The San Antonio Spurs have faltered over the last few weeks and are in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. All-Star forward Tim Duncan(notes), though, doesn’t expect the team to make any moves prior to the trade deadline.
Duncan and the Spurs open the second half of their season Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse, where they’ll go for their sixth straight victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Since a 15-4 stretch from Dec. 9-Jan. 13, San Antonio (30-21) has lost eight of 14, alternating wins and losses in its last seven games. The Spurs, however, closed the first half strongly by winning 111-92 at Northwest Division-leading Denver on Thursday.
“I thought we played better than we have played,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It was one of three or four games that we played really well defensively in the first half of the season.”
With San Antonio well within reach of Southwest Division-leading Dallas, Duncan is not anticipating management to pull the trigger on a trade before Thursday’s deadline.
“I think we’re going to go to the second half with the group that we have,” Duncan said. “If something happens, then something happens, but through our history we haven’t done anything in the middle of the season. So, we’re going to continue to work with the pieces that we have and hopefully we can get it to turn.”
Indiana (18-34) would like for its fortunes to change, but the Pacers find themselves in a much different position - well out of the playoff race.
“You can’t worry about the playoffs,” forward Mike Dunleavy told the Pacers’ official Web site. “…You’ve got to worry about winning every game as it comes, take one game at a time. If we get ahead of ourselves and think we need to win a few in a row or something like that, we’re just not there yet.”
Third-year coach Jim O’Brien will apparently be the one that will try to lead Indiana in the right direction.
“The one thing Jimmy bought into when he came here was that we were going to rebuild, and we were going to struggle at times,” Pacers president Larry Bird said. “I always say the losses are on me because I want him to work these guys hard, develop the young guys we have and keep moving forward with what we have.”
With center Jeff Foster(notes) out for the season and rookie Tyler Hansbrough(notes) sidelined the last month with an inner-ear infection, Bird is happy with the progress of second-year center Roy Hibbert(notes), who is averaging 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Hibbert had 20 points, seven rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots in a 100-99 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 19. He blocked Duncan’s shot on the Spurs’ final possession, but Duncan followed with the game-winning dunk over Hibbert.