Game Rewind: Spurs 90, Pacers 87
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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN
“I’m very disappointed for our guys. We played a solid defensive game. For them to come back and beat us, it’s painful. They took their defense to a whole different level in the fourth quarter. That’s why they are the Spurs."
(On Tyler Hansbrough) "He had a very, very good game and gave us a terrific effort. It was certainly what we’re looking for and I’m happy for him."
(On Danny Granger’s late missed free throws) "They were clearly important free throws and to miss both, it’s difficult. And then they came down and got three the old fashioned way. Sometimes they just don’t fall.”
PACERS FORWARD TYLER HANSBROUGH
(On his performance) "My shots were falling. My teammates were helping me. It was just one of those nights when everything seemed to be working for me. "
"You practice hard and work hard in practice. And then when you get called upon you play as hard as you can and try to help the team as much as you can. You must be ready all the time.”
PACERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON
“I think we showed tonight that we can play with the big boys. We had them down and we let them up. We just can’t seem to find a way to close a game out. "
"We have to keep working at that until we get it right. Team defense was also good tonight. Everybody helped. We’ve got to learn to close games out.”
SPURS COACH GREGG POPOVICH
“We lost the other night in Boston at the end of the third and fourth quarter when we didn’t close. We turned it over, we imploded defensively, didn’t execute on offense and tonight we did those things. To win a game in the NBA you have to do those things down the stretch and we were fortunate enough to do that tonight."
"I thought Indiana played great, they were physical, they kept us from doing everything we wanted to do tonight but I was proud of our team for hanging in. They just kept playing the game.”
SPURS GUARD GEORGE HILL
“We got the win. Our veterans stepped up when we needed to and that’s all that matters. I think we cut down on the mistakes we’ve been making the last couple of games. We just played very solidly defensively. "
(On the Pacers getting only one field goal in the fourth quarter) "It’s the last quarter, so you want to buckle down. I think our defense stepped up and created opportunities. We also capitalized on rebounding because they were doing a phenomenal job on the boards.”
SPURS GUARD MANU GINOBILI
(On the defense in the fourth quarter) "It was better effort. We were a little flat in the first half letting Hansbrough, Granger and Ford (T.J.) take open shots. You have to contest everybody in this league. We let them get away with many shots. But in the second half the effort was much better and we made them sweat for everything they made. "
(On finishing both the second and the fourth quarters well) "We closed quarters pretty well today. And defensively we were great down the stretch.”
Pacers go cold in fourth quarter, lose to Spurs
So many things had to go wrong for the Pacers to lose their 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, it boggles the mind.
Danny Granger missing two free throws. Roy Hibbert coming up empty on two deep post-ups. An offense that couldn't be stopped in the third quarter suddenly running into a wall, producing one bucket in the final 13½ minutes.
It all added up to a thrilling but frustrating 90-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs before a raucous crowd of 14,157 Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
The defeat spoiled a breakout night for Tyler Hansbrough, who posted career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds in his first start of the season. The second-year forward from North Carolina scored 10 points in a 22-5 run that put the Pacers up 75-60 late in the third quarter.
But the Pacers shot 1-of-17 from the field and committed six turnovers the rest of the way, opening the door for San Antonio's comeback.
The Pacers lost for the fifth time in six games and ninth in 12 to fall to 14-19 overall, 9-9 at home. They also lost their eighth in a row to the Spurs, who snapped a two-game losing streak and improved their NBA-best record to 30-6 overall, 11-4 on the road.
- “I’m very disappointed for our guys. We played a solid defensive game. For them to come back and beat us, it’s painful. They took their defense to a whole different level in the fourth quarter. That’s why they are the Spurs." – Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
- "(Hansbrough) had a very, very good game and gave us a terrific effort. It was certainly what we’re looking for and I’m happy for him." – O'Brien
- "My shots were falling. My teammates were helping me. It was just one of those nights when everything seemed to be working for me." – Hansbrough
- "I thought Indiana played great, they were physical, they kept us from doing everything we wanted to do tonight but I was proud of our team for hanging in. They just kept playing the game.” – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
STAT OF THE GAME
After taking a 75-60 lead late in the third quarter, the Pacers shot 1-of-17 and committed six turnovers in the final 13½ minutes of the game and were outscored 30-12.
The game turned not on the final possession, but when Danny Granger went to the line with 1:11 remaining. The Pacers led 86-83 but Granger missed both, a stunning miscue for the 84 percent free-throw shooter. Though Tim Duncan was hit with a technical foul protesting the call in between Granger's misses and Darren Collison made that free throw, the Pacers had the opportunity to emerge with a six-point lead and instead were up 87-83.
It quickly was cut to one when George Hill drove and was fouled, converting a three-point play. Hibbert missed from close range on the Pacers' next possession but Hansbrough stepped up and drew a charge from Duncan, preserving the lead with 36.6 seconds left.
Mike Dunleavy, who made Indiana's only basket of the final quarter (a floater with 6:43 left), got a good look at a 3-pointer from the top of the key but it rimmed out with 23.9 seconds left.
Eschewing the opportunity to play for the last shot, Ginobili instead attacked right away and drew a foul from defensive substitution Jeff Foster, making both to give the Spurs an 88-87 lead with 15.7 seconds remaining.
The Pacers put the ball in Granger's hands but he didn't seem to know what to do with it, dribbling around without creating a shot before dumping it in to Hibbert, whose awkward post-up missed with five seconds left and Tony Parker sealed it from the free-throw line.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hansbrough played 36 minutes, shot 10-of-19 from the field and added two blocked shots to his 23-point, 12-rebound night. Granger scored 15 on 6-of-14 shooting but was 0-of-2 with three turnovers in the fourth quarter. Dunleavy scored 14 with five rebounds and two blocks. Darren Collison had 12 points and six assists but shot 3-of-11. Hibbert had 10 points and 14 rebounds for his 11th double-double, adding two blocked shots, but was 5-of-17 from the field.
The Pacers shot .375 overall and were 5-of-15 from the 3-point line. They outrebounded the Spurs 45-43.
Ginobili led San Antonio with 25 points. Though he shot just 6-of-15, he was 10-of-13 from the line, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Hill had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench. Duncan had 15 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Gary Neal scored 11 and Parker had 10 on 3-of-11 shooting. The Spurs shot .416 overall.
- Rookie Lance Stephenson was on the active roster for the first time this season.
- The Pacers had an early scare when Roy Hibbert went down holding his right ankle 90 seconds into the game but he returned later in the first quarter after having the ankle re-taped in the locker room.
- Solomon Jones, who had played the last 21 games as a backup center, was inactive along with Dahntay Jones and A.J. Price.
- The Pacers' 13 points from its bench is a season-low and Indiana had all five starters in double figures for just the fourth time (2-2) this season.
The Pacers head to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Saturday night (7 p.m., WIBC 93 FM). Please note, the game will not be televised locally.
--Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com