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San Antonio at Indiana

Parker drops 31 points; Spurs make up playoff ground

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The San Antonio Spurs played their worst defensive quarter of the season in the final 12 minutes against the Indiana Pacers.

Fortunately, for the Spurs, the Pacers played poor defense the entire game. Indiana scored 40 points and shot 70 percent in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs beat the Pacers 126-121 on Friday night.

The Spurs were happy to win, but shocked by their late defensive collapse.

"I think I can count it on one hand the past five years how many teams have scored 40 on us in a quarter," Spurs center Tim Duncan said.

The Spurs got away with it because they had a 12-point lead going into the period and shot 55 percent overall.

Tony Parker had 31 points and 10 assists, Duncan had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Michael Finley scored 18 points and Drew Gooden added 17 for the Spurs, who now trail Denver by half a game in the scramble for the No. 2 seed in the West.

"We're trying to get some momentum going," Duncan said. "We haven't played well for the last 20 games. We're in a heck of a race in the West. We're just trying to hold onto our position and gain some confidence going into the playoffs."

Parker said the team isn't quite where it needs to be. Coach Gregg Popovich is trying to balance pushing the team to a higher seed while trying to figure out how he'll manage his team during the postseason.

"I still think we can be better, and I think Pop is still choosing his rotation and who he's going to play for the playoffs," Parker said.

Danny Granger scored 35 points for the Pacers, his fourth straight game with at least 30 points. Jarrett Jack scored 22 points, and Troy Murphy added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who fell four games behind Chicago for the No. 8 spot in the East.

Indiana coach Jim O'Brien isn't focusing on the playoff race anymore.

"To tell you the truth, it's in the back of my mind," he said. "We're playing to get better, and if we have to play for pride, that's not a bad thing to play for."

Indiana shot an impressive 52 percent from the field and still lost.

"They're a tough team to guard, but I thought we let ourselves down defensively," O'Brien said.

The Pacers overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to lead several times in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs rallied to snap a two-game losing streak. The Spurs were coming off an embarrassing home loss to Oklahoma City.

San Antonio led by 12 at the end of the third quarter, and the Spurs appeared to be cruising until the Pacers started connecting from long range. Granger and Jack made back-to-back threes to cut San Antonio's lead to 104-101 with just over six minutes left. Murphy made a 3-pointer, then Granger gave the Pacers their first lead of the second half on a layup with 5:29 to play.

"They hit some shots," Duncan said. "They hit some great shots. They spread the floor, and Troy and Danny and Jarrett hit some big shots that got them back into it. We had some defensive breakdowns, but give them credit for playing well."

Parker answered Indiana's push with a 3-pointer from the left wing, then a long 2-pointer to put the Spurs up 120-117 with a minute to play.

Jack missed a 27-foot jumper and Ginobili rebounded. On the other end, Ginobili missed a 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down, but Duncan's soft one-handed tip went in to give the Spurs a 122-117 lead with 31 seconds left.

Finley made two free throws for the Spurs, then Indiana's T.J. Ford was fouled on a made layup with 13 seconds to play. He missed the free throw, but Duncan secured the rebound. Ginobili made both free throws with 9 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Gooden, who had his best offensive game as a Spur, said the team knows how to win close games.

"That's what we've been doing," he said. "When the going gets tough, we have I think, some championship caliber basketball to get us back into games and have a chance to win them."

Though the Spurs aren't playing their best, Duncan said the team has intensity it needs at this time of the year.

"Absolutely now," he said. "Could I have answered that question differently five games ago? Probably."

The Spurs are closing in on the No. 2 seed with little fanfare.

"It's always that way," Duncan said. "We're just trying to take care of our own stuff."

Notes

  • Indiana rookies Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert combined for 14 of the team's 30 points in the first quarter.
  • Indiana G Marquis Daniels sat out with a sprained right wrist.
  • San Antonio G George Hill, an Indianapolis native, entered the game with 4:08 left in the third quarter. He scored his only basket on a putback with eight minutes to play.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Tim Duncan keeps the Spurs battling for the No. 2 spot with 22 points and 11 boards.  (Getty Images)
Tim Duncan keeps the Spurs battling for the No. 2 spot with 22 points and 11 boards. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
San Antonio (49-26) «35283033126
Indiana (32-44) 25302640121
SA:T. Parker 31 Pts
SA:T. Duncan 11 Reb
SA:T. Parker 10 Ast
IND:D. Granger 35 Pts
IND:T. Murphy 13 Reb
IND:T. Ford 6 Ast
Players of the Game
IndianaSan Antonio

T. Murphy

T. Parker
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1913331510

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San Antonio
M. Ginobili, SG364-95-577216
M. Finley, SG347-112-232118
T. Parker, PG3412-196-7510131
T. Duncan, PF288-146-8113322
M. Bonner, PF245-80-050213
R. Mason Jr., SG220-20-02110
K. Thomas, PF212-73-47027
D. Gooden, PF136-85-530417
G. Hill, PG131-30-01112
J. Vaughn, PG80-00-01020
B. Bowen, SF60-10-01010
I. Udoka, SF10-00-00000
I. Mahinmi, CDid Not Play
F. Oberto, CDid Not Play
M. Hairston, SGDid Not Play
Totals 45-8227-31462420126
 54.9%87.1% 
Indiana
B. Rush, SG436-100-041214
T. Murphy, C427-172-2133419
J. Jack, PG429-183-466322
D. Granger, SF3715-242-341535
R. Hibbert, C153-61-34137
T. Ford, PG285-142-326312
J. Foster, C234-44-441212
T. Diener, PG50-00-00010
J. McRoberts, PF50-20-00010
M. Baston, SFDid Not Play
R. Nesterovic, CDid Not Play
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
M. Dunleavy, SGDid Not Play
M. Daniels, SGDid Not Play
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
Totals 49-9514-19371924121
 51.6%73.7% 
Other Games
Mia 97 Final
Char 92
Atl 92 Final
Bos 104
Cle 87 Final
Orl 116
Dal 102 Final
Mem 107
Port 107 Final
OKC 72
Min 103 Final
Utah 102
Sac 111 Final
Pho 139
NO 103 Final
GS 111
Hou 81 Final
LAL 93