How Spurs would match up vs. Pacers
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
With the San Antonio Spurs headed to the NBA Finals, USA TODAY Sports takes a look at how they would match up with the Eastern Conference finalist Indiana Pacers:
When the Spurs have the ball
The Pacers; defense grinds opponents to a halt, similar to what the Spurs faced against the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals. The Spurs beat the Grizzlies in four games. There’s no reason to expect much different from the Pacers. San Antonio spreads the ball better than any other team in the NBA, making lightning-quick passes around the perimeter and in to and out of the post.
But the matchups are tough. Pacers center Roy Hibbert, at 7-2, can dominate the paint. The Spurs found ways to neutralize Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies’ defensive player of the year center, but much of that was because Duncan is such a capable shooter. David West also is a capable inside defender, while Paul George is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. The Pacers don’t give up ground in the paint, but the Spurs know how to keep teams honest on the wings.
When the Pacers have the ball
Indiana struggles to score consistently, again very similar to the Grizzlies. And again the Spurs will force jump shots. Keeping Hibbert and West from getting good post position will be similar to keeping Gasol and Zach Randolph out. The Spurs know how to play physical defense, and even backups such as Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner have shown craftier defense than they’re given credit for.
George will have a one-on-one matchup with Kawhi Leonard, who has similar athleticism and length but hasn’t yet fully bloomed. Danny Green and Manu Ginobili also will help while trying to force Lance Stephenson to shoot. As long as Hibbert doesn’t control the offensive glass, the Spurs should have an advantage.
Top matchup: Tony Parker vs. George Hill
Hill was Parker’s backup for three years in San Antonio, emerging as one of the better bench players in the NBA. Both had breakout seasons this year, but for Parker that meant becoming arguably the … [For more on How San Antonio Spurs would match up vs. Indiana Pacers, click here.]