Thursday, November 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Indiana Pacers

The San Antonio Spurs will look to carry the momentum from a huge road win over the defending league champions into Monday’s matchup with the struggling Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

The Spurs snapped a four-game losing streak with their 102-93 win in Milwaukee on Saturday. San Antonio’s defense carried it to the victory, which was also its first on the road this season. The Spurs limited Milwaukee’s potent attack to 21 points below its per-game scoring average coming in and avenged a 10-point loss at home to the Bucks on Oct. 23.

Dejounte Murray scored 23 points, 16 of them in the fourth quarter, in the win, and Derrick White added 17 points for San Antonio. Bryn Forbes scored 16, Keldon Johnson hit for 12 and took 11 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young tallied 10 points for the Spurs.

All four of San Antonio’s losses this season have been by 10 points or fewer to some of the league’s upper-echelon teams (Milwaukee, Denver, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers) as their defense has been able to keep them in games.

San Antonio finally closed strong when it beat the Bucks. The Spurs led by two points heading into the fourth quarter and 92-85 with 2:22 to play. Murray then hit a bucket and a 3-pointer, the latter with 1:12 to play, to put Milwaukee away.

“We finally turned it into a win,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after the Milwaukee game. “We could have done it a couple of other times. Obviously, it’s a good win against the NBA champions.”

The Spurs played without Doug McDermott, who missed his second straight game with right knee soreness. McDermott will not play on Monday.

The Pacers (1-6) carry a four-game losing streak into Monday’s game after a 97-94 loss at home to Toronto on Saturday.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 22 points and 14 rebounds but missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game. Justin Holiday added 16 points, Chris Duarte had 12, Jeremy Lamb scored 11 points and Myles Turner had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.

Caris LeVert saw the court for the first time this season and scored 15 points in 16 minutes for Indiana, all in the first half. LeVert is on a minutes restriction because of a stress fracture in his back that forced him to miss the Pacers’ first six games.

“The hope is that there wouldn’t be a long period where there’s a restriction but right now it’s just really hard to say, it’s really impossible to say,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of LeVert. “It would’ve been great to have him in the second half but that just wasn’t in the cards.”

Isaiah Jackson (hyperextended right knee) and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring strain) did not play for Indiana in Saturday’s loss, which was the second game of a road-home back-to-back.

“It’s the NBA, it’s not supposed to be easy,” Carlisle said. “If it was, I’d be pulling guys off the street. It’s a tough, tough league. … We played hard. We just need to play better.”

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