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Spurs make it 10 of 11 while Pacers folding up

2/24/2003

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- While the Indiana Pacers couldn't score, Tony
Parker couldn't miss.

Parker scored 14 of his 18 points in the third quarter on
5-for-5 shooting to key a 24-4 run as the San Antonio Spurs beat
Indiana 105-96 Saturday night. The win was San Antonio's 10th in 11
games.

The Spurs' defense clamped down on Indiana, which missed 11
consecutive shots over a seven-minute span in the third and made
only five of its 20 attempts during the period.

"This was by far our worst performance on the road all
season,'' Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said. "It was such an ugly
game.''

The Pacers, who have lost four straight, cut San Antonio's lead
in the final minutes, as Erick Strickland made four 3-pointers in
the fourth quarter.

Tim Duncan was high scorer for the Spurs with 21, while Malik
Rose had 15 off the bench.

Strickland led all scorers with 22, while fellow reserves Al
Harrington and Austin Croshere added 19 and 13, respectively.
Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana's starters with 12, well below his 19.8
average, on 4-for-15 shooting. Reggie Miller finished with four
points.

"Shots kind of come and go,'' O'Neal said. "We need to put a
few good (games) together to get our confidence back.''

The Pacers' Ron Artest left the game early in the third with
what the team described as a sore right elbow. Artest, averaging
15.4 points, did not score or grab a rebound in 13 minutes.

Artest was not available for comment after the game, and no one
on the Pacers wanted to talk about his apparent injury.

"I just heard there is something wrong with him physically,''
Thomas said. "I can't comment on medical things. Ask me about
basketball.''

David Robinson was activated before the game after missing seven
games with lower back spasms and a sore right knee. He threw down
two thunderous dunks in the opening minutes before going to the
bench midway through the first period, and finished with nine
points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

"The same thing happened the last time he sat out a stretch,''
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, referring to Robinson's brief
stint on the injured list in January. "He had spunk and was spry.
He was very mobile.''

Robinson, now in his 14th NBA season, said he felt excited to be
back in uniform.

"I still have to continue to work out and get into a rhythm,''
he said. "However, it was just so much fun being back there with
the guys.''

San Antonio ran out to a 10-0 lead just over two minutes into
the game before Miller made a jumper to put the Pacers on the
board.

About five minutes later, Indiana went ahead 16-14 on a pair of
free throws by Harrington as the Spurs missed six straight shots
from the floor.

Danny Ferry's 3-pointer early in the second period started an
18-8 run that gave San Antonio a 44-29 lead late in the half.
Duncan scored 11 points in the period on 5-for-6 shooting to finish
the half with 15.

A pair of 3-pointers by Strickland just before the break pulled
Indiana to within nine, 48-39, before Stephen Jackson's finger roll
with 2.7 seconds remaining gave the Spurs a 50-39 advantage.

Game notes
Indiana's reserves made 21 of the team's 32 field goals in
the game. ... The Spurs have beaten the Pacers in eight of their
last nine meetings, including both of their matchups this season.
... San Antonio is now 31-31 all-time against Indiana. ... San
Antonio's Steve Smith, the starting shooting guard when the season
began, entered the game in the fourth. He has played in only five
of the team's 14 games since Jan. 24. ... Indiana is 13-16 on the
road this season.