INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tony Parker scored 22 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ franchise-record 18th straight victory, a 103-77 rout of the slumping Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
Boris Diaw added 14 points for the Spurs, who bettered their previous longest winning streak that was set from Feb. 19 through March 31, 1996.
Paul George scored 16 points for the Pacers, who have lost six of seven and their once seemingly safe three-game lead over Miami for the Eastern Conference’s top seed. The Heat would be alone in first place with a victory over Toronto later Monday.
San Antonio took control of the game with first-half runs of 11-0 and 15-0 and didn’t let the Pacers get closer than eight the rest of the way.
While the Spurs (58-16) can’t seem to lose right now, Indiana, which has had the best record in the Eastern Conference since opening night, can’t figure out how to win. It’s not just the losses causing consternation, it’s the way the Pacers (52-23) are losing.
They went 8-9 in March, finished the month with the lowest scoring average in the NBA and have failed to score 90 points in six straight games. That’s the Pacers’ longest such stretch since an eight-game streak in 2000-01.
Monday’s blowout didn’t help matters. Fans booed at times as they watched what was easily Indiana’s worst home loss of the season. When coach Frank Vogel conceded the game by pulling his starters with about 3 ½ minutes to go, the restless fans let out their biggest boos all night.
San Antonio took control quickly and kept Indiana at arm’s length all night.
The Spurs put Indiana in a 13-5 hole, then used a 15-0 run to take a 32-15 lead early in the second quarter, forcing Indiana to play catch-up the rest of the night
Indiana did have a few bursts.
Lance Stephenson provided some spunk with a one-handed dunk, a steal and a driving layup in a 39-second span of the second quarter to get the Pacers within 37-26.
But the Spurs’ usual suspects didn’t let the Pacers hang around. Parker hit a 20-footer, Manu Ginobili made 1 of 2 free throws and Parker drove in for a layup to rebuild the lead, which was 48-35 at halftime.
Parker helped the Spurs continue to fend off challenges throughout the second half, too.
When Stephenson hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 53-41 in the third, Parker scored four straight. When George scored four in a row to finally get the Pacers within single digits at 59-50, Parker’s layup in the midst of a 5-0 spurt helped San Antonio make it 64-50.
Indiana got as close as 69-59 after three and even as close as eight early in the fourth. But the Spurs sealed it with a 17-1 run.