For the first time in 11 years, the Indiana Pacers can say they won at the AT&T Center against the San Antonio Spurs. Plus, for the first time this year, the Pacers can say they beat a legitimate championship contender. A 111-100 victory over the Spurs pushed the Pacers record to 3-1 on their current five-game West Coast trip and 18-2 for the season.
While the Pacers’ record has impressed their fans all season, they’ve yet to impress the national audience because their schedule was the league’s easiest. It’s hard to blame them for the sad state of the Eastern Conference, but the Spurs’ victory gives them the credit they’ve needed.
The road trip started off with a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, who were in the Top 4 of the Western Conference, but that wasn’t going to cut it nationally because the Clippers aren’t looked at as championship contenders like the Spurs.
Everyone knew the Pacers and Spurs were going to have a memorable game, and they did not fail to live up to the hype. Early on, it appeared that the Spurs were simply going to roll to an easy blowout after leading 28-20 at the end of the first. Manu Ginobili hit a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 13 with 9:45 left in the half, at which point the Pacers finally clicked and started making their own run — an 84-45 run over the next 33 minutes.
Paul George continued his MVP season with 28 points, six assists and four rebounds. David West scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished four assists in his second big game of this West Coast trip. The rest of the Pacers’ starting lineup was also in double figures scoring-wise, and Roy Hibbert ended with a double-double.
The Spurs went on a crazy run at the end of the game to make the final score look closer than what it should have been, but the Pacers won this game easily and head coach Frank Vogel said it was one of their best all-around games this season. The Pacers will get a chance to add another championship contender to their victim list on Sunday night when they travel to Oklahoma City for the final game of their road trip.