The Spurs held the Pacers to 1-for-15 shooting in the fourth quarter to win 90-87 and snap a two-game skid. Roy Hibbert had a chance to give the Pacers the lead in the closing seconds, but his hook shot fell short.
“We got the win,” San Antonio guard George Hill, an Indianapolis native, said. “Our veterans stepped up when we needed to, and that’s all that matters.”
“It’s never just great defense,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They missed some shots also. Sometimes you don’t make shots. That was part of it. I thought our intensity level, our physicality, got better. I thought we had a good mix on the court that reacted well.”
Manu Ginobili scored 25 points, Tim Duncan had 15 points and 15 rebounds and Hill scored 16 points for the Spurs, who overcame a 15-point deficit to become the first team in the league to win 30 games.
The Spurs were unhappy with the way they played late in a 105-103 loss to Boston on Wednesday and were determined to play better against the Pacers.
“We lost the other night in Boston at the end of the third quarter and the end of the fourth quarter when we didn’t close,” Popovich said. “We turned it over, we imploded defensively, didn’t execute on offense.”
“He almost took the game away from us,” Popovich said. “We couldn’t find anybody to guard him. He ripped us up tonight.”
The Pacers have lost five of six.
“I’m very disappointed for our guys,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We played a solid defensive game. For them to come back and beat us, it’s painful. They took their defense to a whole different level in the fourth quarter.”
Indiana led 87-83 in the fourth quarter when Hill scored and was fouled. He made the free throw to cut Indiana’s lead to 87-86 with 1:07 to play.
San Antonio rebounded a miss by Mike Dunleavy and took a timeout with 23.1 seconds remaining. Ginobili drove to the basket and was fouled by Jeff Foster with 15.7 seconds to play. He made both free throws to give the Spurs their first lead of the quarter.
After Hibbert’s miss, the Pacers were forced to foul. Tony Parker made two free throws with 0.8 seconds left to make it 90-87. Indiana’s James Posey missed a 3-pointer from the left corner in his only action of the game as time expired.
“We had them down and led them up,” Indiana point guard Darren Collison said. “We just can’t seem to find a way to close a game out. We have to keep working at that until we get it right.”
The Pacers led for most of the first half, but Ginobili scored eight straight points to turn a 44-40 deficit into a 48-44 lead for the Spurs. Granger made a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to trim San Antonio’s lead to 48-47 at the break.
Hansbrough hit back-to-back shots, then Granger drained a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 60-55 lead.
Indiana extended the lead through the rest of the quarter and began to play to the crowd. Dunleavy faked a behind-the-back pass, kept the ball and laid it in to give Indiana a 75-60 lead. Hansbrough had 12 points and six rebounds in the third quarter to help the Pacers take a 75-64 lead at the end of the period.
Gary Neal’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter cut Indiana’s lead to 75-69 and caused the Pacers to call timeout. Indiana didn’t make a field goal in the quarter until Dunleavy made a floater with 6:41 left, and the Pacers didn’t make another field goal the rest of the game.
by Cliff Brunt