AT&T CENTER--Calling Saturday night's matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers a possible NBA Finals preview would seem disappointing, given a shellacking the Spurs took at the hands of the Pacers that was far worse than the 100-111 final margin would indicate.
Yet, tread carefully when trying to extrapolate information from a game like this. Through roughly the first 15-20 minutes of the game, the San Antonio Spurs executed at the highest levels of basketball on both ends of the courts, putting up 28 points in 20 possessions against the NBA's best defense in the first quarter. The Pacers scored 20 points on just 38.1 percent.
Roughly halfway through the second quarter the wheels came apart for the Spurs, coincidentally around the same time Tiago Splitter's did. A strained calf limited Splitter to eight minutes, which is about 10 minutes less than the amount of time the Spurs remained competitive
That's not to say that the Pacers win is largely attributable to Splitter's absence, the Pacers were the better team tonight and have been all season. Still, the disparity in the box score is hardly indicative of the gap between these two teams. The only thing a loss like this proves is that in a game against championship-level teams, even the slightest misfire from one component of a team can be leveraged to devastating effect.