|SPURS||Tim Duncan 17.9||Tim Duncan 10.1||Tony Parker 5.7|
|PACERS||Danny Granger 24.1||Roy Hibbert 5.7||Darren Collison 5.7|
The Indiana Pacers drafted rookie Paul George and traded big man Troy Murphy in the offseason to acquire the services of Darren Collison and defensive specialist James Posey.
The Spurs on the other hand, added Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, resigned Matt Bonner and Richard Jefferson, picked up the option year of George Hill, drafted rookie James Anderson and signed shooter Gary Neal to a 3-year contract from Italy.
The Pacers missed the playoffs last season while Spurs were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns during the 2010 Western Conference playoffs semi-final round.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense — The Spurs tried to run more during their preseason games and have scored a lot in transition. It will be interesting to see if this trend will continue against an athletic team like the Pacers. Also, it will be key for the Spurs to established their inside game early and take advantage against the Pacers’ young frontcourt.
Defense — Limit Danny Granger on offense scoring and focus on the Pacers’ dribble penetrations. Contain Collison. He out of the shadow of Chris Paul and will want to prove he is capable of being the starter. Tony Parker will have to take it to him and test him out of defense.
Offense — The Pacers’ offensive strength is on their backcourt with Danny Granger and Darren Collison. Both can explode on the offensive end on any given night. Also, keep an eye out for the Roy Hibbert versus Tim Duncan matchup. Hibbert has had some solid performances against Duncan. Another aspect is shooting. This team needs to make shots in order to have a chance against the Spurs.
Defense — Focusing on the Spurs’ inside game is a must. However, the Spurs also have a deep backcourt that includes Parker, Manu Ginobili and George Hill. So it will be a pick your poison game for the Pacers.
Spurs — Tiago Splitter – strained right plantaris muscle (out).
Pacers — Mike Dunleavy – bruised left knee (day-to-day), T.J. Ford – hamstring (day-to-day).
PREDICTION: Splitter will likely watch the Spurs’ opening night on the bench, but that doesn’t mean the Spurs are undermanned. Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess should have the advantage against the Pacers’ frontcourt of Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough and Josh McRoberts.
However, this will be a good test for the Spurs’ perimeter defense, Jefferson will have his handsful as he goes up against Granger. The team that plays better defense and dictate the tempo will eventually win the game.
The Spurs will beat the Pacers to start the new season on the right foot.