Indiana (30-20, won last 1) vs. San Antonio (35-14, won last 6)
* 101.22 points per game (3rd in the NBA) vs. 96.37 points allowed per game (17th)
* 46.8% FG (4th) vs. 54.4% FG allowed (21st)
* 42.57 rpg (12th) vs. 41.71 rebounds allowed (15th)
*22.59 apg (6th) vs. 13.33 TO pg (2nd)
* 96.10 ppg (16th) vs. 93.26 points allowed (6th)
* 43.5% FG (24th) vs. 43.2% FG allowed (8th)
* 43.34 rppg (9th) vs. 42.02 rebounds allowed (18th)
* 18.18 appg (30th) vs. 14.34 TO pg (13th)
PG-Darren Collison vs. Tony Parker
SG-Paul George vs. Danny Green
SF-Danny Granger vs. Kahwi Leonard
PF-David West vs. Tim Duncan
C-Roy Hibbert vs. Dajuan Blair
San Antonio-Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter
Indiana-Tyler Hansbrough, Dahntay Jones, George Hill, Leandro Barbosa, Lou Amundson
Injuries of note
No two teams are as deep as the Spurs and Pacers. While Indiana’s bench is stocked with youth, energy and athleticism, San Antonio boasts crafty vets like the multi-faceted Boris Diaw, future Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, three point specialist Matt Bonner and former Pacer, Stephen Jackson. In the shortened season, old teams like San Antonio were supposed to suffer. But coach Gregg Popovich proved his genius, developing a special rotation to keep his older players rested, and even giving them whole nights off when needed. It hasn’t stopped the super deep and talented Spurs from overachieving and becoming title contenders, yet again. San Antonio has won 9 of its last 10, including wins vs. Oklahoma City, Dallas, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Most impressive about the Spurs lately has been their ability to score at will. While San Antonio prides itself on its defense and grittiness, the team has scored 100 or more in 9 of it’s last 12. Meanwhile the Pacers recent resume hasn’t been as impressive, as the team struggled to dispatch Washington two nights ago, and the night before that lost in improbable fashion to New Jersey thanks to an exaggerated fourth quarter collapse.
The matchups in this game dictate a talent edge for Indiana, but Poppovich and the Spurs’ depth can negate much of that. After starters Tim Duncan and Dejuan Blair, there isn’t much size along the Spurs’ front line. Tiago Splitter has solid length, but he’s coming off of an injury, and struggles with fouls per minute on the year. However, San Antonio’s perimeter and backcourt depth is outstanding; expect some brutal matchups for Indiana’s Leandro Barbosa, Paul George, George Hill, Darren Collison and Danny Granger. Granger has been hot lately, but will have his hands full on defense tonight.
Prediction: Spurs 104, Pacers 95
San Antonio is a championship caliber team, with championship caliber players, coaches and chemistry. Indiana is a team that has recently lost, or nearly lost to two of the worst four teams in the NBA. It’s sadly as simple as that.
Kahwi Leonard has been solid in the month of March, averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds and nearly two steals per game. He’ll be a problem for the Pacers tonight, as will Ginobili and Tony Parker, who should both score with ease.
Lucas Klipsch believes in justice. Follow him on Twitter @LukeNukem317