Spurs 112, Pacers 103
The San Antonio Spurs keep cruising behind what Tim Duncan says
is a deeper team than even any during his four championship
Yet the old-timer certainly still deserves his share of
Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Spurs remained the
hottest team in the NBA, beating the Indiana Pacers 112-103 for
their seventh consecutive win and 10th in 11 games Saturday
A week that started with Duncan resting against Philadelphia –
when ”DND-Old” was officially listed as the reason in the box
score – ended with his fourth double-double in his last six games.
Duncan, who turns 36 this month, has looked especially spry since
that night off, averaging 22.3 points and 10 rebounds his last
”I thought we finished the game very well,” said Duncan, who
helped the Spurs thwart a late Indiana run. ”We did good with
moving the ball and defensively we made the stops.”
Paul George and Danny Granger each scored 18 for Indiana. The
Pacers have lost two of three while trying to break out of the
logjammed East playoff picture and secure some home-court edge.
”The rest of our schedule is kind of tough. We don’t have any
days off in between back-to-backs and whatnot,” Granger said. ”We
really have to close out these last 14 and 15 games and go 12-2,
12-3 – you know, something like that, to really get a lot of
momentum going into the playoffs.”
The Spurs aren’t budging in the standings, either. They’re 2 1/2
games behind first-place Oklahoma City and remain stuck behind the
similarly streaking Thunder.
Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili added 18 points apiece. The Spurs
are 8-1 since making a rare plunge into midseason moves by adding
forwards Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw, giving San Antonio a bench
that has drawn raves from Duncan.
Gary Neal scored 11 points and Tiago Splitter added 10 as the
Spurs showed off their newfound depth. Their bench outscored
”The more practice we get, the more we play together, I think
we’re realizing how deep this team is,” said Jackson, who scored
David West and Roy Hibbert scored 15 points apiece for the
Pacers, and Tyler Hansbrough added 12 off the bench. Indiana shaved
a 22-point deficit to get within seven points with 5 minutes to go,
but the Spurs instantly answered with a 7-2 run in the span of
about 1 1/2 minutes to put the game safely out of reach.
Hibbert, who worked out with Duncan in San Antonio during the
lockout, said he has grown close to the perennial All-Star. On
Friday, he texted Duncan and asked how he should guard him.
”He said, `Go for every pump fake,”’ Hibbert said.
Jackson is averaging around 10 points off the bench since coming
back to San Antonio in a trade-deadline deal with Golden State.
Jackson proved essential to the Spurs during their title run in
2003, and they hope his return recaptures some of that magic while
gunning for a fifth title in the Duncan era.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who doubles as team president, also
bolstered his frontcourt this month by signing Diaw and added point
guard Patty Mills. Seldom have the Spurs been so active on the NBA
market in the middle of a season.
Popovich is counting on his new depth in the final month. The
Spurs finish the season with 16 games in 23 days, including six
back-to-backs. Popovich said he still isn’t comfortable playing
Ginobili on consecutive nights, since his playmaking guard has
already missed more than half the season banged up.
Last season, Ginobili was hurt in a meaningless regular-season
finale, which helped sink the Spurs in a stunning first-round
playoff ouster. It’s not a scenario Popovich wants to repeat – but
his stars also resist sitting out.
”I always have to fight Manu and Timmy,” Popovich said before
tipoff. ”I’ve won a couple battles.”
Notes: Diaw didn’t play for the first time since signing with
the Spurs on March 23 … San Antonio has won nine in a row against
the Pacers. … The Spurs’ 39-point second quarter was a season