To say the Spurs’ week has been a huge inconvenience is an understatement. They’ve been to Mexico and back to take part in the Global Games matchup that never happened and didn’t arrive back home until 12 hours later due to fog in San Antonio.
It’s not been plain sailing for Indiana either. Literally. The Pacers plane was rerouted on the way to Salt Lake City which saw them have to catch a bus down to San Antonio from Houston. But whilst the travel may have beaten both sides, not much else has this season.
A day’s rest should see the Western and Eastern Conference form teams back to their best as they go head-to-head in what will be one of the most thrilling games of the season so far. Indiana haven’t had much luck at the AT&T Center in recent times and their already ill-fated trip won’t have done them any favours either. The Spurs have won each of their last 11 meetings when they’ve welcomed the Pacers, and 10 straight both home and away, but with the Indianapolis side 17-2 this season they’ll be confident of overturning a record that dates back to January 2002.
Whilst the Spurs left Mexico City on Wednesday night having not even laced up their sneakers, the Pacers left the EnergySolutions Arena with a 95-86 victory over the Jazz taking their record to 8-2 on the road.
They will however be a little concerned with the fitness of George Hill. The Point Guard is suffering from a sore left hip so will be monitored by Frank Vogel ahead of the 8.30PM ET tip off. The Pacers will be hoping he pulls through for their biggest game of the season. Alongside fellow George, Paul, the pair have been star men this season and Hill in particular will want to prove himself against the team that drafted him in 2011.
It’s certainly an interesting one for those wanting to bet on the NBA. The Spurs have been one of the most consistent sides in the National Basketball Association in recent years, winning their division for the last three seasons.
After a disappointing Championship finals last season, it seems to have fuelled them this year and they’re comfortably netting over 100 points per game. A minor hiccup in recent weeks has seen them suffer defeats to some of the leagues form men in Kevin Durant at City Thunder and James Harden’s Rockets but the team remain top of the assists chart with 25 per game and are on the back of an impressive win against the Hawks.
In recent months the Eastern Conference has received wide-spread criticism with ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy saying, “Listen, no one can explain just how bad it is.”
The Pacers will be looking to rectify this. They have a great record defending the paint but the Spurs have a strong inside and outside game and one of the best defences in the league, so hold on to your hats, because this one could go either way.