Pacers, Spurs meet in Indy after absorbing tough losses

The San Antonio Spurs have rarely been under .500 since Gregg Popovich’s second year as coach in 1997.

“Win or lose, there is always something you can do better,” Popovich said. “It’s a game of mistakes, and you try to make fewer than your opponent.”

The Spurs (8-9) will play at Indiana (11-7) on Friday night. Both teams are coming off a disappointing loss.

The Spurs suffered a 104-103 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night when San Antonio’s Rudy Gay fouled Marc Gasol with 0.7 seconds left. Gasol hit both free throws and on Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge‘s potential game-winner, Gasol made contact with Aldridge but no foul was called.

“Tough calls are going to be made and tough calls are going to be missed,” Aldridge said. “More contact than what they called on Rudy, for sure.”

Gay was frustrated.

“It just sucks,” Gay told the San Antonio Express-News. “We worked our (butts) off. It’s crazy that one play is going to define the whole game.”

Popovich said the Spurs and Grizzlies competed aggressively.

“Unfortunately, we got a foul at the end,” Popovich said.

Popovich said the goal is always to get better.

“We’re trying to get guys to get to know each other each other and getting to know the system,” he said. “That’s our goal. Getting better and reducing errors and giving ourselves opportunities to win.”

The Pacers saw a three-game winning streak end with a 127-109 loss at Charlotte. The Hornets sank 18 3-pointers and shot 56.2 percent from the field.

“Give them credit, they did a good job of executing,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “(Kemba) Walker did a good job of scoring when he had opportunities but setting his teammates up to knock down shots. We couldn’t get stops (Wednesday night), and sometimes that happens.”

McMillan said the Pacers were determined to stop Walker, but also the rest of the Hornets.

“The game plan is to defend,” McMillan said. “He did a good job when we had two on the ball, he gave it up and guys made shots. Both their first and second unit made shots all night long. It happens. There are going to be nights when teams play better and they did. I don’t think it was lack of effort from our guys; they just played better.”

Pacers guard Cory Joseph agreed.

“They were hitting all their shots, open shots, contested shots,” Joseph told The Indianapolis Star.

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo sat out for the second consecutive game with a sore right knee. He is listed as questionable for Friday’s game.

Indiana is 1-8 over the last two seasons when Oladipo doesn’t play, including 0-7 last season.

Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis is listed as questionable with a sprained right ankle.

Spurs center Pau Gasol, who has been sidelined since Nov. 4, will miss his ninth consecutive game with left foot soreness.

The Pacers were 17-of-32 on 3-pointers to beat the host Spurs 116-96 on Oct. 24. A Pacers victory Friday would give Indiana a sweep of the Spurs for the second straight season. Prior to that, the Pacers hadn’t swept the season series with San Antonio since the 1994-95 season.