When Gregg Popovich gets a technical foul in the first few minutes of the game, you are required to pay close attention to every play afterwards—this is known as the “Pop’s serious” rule and to not follow it results in the karmic loss of basketball fan points. Against Pop’s seriousness, though, the Pacers looked solid throughout the game with bursts of (dare I say it?) consistent play on both ends. Sure, there were times when things looked bad—Stuckey dribbling the ball off his foot, Séraphin attempting to murder fans with a wild pass, Thad having maybe his worst game of the season as he seemed to be struggling with his wrist injury, some sketchy touch fouls (and a big late no call)—but this team is clearly playing better.
The second half had Pop call a timeout within the first minute after a pass by Thad found 3J wide open in the corner. The next Pacers possession had Teague find 3J. I imagine Pop’s seriousness was hurt. Spurs being the Spurs, defense and big shots eliminated the Pacers lead and a back and forth ensued through the game’s final seconds. 3J hit another huge 3 late in the fourth (this of the banked-in desperation variety), PG had a big steal in the final 90, but Ellis missed TWO free throws with nine seconds remaining and the Pacers up just one. This led to the Pacers leaving San Antonio with a loss following Kawhi’s game-winning shot over PG with 2.4 seconds remaining. Final: 99-100. My heart: 0-1.