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Spurs show Pacers, everyone that defense is why they are 4-0

Nov 6, 2012, 1:49 AM EDT

Tim Duncan AP

San Antonio has the advantage of continuity.

Sure, they have the advantage of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, too. But the reason they have been as good as anyone in the NBA through the first week is they have continuity — same system, same coach, same core players they have had for a decade. The Spurs had the NBA’s most efficient offense last season and they brought everybody that mattered back. They know who they are and what they are doing every time down the court, while everyone else is trying to find their footing.

So when they run into a Pacers team that has won ugly up to this point, San Antonio dismantles them. Which is what happened in San Antonio’s 101-79 win Monday night.

For all the talk about the Spurs offense, it was their defense that won this game. For the past couple seasons it has been all about the Spurs offense, but at least to start this season they are playing much better defense (they were giving up 100.1 points per 100 possessions before this game, 10th in the league).

Spurs players were in position and challenging Pacers players seemingly every play, and the result was a Pacers offense that crumbled into a lot of isolation. The Pacers settled for bad shot after bad shot, and the result was 18 first quarter points on 27 percent shooting. In the second quarter they were 7-of-21 shooting (and that was with a 13-2 run late in the quarter to get Indiana back within 10.

Overall for the game, the Pacers shot 35 percent — because the Spurs took away much of the Pacers transition game, then in the half court they took away the paint (Indiana scored just 24 points in the paint on the night). Roy Hibbert was non-existent, scoring 2 points and having 5 rebounds. That’s it. Paul George and George Hill combined to shoot 10 of 28.

Meanwhile, the Spurs got the shots they wanted. Their ball movement was again beautiful and crisp.

They ran a lot of Parker driving into the paint with Duncan out near the top of the key, clearing out space and if the defense collapsed the ball flew back out to Duncan for an open jumper. Duncan finished the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Which was the exact line for DeJuan Blair, the San Antonio big that rarely gets on the court anymore. He fell out of favor late last season but can still be vintage Spurs — plug him in and he scores buckets and makes plays.

San Antonio’s improved defense is something to watch — is this just early season small sample size at work, or are they a better defensive team this year. If so, they are far more of a threat in the playoffs. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

For now, the Spurs remain a regular season machine. One that ste the Pacers

  1. goraidersgospurs - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    (Kurt) Spurs are a team that plays well when they are not talked about, so I prefer you keep your regular daily Miami, Lakers & Boston news coming instead of Spurs talk, thank you!!!

    • zerole00 - Nov 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      Meh, I like seeing appreciation for the Spur’s gameplay. It’s going to be a sad day for the NBA when the Spur’s current big three eventually retire. I’ve got a lot of respect for the organization and I trust that they’ll reload rather than rebuild.

  2. savvybynature - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    This team wasn’t far off last year. If they stay healthy and get slight improvements from their team defense and their two young starters, Leonard and Green, it could be enough for them to win the West.

    OKC has taken at least a tiny step back after all and the Lakers will be a big question mark until they have a full season under their belts.

  3. badintent - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    POPS is the best ! The window is closing on Duncan so look out for him to be really motivated in the playoffs.

  4. azarkhan - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I love the Spurs, but they have no chance of winning the West. They missed their opportunity last year when they went 2 up on the Thunder.

  5. misterdreamer119 - Nov 6, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Spurs out 2nd round of playoffs.

    • kavika6 - Nov 7, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      misterdreamer119 your name fits you and your comment perfectly.

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