INDIANAPOLIS — The win streak hit a club-record 18 for the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.
Their 103-77 victory over the Indiana Pacers was so complete and so dominating that for one of the few times this season a sellout crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse actually showered the home team with boos.
But let there be no question. Handing the Pacers their worst home loss in more than two years, adding to San Antonio’s NBA-best record of 58-16 and extending the streak are not the goals. Guard Tony Parker, who led the Spurs with 22 points, made that very clear afterward.
“The streak is great,” Parker said. “The main goal is to win the championship.”
“We’ve never set any numerical goals,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ve never set goals to win a division or a number of games in a row or anything like that. We just talk about trying to be the best team we can be come playoff time.”
The win over Indiana broke the club record of 17 straight wins achieved by the 1995-96 Spurs. And the Spurs did it in dominating style from the beginning. After taking a 13-5 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter, San Antonio never trailed or was even tied by the struggling Pacers.
Forward Boris Diaw came off the bench to score 14 points for San Antonio, and forward Kawhi Leonard added 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“They played like champions over there and we have to respect that,” said Indiana guard George Hill, who scored just seven points and didn’t have an assist.
“They are playing as well as anybody in the world right now,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said.
The Spurs, whose overall record and 29-8 road record are the best in the NBA, return home to play the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Indiana forward Paul George scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, then wondered what had happened to a once proud offense that had carried the Pacers to the No. 1 record in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re not playing the game the right way now,” George said.
For the first time in franchise history, the Pacers have been held under 80 points in three straight games. Indiana has lost five of its past six games.
“It’s tough,” George said. “It’s taken a lot out of us because we’re not playing the game the right way.”
“It’s very strange,” said Parker, remembering a 110-100 loss to Indiana earlier this season.
Center Roy Hibbert and guard Lance Stephenson each scored 15 points for the Pacers (52-23).
Parker hit 10 of 18 shots, including 7-of-10 in the first half. He finished with four assists and one turnover.
“Tony really set the tone for us with his aggressiveness offensively,” Popovich said. “He moved the ball, he scored himself, he created a lot of situations for us and he did it throughout the game.”
The Spurs outrebounded Indiana, 40-34, led by Leonard’s 11 and six each by forward Tim Duncan and center Tiago Splitter.
When a dunk by Leonard put the Spurs up 91-71, the Pacers heard loud boos coming from the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they are 33-5 this season.
The Spurs took charge early. Guard Danny Green hit two shots, including a 3-pointer, and Duncan added four points in a game-opening 13-5 run. The Spurs opened up a 10-point lead in the final minute of the opening quarter on a 3-pointer by Diaw.
Stephenson scored six points for the Pacers in the second quarter, and Hill hit both shots he took, but Indiana trailed by double digits the entire second quarter and most of the second half.
NOTES: G/F Danny Green, who missed San Antonio’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday due to right foot inflammation, started Monday night’s game
at guard. He scored five points. … Spurs F Tim Duncan is the NBA’s active leader in double-doubles. He has 796, which ranks No. 6 all time. He has 29 double-doubles this season. … Pacers C Andrew Bynum missed his ninth
consecutive game because of soreness and swelling in his right knee. He has played only twice since the Pacers signed him Feb. 1 as a free agent. …. Pacers F Paul George has at least one steal in 12 consecutive games, including three against San Antonio. He is ranked No. 7 in the NBA with an average of nearly two steals per game.
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