Duncan, Parker Too Much for Pacers
San Antonio 99, Indiana 86
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 27 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan's marksmanship helped the San Antonio Spurs extend a pair of streaks, including one the Indiana Pacers had yet to experience this season.
Duncan scored 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting as the Spurs won their eighth straight game at home and handed the Pacers a third consecutive loss for the first time this season with a 99-86 victory.
"It was a lot better in the second half tonight," Duncan said. "My shot felt real good tonight and my confidence grew as the game progressed."
Tony Parker scored the final three points of the third quarter to give San Antonio a 66-63 lead entering the fourth and Robert Horry made a 3-pointer to begin the final period and open a six-point bulge.
Duncan added a jumper on the Spurs' next possession to make it 71-63 and later had seven straight San Antonio points, including back-to-back jumpers in a span of 15 seconds that started a critical 8-0 run.
"This was a good game to get back into things," Duncan said. "The game was called a little tight, so we wanted to attack as much as possible. We were able to make some shots down the stretch."
Bruce Bowen capped the burst with a pair of free throws to make it 84-71 and Michael Finley and Horry both hit from the arc as the Spurs took a 90-78 lead into the final two minutes.
"Robert Horry hit some big shots for us down the stretch," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "Robert came through in the fourth quarter for us and it made a huge difference in the outcome."
Horry was held scoreless in 13 minutes through the first three periods before making his only two attempts in the fourth.
Parker joined Duncan as the only San Antonio players to score in double figures, finishing with 27 points, six assists and three of the Spurs' five steals. Manu Ginobili returned from an eight-game layoff with a sprained foot to score nine points in 15 minutes.
"I don't know when I will get my rhythm back," said Ginobili, who missed all three of his 3-pointers and finished 3-of-7 from the line. "It won't take long. I was only out two weeks. I was only thinking about playing, and I stopped thinking about the ankle."
Ginobili showed a flash of his brilliance during a crucial stretch of the third. He had a free throw to pull San Antonio within 60-58 before drawing a charge and converting a layup to tie it. Seconds later, he grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the floor for a layup that put the Spurs ahead for good.
Jermaine O'Neal scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and Jamaal Tinsley finished with 20 for the Pacers, who lost all three legs of a difficult trek that included visits to Cleveland and Dallas.
Indiana has lost four straight here.
"They made plays down the stretch and we didn't," O'Neal said. "This is what makes a championship caliber team. Right now we are just an average team. Elite teams find a way to make plays. Tonight, that didn't happen for us."
Indiana, which averaged just 85.0 points on the swing, shot 39 percent (15-of-38) in the second half while San Antonio was 17-of-29 (59 percent).