Ginobili Sparkles, Spurs Extend Road Win Streak
San Antonio 92, Indiana 88
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 12 (Ticker) -- With Tim Duncan struggling, Manu Ginobili helped the defending champions secure a franchise record.
Ginobili scored 13 of his 29 points in the last three minutes as the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a seven-point deficit and posted a club-record ninth straight road win, a 92-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
"Ginobili was no more impressive than he's been in any other game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Ginobili. "He's hell-bent for leather and that's the way he always plays. He's the ultimate warrior."
Making up for a subpar effort by Duncan, Ginobili started the comeback with a three-point play with 2:47 remaining that pulled the Spurs within 81-77. His 3-pointer as the shot clock expired closed the gap to 86-85 with 72 seconds to play and four free throws in the next 45 seconds gave the Spurs a 89-88 lead.
"I was able to hit a couple shots and we played better defense, that's it," Ginobili said, describing the final three minutes of the game. "I hit the lucky three and that was a lot for them to swallow. Maybe you make 1-in-30 of those shots, and it came at a difficult time for both teams. They weren't able to come back from that."
"It's just one of those plays that great players make," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of Ginobili's 3-pointer. "When he took it, I just turned my head."
The Pacers had a chance to take the lead, but Ginobili forced Stephen Jackson into a long jumper that missed and, after Bruce Bowen made 1-of-2 free throws with 13 seconds left for San Antonio, Fred Jones missed a driving layup as Duncan came over to alter the shot. Ginobili then sank two more free throws to seal the win.
Duncan scored just 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting but recorded 11 rebounds and made the strong defensive play against Jones. Tony Parker had 17 points and Bowen added 16 for the Spurs, who improved to 6-0 on their eight-game "rodeo" road trip.
"Defensively, we've been really solid," Duncan said. "It's been a tough couple of weeks for me and we've found ways to still get it done. Manu, Tony, Bruce ... they've all been awesome.
"It's about sticking with it. Three minutes and change to go and we're down 5-7 (points), we know there are a lot of possessions left. We got some defensive stops and it's always good when Manu hits big shots like that."
Jackson scored 17 points, including a dunk, 3-pointer and two free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes to keep the Pacers in the game. Peja Stojakovic had 16 and Jones, who scored seven points in the third quarter as Indiana turned a 43-38 halftime deficit into a 62-62 tie, added 12.
It's always hard to lose," Jackson said. "Ginobili's deep three was a big shot at the end of the game. We came out and competed with a great team and we feel like, the way we're playing right now, we can compete with anyone."
"That's a tough one, a tough one to lose," Carlisle said. "The guys really fought hard and if we would have gotten a couple more stops in the last few minutes, it would have been a different story. They're a great team that did great things down the stretch to win the game."
The loss snapped Indiana's seven-game home winning streak against Western Conference opponents.
"Rick Carlisle is like the chameleon of NBA coaches," Popovich said. "Every few weeks he has to invent a new team and put it together a different way and they keep winning. This is a team that has been plagued for the last two seasons and they are playing well. We were just thrilled to get the victory."