INDIANAPOLIS: Tony Parker scored 22 points as San Antonio won their franchise record 18th consecutive game by routing the struggling Indiana Pacers 103-77 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Kawhi Leonard tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Boris Diaw came off the bench to score 14 points for the Spurs who used a 12-4 fourth quarter surge to help seal the victory and keep their streak alive.
“We don’t think about it. We just want to play well,” said Parker of the streak.
“Hopefully we are not peaking too soon. We just want to win each game.”
San Antonio won 17 in a row during the 1995-96 National Basketball Association regular season.
Now they have improved to 58 wins and 16 losses and are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Western Conference’s best record.
“They are the best team in the league,” said Indiana’s Paul George. “It wasn’t like it was a fluke loss, but we’re better than that.”
While the Spurs are soaring, George’s Pacers are headed in the opposite direction.
Indiana suffered their sixth loss in eight games and lost its grip atop the Eastern Conference standings. They are now tied with the defending champions Miami Heat, who beat the Toronto Raptors on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), for the top spot.
“I think everyone needs to play better — the starters and the bench. The issue is rhythm and timing,” said Indiana coach Frank Vogel. “The number one seed is the last thing on our minds right now. We need to get back on track.”
Lance Stephenson finished with 15 points for the Pacers, who haven’t shot more than 40 percent from the floor in six games.
“We have to regroup,” said Pacers forward David West. “We have to have a short memory because we have another game in a couple nights.”
The Pacers trailed by double digits for most of the game, but a Rasual Butler three pointer pulled them within 69-62 early in the fourth quarter in front of a crowd of 18,100 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.
San Antonio then went on a 12-4 run to restore their double digit lead. Leonard’s
dunk capped the surge and staked the Spurs to an 85-69 halfway through the final quarter. They cruised to victory from there.
Earlier, San Antonio roared out to a 13-5 start and led 25-15 going into the second quarter. They held a double-figure lead throughout the second quarter and took a 48-35 lead into halftime.
San Antonio also led 69-59 at the end of three quarters.