INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana got a late subtraction and San
Antonio got a welcome addition before the teams met Wednesday night
and it equaled the end of the Pacers' 14-game home winning streak.
Indiana was minus forward Ron Artest, the team's second-leading
scorer, who began serving a four-game suspension. San Antonio had
David Robinson return off the injured list after a three-game
Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead six San Antonio players in
double figures as the Spurs defeated Indiana 106-97 to snap the
Pacers' home winning streak.
"The most difficult thing about tonight's game was the time to
prepare for the game. We got the information so late," said
Indiana coach Isiah Thomas, who learned about Artest's suspension
by the NBA less than three hours before the game began.
Artest was suspended for having a run-in Monday night with Heat
coach Pat Riley and flashing an obscene gesture to the crowd.
"It really knocked the energy and the emotion out of our team.
It was a tough situation to play under," Thomas said. "I admired
their fight. I respected their courage. They could have easily
folded up their tent and walked away."
"He's an energy guy. He comes in and does a lot of things for
them. He's one of their leading scorers. You lose a lot when you're
missing someone like him, but I still thought they played well,"
Stephen Jackson had 18 points and a crucial steal that held off
an Indiana rally in the fourth quarter. The Pacers trailed by as
many as 17 in the period, but cut the deficit to six before
Jackson's steal and dunk made the score 100-92 with 1:22 to play.
After an opening period that had 10 lead changes and five ties,
San Antonio scored 10 consecutive points to build a double-digit
lead in the second quarter they never relinquished. Indiana missed
four shots and had four turnovers while going over three minutes
without a field goal.
A dunk by Robinson ignited the run, giving the Spurs a 43-40
lead with 3:30 left in the half. Malik Rose had two consecutive
baskets on fast breaks and hit two free throws before Emanuel
Ginobili's dunk capped the run, giving the Spurs a 51-40 lead.
Indiana pulled to within six on two free throws by Al Harrington
but San Antonio answered with two free throws by Parker and one by
Jermaine O'Neal led the Pacers with a season-high 31 points. The
All-Star starter also had 10 rebounds, recording his sixth
Reggie Miller had 19 points for Indiana, which still has the
league's best home mark at 21-2.
Tim Duncan got into foul trouble for San Antonio and failed to
get his 32nd double-double of the season as he scored 12 points and
had nine rebounds in 24 minutes. After spending three games on the
injured list with a sore lower back, Robinson also finished with 12
points and nine rebounds.
San Antonio led 57-45 at halftime, shooting 65 percent
(13-of-20) in the second quarter while the Pacers hit only 29
The Spurs took their biggest lead at 77-60 on a layup by Parker
with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Indiana learned about 2½ hours before tipoff that Artest would
miss the game after being suspended his actions in Miami.
"We can't sit here and make an excuse because he didn't play is
the reason that we lost, or we didn't have energy," Harrington
said. "They made shots and a lot of us missed shots."
Harrington and Brad Miller both had double-doubles for
Indiana. Harrington had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Miller had 10
points and 15 rebounds. ... Duncan, who had a streak of 14
consecutive double-doubles in December, had averaged 26 points and
13.6 rebounds in his past five games. ... Indiana's only previous
loss at home this season was Nov. 23 against Detroit. San Antonio
has won three straight at Conseco Fieldhouse. ... Reggie Miller
extended his streak of successful free throws to 21 by hitting all
six of his attempts. He came into the game fourth in the league in
free throw accuracy at .908.