas Sabonis gets the basket plus the foul.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:03

Tyreke Hits A Cutting Bojan

November 23, 2018 - Tyreke Evans drives and dishes to Bojan Bogdanovic for the cutting basket.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:01

Leaf Crushes the Putback

November 23, 2018 - Cory Joseph misses the layup, but TJ Leaf comes flying in to throw down on the follow.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:25

Cory Finds The Range

November 23, 2018 - Cory Joseph knocks down the jumper.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:23

Holiday Finishes Through the Whistle

November 23, 2018 - Aaron Holiday converts the basket plus the foul on the baseline.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:18

DC Creates & Finishes The Break

November 23, 2018 - Thad Young comes up with a steal and dishes ahead to Darren Collison for the layup.
Nov 23, 2018  |  02:11

Pacers Fail to Make up for Their Losses

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Injuries are not an excuse, as the cliché goes. They are often a legitimate explanation, however.

The Pacers were without their lone All-Star Victor Oladipo and their starting center Myles Turner Friday night, and didn't have a healthy Domantas Sabonis, either. Perhaps the addition of healthy versions of those three players would have been worth at least 12 more points in their 111-100 loss to San Antonio at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

That's not the entire story, however. They didn't adjust as well as they should have to the obstacles presented by their compromised lineup, and didn't get sufficient performances from some key players.

"The fact of the matter is we're capable of winning games regardless of who's playing - if we play the right way," said one of those key players, Darren Collison. "In this league, if you play hard you'll figure a way out of it."

The fact of the matter also is that the Pacers haven't played the right way the past two games, particularly on defense. They had been one of the NBA's best defensive teams throughout the early portion of the schedule, ranking first in opponents' field goal percentage just a week ago, and held Miami, Atlanta, and Utah below 100 points in successive games.

Then they gave up 127 points on 56 percent field goal shooting to Charlotte on Wednesday and 111 points on 51 percent shooting to the Spurs and suddenly find themselves searching for some answers as they prepare to go West to play Utah, Phoenix, the Lakers, and Sacramento next week.

The primary questions at the moment relate to the return of Oladipo and Turner and the health of Sabonis. Oladipo sat out his fourth straight game if you exclude the first 4 1/2 minutes of last Saturday's game against Atlanta. He's still regarded as day-to-day, and doesn't appear far from returning. Turner warmed up before Friday's game but decided his sprained left ankle wasn't strong enough to go. Sabonis warmed up as well, and decided he could go on his sprained right ankle.

He couldn't go as well as he wanted, but still went well enough to score 19 points and grab 16 rebounds in 34 minutes. He woke up on Friday doubting whether he could play, but took a nap and felt better and was encouraged by how he felt during his early pregame warmup routine.

He started slowly, hitting 1-of-3 shots and giving up 11 points to LaMarcus Aldridge in the game's first eight minutes. He played better after that as the ankle loosened up, and matched his career high for rebounds. He also produced his seventh double-double of the season, and is one rebound short of having two more and one point short of having yet another.

"It felt like I was a second slow in everything I wanted to do with my reaction time," he said. "I wish I could have guarded (Aldridge) better."

Sabonis wasn't alone in struggling to deal with Aldridge, who finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds. Thaddeus Young and Kyle O'Quinn took turns as well, but generally were unable to prevent the 6-foot-11, 260-pound supposed-to-be forward from getting where he wanted to go within the foul lane or from hitting turnaround jumpers.

Cory Joseph, Greg Popovich

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

The Pacers' perimeter defense wasn't much better, aside from Cory Joseph's efforts. San Antonio moved the ball well and got just about whatever shots it pleased out of its halfcourt offense. The Pacers had to take the ball out of the net to initiate their offense too often, which meant having to try to score out of their halfcourt offense – a difficult task when you're hitting just 3-of-24 3-point shots for a season-low .125 percentage.

"They controlled the pace," Joseph said. "They made us play their game. We weren't able to play fast; I feel like that's when we're at our best."

Collison was far from his best, hitting just 2-of-8 shots and scoring four points in 26 minutes. He and fellow starter Tyreke Evans, who replaced Oladipo in the starting lineup for the third straight game, combined to hit 3-of-20 shots and score six points – 23 fewer than San Antonio guards DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes.

It was the continuation of a season-long trend. Collison led the NBA in 3-point percentage (.468) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.2) last season, but through 19 games this season is shooting just .325 from the 3-point line and has a 3-to-1 ratio.

"I just don't feel the rhythm at all," Collison said. "I just have to keep (playing) and stop thinking. As a shooter, it's all about rhythm shots and not overthinking and just going out there and playing. Last year I had a better feel for the game. I just have to stay with it and catch a rhythm.

"It's not fun right now."

The Pacers fell behind 13-3 in the game's first five minutes, forcing coach Nate McMillan to call an early timeout, and while they got within three points briefly in the second quarter they never seemed close to taking control.

It would have taken some made 3-pointers to do that. Or, at least better defense. Aldridge, who was averaging 17 points heading into the game, nearly doubled that production. DeRozan finished with 16 points, nine below his average, but played an efficient game with just 13 field goal attempts and passed out six assists. San Antonio's other "name" player, Rudy Gay, finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.

"When your stars are rolling, that's always better," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The Pacers might have to wait until their stars feel better to get rolling again.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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