Indiana Pacers vs. San Antonio Spurs: Solid Season Opener for Big 3 and Co.
Today’s magic number is 60.
Tony Parker (20), Tim Duncan (23), and Manu Ginobili (22) all scored 20+ points last night in the Spurs’ 122-109 win over the Pacers. It’s likely that 60 will be the magic number for this team throughout the season.
When the big three all chip in at least 20 points, everything else usually falls into place.
One of those things that fell into place was Richard Jefferson. In a meager 21 minutes, he put in 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a telling 7-of-10 from the free-throw line.
He is clearly looking to attack and shoot more, which can only be a good thing for the Spurs. If he plays like he did last night on a night-to-night basis, the Spurs can be dangerous once more.
George Hill contributed another 16 points in 28 minutes off the bench that included a four-point play in the fourth quarter where the Spurs began to pull away.
I’m really intrigued with this kid’s developmental direction. He finished second in the most improved player votes, and this year he hopes to progress even more.
I love his upside, and I'm expecting big things from him.
How about Oklahoma State rookie James Anderson last night? First of all, I’m surprised Gregg Popovich played him 27 minutes.
He had 10 points, making half of his eight shots to go along with two three-pointers. That was encouraging to see his stat line.
Hopefully, Pop doesn’t shy away from feeding him similar minutes as the season continues.
DeJuan Blair only played 20 minutes, which was a little disheartening after the solid preseason he had. He did, however, have an underwhelming performance with nine points, making two of his nine shots and corralling only three rebounds.
Once Tiago Splitter is healthy, in time, I think he should start and get Blair solid minutes off the bench. He’s more effective as an energy and hustle guy off the pine rather than starting at the four or five spot.
Speaking of Splitter…
Coach Pop said Splitter will likely be out for Saturday’s game against the Hornets, but should be ready to go on Monday vs. the Clippers.
It’s easy to sympathize with Splitter. He wants to play so badly, and to hurt his ankle just three days into training camp was a huge downer for him and the team.
I can’t wait to see this guy in action. His presence will be a big-time plus, especially on the defensive end.
Overall, Game 1 was a success.
As Duncan said, you don’t want to give up 100+ every night. But when the offense is clicking like it was last night, all is well.
Splitter’s absence was felt though with Roy Hibbert going for 28 points. He is just too big, and Duncan is just too slow to keep up.
He wasn’t double-teamed either, so he had his way on offense for the most part. He never warranted a double in the past, so it’s understandable why the Spurs didn’t do it last night.
The Hornets are next on the docket in a Saturday night contest. That should be a good game with Parker going up against Chris Paul.
Hopefully, the ol’ Silver and Black can get the win at home against a seemingly-improved division rival.
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